How to

The End of the Line…Rigging Up

What you do with the end of your line has a great influence on both hooking and landing fish. If you don’t rig up correctly, you’ll ultimately pay the price out on the water. By DAVID GREEN.

TERMINAL tackle is the stuff at the end of the string, the bit that needs the most attention, finesse and care in preparation. For the angler starting out in game fishing, it can be a complicated and confusing business. The following article is aimed at giving a general overview of how most successful anglers rig their gear when targeting bigger fish that are often very tough on tackle. More fish are lost because of terminal tackle failure than any other reason. Good terminals are where the pedantic angler shines, and the best riggers who do everything in a spot-on fashion catch a much higher percentage of the fish they hook.
When chasing big fish on light tackle the general principle is that the end of the line has to be stronger than the main line to cope with the rigours of being bashed about by teeth, fins, tails and also cope with the leadering, gaffing or tagging of fish. Every part of the terminal tackle has potential weak points, and there are steps to take to ensure your rigs don’t bust in the heat of battle. You need good “knotology” and some tools to do the job well.

Tying a Double
When I was about 12 the late Peter Goadby showed me how to do a plait in nylon monofilament. At the time he reckoned that I’d use that knot every time I went fishing offshore, and that has held true. The principles of tying a double are that the strength of the last section of main line above the leader is doubled, and this gives you extra power when the double is on the reel and the fish is at the boat. It also forms a potential loop connection if you choose to fish with wind-on leaders.
There are various ways to tie a double, and the methods to tie them are easy to see in instructional videos on the Fishing World website. The three commonest are the Plait, the Bimini Twist and the Spider Hitch. I like plaits for mono, Biminis for braid and I never use a Spider Hitch as personally I think it is a far inferior knot that is only for those who are “ugly riggers”.
If you fish under the rules of IGFA there are specific maximum lengths of doubles required for different line classes and if you intend to compete in competitions or weigh records it is important to be aware of these. If you are just going fishing and aren’t fussed by IGFA rulings use two to six metres of double, unless you use wind-on leaders where you need far less as the heavy leader will wind onto the spool. The advantage of the plait is you can tie doubles as long as you want with ease without having to twist the two lines as required with a Bimini. Long doubles give added security.
So one of the “do at home” prep steps is  learning to tie a decent double via a mate, the internet or Geoff Wilson’s knot books. If you can’t tie a double with confidence practice until you can. And don’t cop out by just doing Spider Hitches. A good plait is a work of beauty. A Spider Hitch is always ugly. The key to a good plait is getting the weave nice and tight so the plait cannot slip. See a clip demonstrating how I tie a plait on the Fisho website.

Double to Leader
There are two ways to approach this connection to suit most types of game fishing. You can connect your double to a pre-made wind-on leader, or you can tie a good quality ball bearing swivel (Sampos are the best in the business) to the end of the double.
Wind-on leaders are made using nylon or fluorocarbon leader and a Dacron connection. They take a bit of preparation time. The woven circular weave of the Dacron is opened up and the other end
of the section of Dacron is pulled back through the core of the weave, leaving a loop. The two open ends are then slowly pushed over a suitable sized leader for between 20 and 100cm, depending on line class. Wellsy’s Tackle markets excellent wind-on leader kits that have really good tools and needles to make the job much easier. The principle is that when pressure is applied, the weave of the Dacron pulls tight on the mono leader. Most wind-ons are also glued and bound for security. Wind-ons are available in most good tackle shops. There are quite a few variations in how to make them and, once again, the Fisho site has instructional vids to show you. The advantages of wind-on leaders are that they let the angler get
the leader onto the reel, and they allow you to run shorter leaders on your
lures or bait rigs as most of the leader is already rigged.
The downside of wind-ons is that they take time to prepare and, if not made properly, can pull out. Wind-ons are best connected to the double by a loop-to-loop Cat’s Paw style connection to give a nice seamless join.
If you use a snap swivel on the end of the double, as I often do, you can clip your rigs on easily. The swivel connection is extremely important. Use a snap swivel with a breaking strain at least that of the leader you are using, and avoid cheap ball bearing snaps at all costs. Tie the swivel to the double by a reversed locked blood knot or a Cat’s Paw, ensuring both ends of the double are even in length. The advantage of the “swivel to double method” is that it is simple and foolproof; the disadvantage is that once you get the swivel to the rod tip it is as far as you can wind and someone will have to leader your fish for you.

