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I’ve seen a long baitfish rigged with three hooks, the last of which was a small treble hook free-swinging on a length of wire to snag wary mackerel that would normally snap the tail off a bait while avoiding the main hooks. Is this rig IGFA-legal? And are there other IGFA specifications that apply to hooks in baits?
The short answer is that this rig does not comply with IGFA rules. IGFA rules allow up to two single hooks when fishing with bait. Both hooks must be firmly embedded or secured to the bait and dangling or free-swinging hooks are not allowed. Double and treble hooks are also not permissible. In addition, hooks must be at least one hook’s length apart and no further than 18 inches apart – as measured between the eye of the first hook and the eye of the second. The only exception is when the point of one hook is passed through the eye of the other to link them.
If I use a two-hook rig, can I simply run the leader through the eye of the first hook so that it creates a sliding rig that can be easily adjusted for baits of different sizes? The first hook would be more than one hook’s length from the second and secured to the bait by a rubber band.
This setup would not be IGFA compliant because once the bait was bitten by a fish the first hook could slide down to the second and overlap with it.
IGFA Rule Book: Rules Explained:
Hook And Rig Regulations When Using Bait
Answer supplied by: Jason Schratwieser, IGFA
This question ran in ISSUE 80 of BlueWater magazine: AUG / SEPT 2010