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Lure Rigging

Use Swivels

Use Wire

Skirted Lures

We use a leader with the lures because our main line is not designed to take a lot of punishment. These fish have sharp teeth that can easily bite through line. Also the body of the fish is quite rough with scales and fins. The line will rub through on the fish given enough time.

Another purpose of the leader is to be able to grab it when the fish comes to the boat. Something you can use to put pressure on the fish to make it easier to land or release the fish.

The leader should be at least as long as the size of the fish you are targeting. People use leaders up to eighteen feet. But I would recommend something smaller for dory fishing. Around three or so meters is enough.

You also do not want the leader to be too heavy. For one itís more visible in the water to the fish, and secondly the weight can effect the action of the lure. You can use a really heavy leader and lose less fish, probably by hooking less in the first place.

Most leaders will not survive a shark attack. You just have to accept that if it happens, it happens. I always take spares.

I prefer to pre-make all my leaders. This means I can maximize my fishing time when I am out there.

Bibbed, bibless and small skirted lures should be rigged with some wire. These can end up right down the throat of some toothy critter. This at least gives some protection.

For these types of lures I use a fluoro carbon leader with a small length of wire at the end. Around 30cm is enough wire to help protect your lure, but not so much that it affects the action of the lure.

Add 2.5 to 3m of the fluoro. This is easier to handle when the fish is close to the boat.

The fluoro end of the leader is crimped into a loop, with some clear plastic tube. The end is designed to be attached via a snap swivel on your main line. The plastic tube (line guard) provides a small amount of give to stop the swivel opening. A marine grade aluminum crimp should be used.

The wire I use is forty-nine strand stainless steel cable. Seven strands are woven together to form one cable. Then seven of those cables are woven together to form the final product. This is strong, but is also flexible and does not kink up easily.

To connect the wire to the fluoro I use two crimps. These should be in the double (or figure 8) shape, one hole used for the leader, the other for the wire.

Anywhere the wire is crimped should be covered with heat shrink tube. The ends of the wire sticking out can severely cut your hands when landing fish. Make sure the connections are finished off and covered completely.

At the end of the wire is another loop, also covered with the chaff tube. Brass crimps should be used in an oval shape. These provide a good fit for the wire.

I then put a good quality ball bearing swivel on the end. This is especially important for lures that do not have swivels on the hooks. As the fish twists and turns, the swivel takes up the motion. Otherwise, the hooks can be pulled out of the fish.

After the swivel is on you can use this leader for bibbed and bibless lures. For bibbed lures such as Laser Pros and Rapala CDs, a split ring is used to connect the swivel to the lure. For bibless lures such as Tremblers, a Hawaiian snap is used.

I have noticed an improvement in the performance of the bibbed lures (especially Laser Pros) when rigged with a swivel/split ring. This is compared to using a snap connection. The lures trolled faster and in a wider set of conditions.

This leader can also be used for drifting baits. I usually open the eye at the top of a gang and slip the hook onto the swivel, then close the eye (do not forget that bit!).

Then I can drift a whole pilchard or garfish bait.

I use one sized fluoro and one size of wire for all leaders. This saves you having to have too many crimps of different sizes.

This leader can also be used for small skirted lures. The skirted lure is slipped over the wire. Then rather than rig a loop with a swivel on it, a stainless thimble is used. A hook rig can then be connected with the use of a shackle.

I use the same leader for all lures in this size range. Finish with a loop at one end for connection to a snap swivel. The lure is slipped over the leader, and a stainless steel thimble is crimped on.

A small rigging washer should be placed between the lure head and the thimble. Helps stop wear and tear on the lure. If needed, a small piece of spacing tube can be used to ensure the hooks are placed correctly in the skirt.

For larger skirted lures (10in plus) I prefer not to use the wire. When trolled correctly, the leader spends the majority of its time in the air, not the water. This does reduce the chance of bite off.

I have trolled a larger skirt with wire on it. The Yellow fin Tuna did not seem to mind it. It also survived a reasonable sized shark, until we cut it off anyway. I did get the lure back though.

Only further research on this subject can resolve the matter.

A small rigging washer should be placed between the lure head and the thimble. Helps stop wear and tear on the lure. If needed, a small piece of spacing tube can be used to ensure the hooks are placed correctly in the skirt.

Hook rigs are connected using a shackle. The shackle should be hand tightened, then turned another half turn of so with a pair of pliers. Make sure it wont come off!

The whole rig should be removed from the lure when you put it away in storage. This will increase the life of the skirts on the lure. A small amount of WD40 on the shackle is a good idea too.

© Jason Harirs -