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Big Game Fishing Tips
How to Make a Single Hook Rig For a Skirted Trolling Lure
"Fresh", carefully rigged lures will keep you prepared for whatever happens when trolling, giving yourself and your lures the best chance at catching fish. These are the tools and materials needed to keep those lures rigged right:
Tools: Mono cutter, Hand held double sleeve crimper
Materials: Leader material, Double sleeve crimps, Line saver, Mustad 7691S
Step 1. Cut a piece of line saver slightly longer than the length of the lure head. Next, heat one end with a match causing the plastic tube to flare out. Then, insert "un-heated" end in rear of lure thru tube.
Tip: Cut your line saver tubing with the mono cutters for nice, clean cuts. The line saver will prevent your leader material from being scratched by the brass thru tubing that most lure makers use for a leader hole. Keep some length of line saver (about 1/4 inch) in front of the lure face. Too long a length will interfere with the intended action of the lure, but a little length will help protect the leader on those "head knocker" type strikes.
Step 2. Run your choice of leader material (typically 250 to 300 pound test mono for a lure with 7 inch skirts) thru the line saver at the front of the lure and out the back, giving yourself a foot or so of leader to work with. Then slide 2 of the double sleeves onto the leader. Now cut a length of line saver (about 2 inches) and slide onto the leader after the two sleeves and leave about 6 inches of leader.
Step 3. Take your choice of hook and run the leader thru the hook eye, centering it on the line saver. Form a loop and slide the first sleeve near the line saver and crimp firmly. For small crimping sleeves a single squeeze in the middle of the crimp will do. For larger crimping sleeves make a squeeze near one end, slide your hand held crimping tool over and squeeze again. Note: It is important not to crimp at the edge of the sleeve it is meant to flare outward so it will not pinch the leader material.
Step 4. Now there should be some length of leader material left over after the first crimp. Slide the lure back down so that you can get an idea of where it will sit if the second sleeve was crimped. Trim so that your hook will sit where you want it. Use the second crimp and slide it over the short mono “spacer” and take a squeeze.
Tip: I like to make a single hook rig with the bend of the hook sitting toward the rear of the skirt. Having it set forward of this position seems to allow the skirt legs to get tangled all around the hook. One advantage of a single hook rig is the setup remains much safer if a fish is brought aboard than with a tandem hook rig.
Step 5. Measure out your leader length (3 arm spans on the long side, 2 armspans on the short side) and cut the leader. This will be the end that connects to your trolling swivel. Slide one of the double sleeve crimps onto the leader. Cut a length of line saver (about 2 inches) and slide onto the leader.
Form a loop and make a crimp. Trim off the excess leader material, but try to leave a short length in case the leader pulls thru slightly under the strain of a tough fight. Some folks flare the cut end with a flame to prevent it from sliding thru the sleeve. This may work fine, but be really careful not to heat the leader and weaken it.
How we rig:
6 inch skirts: 8/0 with 200 mono
7 inch skirts: 9/0 with 250, 300 mono
9 inch skirts: 10/0 with 400 mono
Now you have a sound rigged lure, take care of it and keep it fresh and ready to be used. Keep your leader coiled neatly together with a #64 rubber band and try storing your rigs in those plastic baskets with holes. This makes it very easy to separate your lures by size or spread and allows them to air dry after rinsing them with freshwater. Inspect the leader after any catches, if it looks worn, replace it. I like to make my leader a little long so any worn out length near the lure end can be trimmed a few times before the leader becomes too short.
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