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Sinker, swivel, leader and hook - The rig to use in fast running water

by Gary Brown on 15 Apr 2013
The next time you are on the water try this rig. I am sure you won't be disapointed Gary Brown
What a great rig this is, but this is only if you get the combination correct, as there are a number of things that you need to get right for this rig to work for you. Now, once again this will depend on what fish species you are targeting and where you are fishing. Over the years of delivering my fishing classes one of the questions I will always ask is, 'How long a leader do you use?'

Many of the participants will say they use about 30 to 40cm and that they mainly catch plenty of small snapper, catfish, plus the odd flathead, bream and flounder. Now there is nothing wrong with catching flathead, bream and flounder, as they are great fighters on light line and they are also great on the plate. But to get away from catching those small snapper and tiny catfish all you need to do is increase the length of your leader.


The length of the leader will depend on the length of the rod you are using at the time. For a three metre rod try a one and a half metre to two metre leader and for a two metre rod try a one and a half metre to metre. Once my leader gets to about 80cm in length I will cut it off and retie another longer leader on.


The idea behind having a very long leader is that the current will pick up the bait off the bottom and allow it to move around. The main baits that I prefer to use with this rig are the peeled prawns, small strips of fillets and squid, pink nippers and worms. I have found that heavier baits like whole pilchards, garfish, yellowtail and large strip baits tend to sit on the bottom and don’t move around.

I will give you an example to help explain what I mean in getting the combination correct.


Say you were targeting whiting over a set of sand flats (one to two metres of cover at high tide) and you were in a boat. First off I would anchor my boat. Once you have positioned your boat you will need to make up some berley bombs. To do this you will need to put a small amount of water into the bottom of a bucket. This put in enough chicken pellets so that the water will rise and just cover the pellets. Then allow the pellets time to soak in the water. If the mix is too runny just add a few more pellets and if it is too dry just add a little bit of water.

The consistency of the mix should be so that you can make balls about the size of a golf ball and they won’t fall apart when you though them into the water. I usually line up about ten or so balls on my bait board and before I cast in the first bait I will throw out three to four of these balls. I will then repeat this every time I either bring a fish or to re bait the line.

I would then cast out at least three lines with different bait on each and once I had worked out which bait they preferred I would change all the baits.


With this rig the swivel and sinker size are very important. What I have found over the years that too many anglers use the wrong swivel size. This is usually due to the fact they think if they get twist in the line they should use a larger swivel. Now this is so far from the truth it’s not funny. The next time you are in a tackle shop, have a look at the breaking strain of a medium sized swivel and you will find that it could be around 20 to 25 kilos breaking strain. If you are using a six kilo mainline you don’t need a swivel that big. Try using a much smaller size swivel and you will find that you will get less line twist and if you find that the swivel goes into and through the eye of the sinker, just but a small plastics bead between the sinker and the swivel.
Bait Tip.

Now there is definitely an art to catching beach worms and I can say that I will get enough beach worms in an hour to do me for a day’s fishing off the beach. Alan Perry from Bawley Point showed me how to master the art of catching beach worms. Alan taught me that there are seven parts to being a successful wormer.

1. Use pilchards in a stocking secured to your ankle for your attractor.
2. Use a pipi that has been put in a stocking that is tied to your wrist for your hand bait.
3. Have the sun in front of your so you don’t cast a shadow over where the worms are.
4. Make sure that you don’t grab at the worm until it has arched its back.
5. When closing your fore finger against your thumb make sure that you have some sand between the worm and them.
6. Once you have a worm between your fore finger and your thumb don’t pull to hard and take another hold with your other hand further down the worm.
7. Take your time.

Once you have enough worms (check the bag limit in your state) you need to roll them in dry sand. Then either use them straight away or roll them up in newspaper and store them on the lowest shelve in the fridge. I have heard of them being soaked in methylated sprits, then put into a snap locked plastic bag and then into the freezer. If you have the space and the time you could set up a set of shallow tanks and keep them in that. The same way that they do it in the shops.

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