Which leader for what fish?
Always carry a wide range of leader sizes. The thicker the leader, the less bites you will often get, but the price of a thinner leader is the fish may wear through it in a prolonged fight. Some species, such as marlin, have sandpaper-like bills and will, depending on where they are hooked, abrade the leader significantly. Tuna are fairly leader sparing and if you target them you can use much lighter leader. Wahoo and mackerel teeth cut through nylon like butter, and require the use of wire. And while you may be intent on targeting one species such as yellowfin tuna, fishing is a very inexact science and a billfish or wahoo may well eat the tuna lure. So when choosing leader size, there’s always a compromise involved so you have a reasonable shot at landing whatever eats your lure.
If you’re targeting small black marlin and sails on light tackle then 50-80kg leader such as Jinkai works well. You will need to use specially designed aluminium crimps to get a smooth connection, and a good set of crimping pliers for these extrusion crimps is a must. Make sure the crimps are the right size for the line used – when both ends of mono are passed through the crimp it should fit snugly. For heavier tackle billfish on 15 to 24 kilo mono we generally use 100 to 130 pound leader and for blues or big blacks we use 200-300kg leader.
Tuna are fairly easy on leaders and if no bities or marlin are about, 40-50kg leader is adequate. If you are specifically targeting mackerel or wahoo it pays to have wire somewhere in the rig. Sometimes you will get away with just a short length of wire to the rear hook and a mono  leader, but if the mackerel are thick use a short wire leader connected to your mono by a double crimped join or ring. If you are trolling, 49-strand wire is very good, as it does not kink. It tends to be a bit thicker than seven strand or mono wire but is very supple. Shogun makes some really nice 49-strand down to 60 pound, which makes great leader for trolling minnows for mackerel.

When lure trolling for marlin always use single hooks, not trebles, and use patterns with a wider gape. On light tackle I use Gamakatsu SL12s. These saltwater fly hooks are excellent for small billfish and most other species on light tackle of six to 10 kilos. They are fine and sharp. They work well on skirted lures and can be used on minnows with double split rings so they lie straight. For heavier work I like the Mustad 7691 pattern and the heavier Pakula Dojos for bigger billfish. I use a small zinc corrosion anode on all my single hooks. These are marketed by Jinkai and stop hook points corroding when you are trolling. They are just a small stick-on zinc strip that is easily wrapped around the hook shank and are a great investment.
I use trebles on some minnows when targeting mackerel and wahoo, but tend to modify them by using triple split rings and fine black Owner hooks. These hooks are very sharp and get a great swing on the three split rings which gives an excellent hook-up rate on mackerel, particularly when they are striking short. Apart from this use I generally stick to singles on the offshore grounds.

Tools & tricks.
If you are setting up for rigging your offshore gear you’ll need to invest in a good pair of crimping pliers for mono crimps, and a separate pair for wire channel crimps. You need sidecutters, scissors and plenty of crimps, solid rings, small yachting shackles and a collection of beads to space your hook in the correct position behind the lure. Also get a few rolls of thin plastic tubing to protect your loops and some heat shrink plastic. Heat shrink over the hook eyes and wire leader keeps your rigs straight.

Attention to detail is everything when it comes to rigging, and nothing beats practice. It isn’t hard to do, and the efforts you do at home will repay you out on the water. For the beginner to blue-water fishing it can be a bit daunting, but if you take your time and are careful you should soon be rigging well.

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.