Understanding lure rigging
One or two? Long or short? Bigger or smaller? Thicker or thinner? Needle, cone or spade point? Stiff or loose? What hook alignment? Go straight or turn it in? The question of life the life of a lure rigger anyway.
The purpose of a rig is to hook and stay hooked to anything that comes in contact with it. There is far more to the success of an angler than the specific rig they use (i.e.: drag settings, rod stiffness, line stretch, etc.). For now, we’ll just stick to the most often argued points about rigging.
One or two hooks? Single hooks have a high hook-up rate – higher than many twin-hook rigs. Each lure maker will recommend specific rigs that have proven results.
There is a belief that the target species is also relevant (i.e.: single hook for marlin, twins for tuna). If the fish grabs the lure, the hook point or points should be heading for a target regardless of species.
If the lure is the right one for the day and it is working properly (rigging has a great effect on this), then whatever hits it should have a chance of hooking up. A major consideration, however, is the safety of the crew. There’s no question that single hooks are safer.
Long or short? Positioning the hook within the skirt for some reason still gets debated. Without question, the further back in the lure the hooks are positioned, the better. That’s why there are IGFA tournament rules preventing you from hanging the whole hook outside the skirt.
Even with twin hooks, the further back, the better. Simple reasoning is that no matter where the fish grabs the lure, the hooks are still coming at the fish. As to the length of hooks, longer styles are better than shorter live bait styles.
That said, hooks come in a myriad of shapes, materials and thickness. The lighter the line class or strike drag, the thinner the hook. Easy logic here: the thicker the hook, the more drag you need to set it.
Needle, cone or spade point? The type of point depends on strike settings and line class. The lighter the drag, the finer and longer the point. The heavier the drag, the steeper and shorter the point.
To get a little more specific, diamond points on light tackle, with all edges as sharp as possible with a needle point. On heavy tackle, a triangle point-with the outside of the hook sharpened with cutting edges (the inside of the hook is smoothed off). In all cases, the barb should be relatively small.
Stiff or loose? This depends on the lure being rigged. Generally, angled heads are stiff rigged and chuggers are loose rigged. In most cases, single-hook rigs are rigid.
Regarding hook alignment, once again this depends on the specific lure. It’s a case of whether the hooks or the lure face governs which way up the hooks run. For lures with a 60-degree offset, point up is best. On large sliced-face lures, the lure will decide the attitude – 180 degrees is best here. On all single-hook rigs, the point should be run pointed up.
Going straight or turn it in? There seems to be agreement that turned-in points, such as beak points and Southern and tuna styles, are best on most rigs. Straight points on totally rigid rigs are okay but still not as good as the others.
However, there are a couple of factors that will increase your strikes: thinner leader makes lures run better and the right sized hooks helps balance the performance of a lure.
Lure Stop: Most knowledgeable big-game lure fishermen and manufactures have realized, through experience, that the positioning of the single hook in a stiff rig is crucial for the hookup as well as for the action of the lure. A poorly centered hook will make your lure run awkwardly.
Try this. After you create your single-hook rig and are satisfied with where the hook will ride once it is crimped to the leader, pull the lure away and grab a roll of Teflon tape.
Wrap the tape around the crimp and the loop at the hook eye. Make enough wraps so that the diameter measures about the same as the opening in the lure head. At the top of the wrap, try to taper each layer so that the leader inserts snugly into the lure head. Position your hook with the point up, and pull the lure down over the tapered connection. The fit should be snug, and the hook should hold its position.