Rigging Strip Baits | Fishing Techniques
Rigging strip baits should be at the center of your everyday near shore fishing. Why you ask. The first question should be is there a more versatile bait, one with the resilience and incredible swimming action of a strip bait? Perhaps not. Even with the ubiquity of ballyhoo and the almost robotic manner in which anglers go about buying rigged ballyhoo for their everyday program, strip baits are a far more productive option. Fishermen have been trained to use ballyhoo. Don't get me wrong. In very specific applications, ballyhoo are superb. For trolling coastal waters, nothing will give you a greater chance to catch multiple species than strip baits. Fish will take more than one shot at well rigged strip bait. The ballyhoo is a one and done bait. You are also limited to how fast you can troll a ballyhoo, but nor really with a strip.
Almost every charter boat in South Florida is stocked with bonito strip baits. If this is the bait of choice for fishermen than earn their living taking people fishing, it should be part of your arsenal. It is all comes down to versatility. Rigging strip baits is simple. The sheer variety of ways you can go about rigging strips is mind boggling. They are also super easy to store, as these baits take up almost no room in your cooler. Your life will be made so much easier if you master this type of bait rigging.
Rigging strip baits well starts with having good strips. If you want to know how to cut strip baits, you should check out our video on that. It is so easy. When it comes to the actual rigging part, you will need an assortment of tools and tackle to get the job done right. Well rigged baits are so much more productive. There are four main areas of gear that will be required for the rigs. Lure heads and skirts, different types of strips, line and terminal connectors, along with your hooks and hand tools. Let's get specific.
For the lure and skirting material, you have lots of options. Bullet head lures that fit right over your rigged strip bait work really well. Dawn Patrol is a solid choice here. Having an assortment of sea witches in various colors is a must. You will want brighter colored sea witches for use in dirty water and darker colors for use in clean water. Compact squids that go over the strip are also a must have item. Give yourself options.
The strips can either be purchased or you can cut them. Common strip baits are cut from bonito, squid and you will even find artificial strips. When you cannot get you hands on good quality strip baits, using artificials will still catch you fish. Keep in mind, if you are going to cut your own, get your shape rights and be sure the grain of the meat is going in the right direction. These are basic principles that you can learn from our cutting strip baits video.
Fluorocarbon in the 60-80 lb range, 80 lb monofilament and wire should all be handy. The 6-7 wire is a must if you are wahoo fishing. Soft stainless wire is a great choice. To connect your line you should have plenty of 80-100 lb ball bearing swivels and 80 lb crimps. Double walled crimps are recommended.
As with any type of bait rigging, you are going to need the usual hand tools and the right hooks. A good knife should always be in your rigging box. For the crimps, you will need a small crimping tool. You will also need a pair of dikes and flat pliers. The hook we use for rigging strip baits is the 7766D in size 7/0. This rounds out all the tools and tackle you need to get started. A final tip on all this gear would be to use good quality products. You do not want to experience tackle failure because you used some cheap knock off.
To create the basic rig, you will need your hook, 80-100 lb soft stainless wire, flat pliers and a set of dikes. With these items you will make your bait fastener. This will allow you to keep the strip on the hook. You really need to see this to understand exactly what is going on. This is where I suggest you watch the Rigging Strip Baits video in our bait rigging library.
You will learn how to make basic strip bait rigs that will cover just about all of your needs. Our video takes you step by step through how to make a monofilament rig, the wire rig and the double hook rig where you connect a smaller hook to a bigger hook. Once you know the steps for making the basic hook rigs, you will see how to rig strip baits. We cover the artificial strip, the quintessential bonito strip, the squid strips bait, the double hook bonito strip and the panama strip. We will also discuss the merits of the mullet strip, but do now do a walk thru.
With this information, you are well on your way to rigging strip baits and catching a lot more fish. The fishing tips and techniques shared in this article and in our videos will instill you with the confidence to execute all these rigs with ease. The more you know, the more you catch.
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