Sabiki Bait Rigs: The Smart Way to Catch Baitfish!

Sabiki Bait Rigs are very small fly-like lures produced for the sole purpose of catching baitfish - a job they do very effectively.

They're supplied as a string of 6 or 8 lures, each one tied-off on a short dropper. If you luck into a shoal of baitfish it's not uncommon to get a fish on every hook.

But if the hooked baitfish are larger than expected, the combined load of them all darting around can be too much for the strength of the rigs.

So, rather than letting a 'full-house' of baitfish destroy your Sabikis, snip off the hook points on every other lure so you're left with 3 or 4 lures that will catch and a similar number that will act as attractors.

This will be much more productive than just cutting your rig in half and making two out of it; the odds are that overall, you'll catch more baitfish and hang on to your string of Sabikis for longer.

There are at least three ways of using your sabiki rigs to catch baitfish:~

  • jigging them from an anchored or drifting boat (or kayak);
  • casting them from the shore
  • casting or jigging them from a pier

Jigging with Sabiki Bait Rigs

If you're after baitfish for sea bass live-baiting session, then nothing will beat a small joey mackerel - except perhaps sandeels and their larger cousins, launce. As their name suggests sandeels habitat sandy seabeds, so if that's what you've got under your boat, clip on your smallest set of Sabiki Bait Rigs - and get jigging!

Here in the UK, if you a bass angler, you'll known that live sandeels take some beating as bait. So if it's sandeels you want, work your Sabikis as close to the seabed as you can - but don't let the lead bounce on the bottom, as this will surely spook the sandeels.

And another important 'don't do' is replace the weight with a jig lure if it's small baitfish you're after, as this will have a similar effect as bouncing the lead.

No sandeels? ~ Then work the full water column until you get lucky with something else. If you can feel plucks on the lures, but no fish, try moving up a hook size.

Shore Fishing with Sabiki Bait Rigs

Here's how it's done:~

  1. If it's mackerel you're after, find yourself a beach with deep water close in - somewhere like Chesil Beach, if you're within shouting distance of the UK's south coast.
  2. Rig your longest-casting shore outfit with a string of Sabikis, clip on the lightest lead that will get you the required distance and heave it out.
  3. Give some slack, and hold back on the retrieve until you're sure the rig has hit bottom, then retrieve in a sink-and-draw motion.
  4. Work the beach, keeping an eye out for the give-away sign of diving birds, until you start to catch.

Pier Fishing with Sabiki Bait Rigs

If that deep water off the beach we spoke about earlier isn't available to you, then you'll find it off the pier.

And here, you can either cast your Sabikis - if local regulations permit it - or jig them vertically just off the bottom. Take a look at these pier fishing tips to get the most out of these productive venues.

Incidentally, you can get Sabikis made up with fluorocarbon line, which seems like a very good idea to me...

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