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September 21, 2007

The No-Nonsense Stinger Rig

Build a better two-hook bait rig for foiling short-strikers.

Measuring Up

Stinger leaders should be slightly shorter than the bait, so the hook can be positioned in the rear third of its body. The wire should lay snug against the bait, yet shouldn't restrict its swimming action.

While some anglers prefer a free-swinging trailing hook on their stinger rigs, I like to place it in the bait. First, I run the lead hook lightly through the bait's nostrils or just in front of its dorsal fin. Then I lay the stinger alongside the bait to determine where the hook will ride and thread the point just under the skin. Depending on the bait, I sometimes hide the entire shank just under the skin, leaving only its eye and point exposed.

Make sure to embed the lead and stinger hooks firmly enough to prevent them from tearing out on a cast, yet light enough so they'll pull free on the strike. If they're embedded too deeply, the hook may prove difficult to set, or may turn back into the bait.

Also, before deploying the bait, hold it firmly and tug on the leader. The strain should be absorbed by the lead hook in the bait's head. If the rear stinger is pulling forward as you tug on the main leader, the bait will not swim properly. If this occurs, create some slack in the wire by positioning the stinger hook farther forward in the bait.

Since you're working with relatively light wire, replace your stinger system after each fish. Do not try to straighten the wire, as this will only weaken it. In your spare time, make some extra rigs in different lengths and place them in plastic bags. That way, you'll always have them ready to go for a variety of live baits.

The rigs shown in the accomanying photos are effective on virtually all game fish. The necessary adjustments will be in the sizing of the wire and hooks to the species you plan on catching.

Interlocking-Loop Stinger Rig

The No-Nonsense Stinger Rig

Step 1 Using approximately 24 inches of wire, run one end of the leader wire through the eye of the lead hook. Secure the hook to the wire with a haywire twist. Add a swivel to the opposite end of the leader, for attachment to your fishing line.

The No-Nonsense Stinger Rig

Step 2 After cutting the desired length of wire for the stinger leader, run one end of the wire through the eye of the lead hook.

The No-Nonsense Stinger Rig

The No-Nonsense Stinger Rig

Step 3 Pass the tag end of the stinger wire through the loop of the main wire leader. Form a small loop, then secure with a haywire twist.

The No-Nonsense Stinger Rig

Step 4 Attach the stinger hook with a haywire twist.

Swivel Stinger Rig

The No-Nonsense Stinger Rig

Step 1 Run a few inches of the primary leader through the eye of the lead hook and a swivel with the stinger wire and hook already attached.

The No-Nonsense Stinger Rig

The No-Nonsense Stinger Rig

Step 2 Form a small loop and secure the connection with a haywire twist. The swivel should rest on top of the shank of the lead hook.