Sunday, 23 February 2014

Wire-rigging a Teaserhead - Feb 23, 2014

I am often asked to rerun my column on wire-rigging teaserheads for saltwater salmon trolling with bait, typically anchovy. You might want to save this, or remember it will be on

Wire rigging is standard practice in the CRD area. You can fish a teaser out of the box with the treble hook inserted high behind the dorsal fin, but wire rigging helps maintain bait spiral longer and more consistently. We commonly use the O’Ki Juan de Fuca (JDF) heads and the Rhys Davis teaserheads.

Both types hold bait in the same way unlike other types, typified by Roller Baiters from Hotspot. Crimp the eyeballs of the bait, insert it into the teaser head and use an inline pin or toothpick to hold the bait. Sit down and rig 25 at a time, starting with a single treble on six feet of 25- to 30-pound mono (not too-stiff fluorocarbon) leader, with an Octopus-style, Kirbed single three inches behind, on the tag end. Do one after the other and wrap each around a tackle box leader board, so you have enough for a year.

Next, cut stucco wire (for securing chicken wire) in 6-inch lengths (not piano, spring or stainless as they won’t hold curves). ‘Drill’ two holes in the side of the trailing wing. JDF heads cause bait to spiral because the trailing wing has a curve in it and the leader exit is above the centre mark of the head; teaserheads have a flange that sticks out on the trailing edge for spiral and the leader exit hole is off-centred on the top leading edge. (You can make both spin like bullets, if you wish, by drilling holes at the centre point).

A large, long-pointed Siwash hook drills the wire holes. These two holes are parallel to head axis either right below the JDF blister or just in front of the teaser flange, 3/16th of an inch apart, one in front of the other. Speed the ‘drill’ step by heating the Siwash point over a lighter. It will eat through plastic like butter. Or, leave three straightened hooks, points on a stove element; or large, long, heavy-duty sewing needles; a very light fid would work, too.

Make sure the holes are only wide enough to pass the wire or toothpicks – loose wire or toothpicks don’t work properly. The toothpick holes you drill on the top edge of the head behind the leader exit hole and also on the bottom. Also a pair from side to side on heads without an inline pin. Scrape extra scrim off all holes with your thumbnail.

Bend the short wire pieces with needle nose pliers. Bend 3/16th of an inch to a right angle, then 1/8th to 3/16th to a right angle. This will put make a small ‘hook’ on one end. Insert the other end into the head’s trailing hole from the outside to the inside. Pull the wire through, so the leading ‘hook’ point goes through the other hole and sticks out on the inside of the head.

The care you take in the next step is the most important to ensuring a solid rig. Squash the bit of wire that is left on the outside of the head with needle nose pliers. At the same time, bend back the trailing wire parallel from the head with your thumb nail as close to the exit hole as possible. Then, holding the head between thumb and forefinger, turn the head over, and use the pliers to first bend the ‘hook’ on the inside. Then, pressing hard on the trailing wire, take the bent leading wire end and head wing in your pliers and firmly press it right into the plastic. It should not wriggle at all.

Also use four ball bearing swivels: top end of the leader, bottom end of the flasher, top end of flasher and bottom end of main line. This enhances bait spiral and gives fail-safe bearings so the always-spiraling rig does not just simply tangle the leader and/or mainline into a fritz. As you will be fishing 20 minutes between checking bait action and condition, you could be towing a tangle the entire time.

For the hook rig, I use a brass #3 or #4 treble (actually a freshwater hook), barbs flattened, for a leading hook, with a sliding knot, followed by a 4/0 to 6/0 single, nickel (rusts out of the fish in a break off), Octopus-style hook, with a sliding knot, as the trailer, three inches below the treble. Fix a ball bearing swivel to the leader, with a Palomar knot. Add a 3-mm eye to the outside of the teaser, as it is the side the fish sees. Put a toothpick in the blister to snugly hold the leader.

If using a non-glow JDF head, say jelly-fish, use a fluorescent pin on the head as an attractant. When using a glow-head, use a red pin, which perhaps imitates a gill opening. Finally, trim the wire to the bait size on the water, remembering that no wire should stick out of the bait. Gently insert the trailing wire into one side of the gills, then back through the body until the anchovy head snugs into the teaser.

Add the top and bottom toothpicks, and from side to side in a head without an inline pin. Snap all ends flush to the teaser. Keep all toothpicks dry – and use flat ones not round ones – in a plastic pill bottle on the boat, with a hole in the top, so that you can turn it upside down and a single toothpick will drop in your palm.

Now, insert one point of the treble halfway between the lateral line and dorsal surface and halfway between the dorsal fin and tail. Now the important part: curve the bait from teaserhead, making the curve greater curve toward the tail – for that killer spiral (not a roll). Be assured your bait will fish true the entire time between letting down and bite, or other bump in the dark. The curve makes the tail follow the head within the diameter of its spiral – crucial in Victoria.

Finally, note that treble placement puts the trailing single directly behind the tail so hook is the first thing the salmon closes on – much better than the original, single-treble version. In my two-hook version, the treble has no other purpose, making it easier to get the single hook from the fish’ mouth.

Note: I have been asked to put some photos of wire-rigged bait heads here. Two shots are below. You can zoom them in to take a look at how the wires look once inserted. I give you both the front and the back side of the rigged heads. And there is a sample of the wire that you can get where they stock stucco products. To these you add the double tandem hook rig mentioned above and finally trim the wire shorter before inserting it in the gill plate of the bait.

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