Sliding snell rig preparation
  |  First Published: March 2017

Although lure fishing is extremely popular and productive these days, there is no denying the effectiveness of bait for a variety of saltwater piscators. Quality fresh baits are one of the major factors in quality captures and presentation of this bait is just as important. If the bait is fresh and looks natural then there is a heightened chance that a quality fish will find it appealing enough to eat. Good hook placement and bait coverage will almost guarantee a hook-up when all factors are combined.

When chasing larger predators, anglers fish with numerous types of bait including whitebait, hardyheads, garfish, pilchards, whole squid, mullet, herring, banana prawns and a variety of fillet baits. Longer baits such as these require at least two hooks to present well. The front (leading) hook is placed through the nose or top of the bait and takes the weight of the bait as it is towed or drifted through the water column.

The rear (bottom) hook is the one most likely to penetrate the fish as it is placed in the tail of the bait where most strikes come from. Subsequent hooks between these two offer good hook coverage of the bait to maximise hooking potential if the fish grabs the bait side-on instead of from the tail or head. Baitfish, fillet baits and squid come in an array of sizes and often you don’t know what size baits you are going to secure until you are out on the water.

Additionally, even store-bought baits such as garfish, squid and pilchards will often have different sizes in one pack. For the angler, this can be frustrating, as you will need to constantly change rigs to present each bait size effectively. Although standard snelled hook rigs are ideal and not time-consuming to make, you will still need to re-rig each time a different-sized bait is put into play. Additionally these rigs need to be made once you are on the water and know what sized baits you’re using.

A better option is the sliding snell rig. With this rig, all hooks except the rear hook can be moved up and down the leader to accommodate baits of any size. This can optimize bait presentation and hooking potential by allowing you to have all hooks in the exact position that you wish, no matter what size bait you are using. You won’t need to make the bait suit the rig and instead the rig will suit the bait.

These rigs are easy to make and can be prepared at home well ahead of your trip, as they can be adjusted to suit any type of bait you catch or purchase. They can be made with all kinds of leader and hook sizes and having an assortment prepared and stored for use can maximise your time on the water. Let’s look at how easy they are to make.

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