I do not pretend to be any sort of expert in any type of fishing but I do like to think of myself as a thinking angler who is always looking for new ways of doing things. This article is an accumulation of various material from various sources and I don’t want anyone out there to think I am claiming credit for anything that they have done or suggested.
I got a lot of my ideas from the eel fishers forum as well as from other people on the FM forum and this is only meant as a work in progress; to give others ideas and see if it stirs some improvements. It’s one of the best things about fishing that everyone freely exchanges information on new rigs and approaches.
I have only used these rigs on one night fishing and both led to hooked fish though I did not land either. I think one was a small zander and the other was 100% an eel.
As can be seen from the first photo the idea behind this rig is to mount a bait without causing much damage and to make the hooks stand proud for better hooking. The size 14 barbed hook is whipped onto the size 8 circle hook. Part of the reason for the use of the circle hook is that if it was swallowed it would likely not hook on the inside of the mouth, only on the way out, or at worst the size 14 barbed might.
I made the T bars out of the empty end of a biro tube pierced it with a heated pin, put it on the hook, squashed it flat, then ran superglue down the inside. It seems solid enough and the extra whipping with thick cotton might not be necessary.
The carp hooks I used were size 8 withy pool hooks with the little run ring and blob on the hook. This was an accidental discovery, that you can then move the hook up and down the trace allowing for the size of the bait. I did find that this aspect might need work – maybe wrapping the trace around the hook before going through the eye to firm up the grip as I did find it had a tendency to slip a bit on casting and would potentially slip down if there was a fish holding on, so – still not perfect but I like the adjustability option.
The size 14s that I have used are fly fishing ones, as these are the only small barbed ones I own and I do not think they are the ideal shape or possibly size. That is something I will look at. They did not however, kill off my live bait when used with some bait elastic, so they did achieve another important function. One live bait swam off looking fine after a couple of hours attached to this rig.
The next rig I assembled in response to reading about setting up a bolt rig for eels by The Burglar. He had the idea of using a 3” bent piece of heat-shrink from carp fishing and I just thought that the fitting of a John Roberts feeder boom made sense as it gives a guaranteed stand off from the rest of the rig, as well as giving a convenient anchor point for a float of some description. Mine are half a champagne cork but you could use cheaper varieties.
The picture shows the rig in miniature and it’s designed to be used with a huge weight as well as a very heavy bobbin or other indictor also the sunken float could be wherever you feel it would be most effective, depending on depth of flow. I suppose the ultimate thing to do would be to get a set of roll-over indicators from Barry McConnell then the possibilities for critically balancing are almost endless. When funds allow I will be getting some.
The idea of this set up is that the bait is suspended at whatever height you want. When the eel reaches up to take the bait the bent bit of tube wraps around the front of it’s head stopping it from swallowing and hopefully encouraging lip hooking. I added the circle hooks as it seemed to compliment the bend.
This is a quick bit to show how to tie an adjustable hair rig it works with mono and fluro but not so good with braid. It is best to leave the hair long and then, after putting the bait on, adjust it to whatever you want – but it will not go big again only smaller. It has the advantage of no knots on the hair as well.
It is the snell knot which is basically the no-knot in reverse. Roy Marlow says it is stronger than the Knotless Knot. My mod is to make two loops leaving two tag ends. It makes it easier to put the one for pulling the knot tight through the eye (but you don’t have to) then whip from the pointy end up to the eye and pull on the tag, keeping your fingernails over the last whipping to keep it on the hook .
Ok it’s fiddlier than the knotless knot but if you can do that, you can do this.
I have read somewhere about another way of doing this using the knotless knot and tying some sort of knot on the loop that allows you to open it or tighten it to mount a pellet but I have forgotten how to tie it. Let me know!
Go forth and improve that’s what I say.
Dayglowfroggy AKA Paul Hadfield