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Eel Rigging Instructions - Page 1
                      by Tim Surgent

          The rigging of the eels.  Lay the eels out in a line, all facing the same way, on a wet paper towel.  Now, I do things in an assembly line fashion, putting things away as I progress...I'll suggest you do to, just to make the instructions more realistic.  Take the rigging needle, double 1 piece of the Dacron, place the doubled end into the hole at the end of the needle and pull about 3 inches through the hole.  Push the needle point into the eels mouth, and work it down through the body and exit the vent.  Pull the needle through the eel, making certain the Dacron doesn't get hung up on the eels mouth as the loop enters.  Once the needle is out and the doubled end of Dacron is out, remove the Dacron from the needle and put the eel aside.
  Using the eel rigging needle Step 1
    Repeat this step on the other 5 eels. Put the needle away, it's done.  Now for the tail hook.  Take 1 hook, put the double Dacron through the eye of the hook, being careful from here on in, not to pull the other end of the Dacron into the eels mouth...an easy mistake to make if you're not watching! 

     Now, put the hook through the loop of Dacron that you just pulled through the eye.   Turn the loop 180 degrees and put the hook through it again.  Repeat one more time. 
 Step 2
Putting the tail hook on dacron

Now you have to slide the Dacron loop and all the turns up over the eye of the hook.  Again, be careful not to pull the other end through the eels mouth, and tighten the loop and twists now by holding the Dacron where it exits the eel and pulling on the hook...use your fingers to work the loop and twist down tight towards the eye of the hook.  Good.
Step 3

Tail hook alignment   

    Along the way, you will find things that you will add/remove to rigging eels....here's one I added.  Put just hook point back into the eels vent, with the point facing the eels tail, and poke it through about " aft of the vent, being careful to make sure it comes out right along the center of the bottom of the eel.  Now, pull the hook until the eye and knot pop inside the eels vent...pulling at the other ends of the Dacron will often help here.

Step 4
inserting the tail hook into the rigged eel

  Now, you should have two single pieces of Dacron outside the mouth, approximately even in length and at least 6-8" long, and a hook sticking out of a hole you made " aft of the vent right along the center of the bottom of the eel.  Let's move on.  Pull the hook by the point out of it's hole up to the point where just the eye is remaining inside the eel.  Take 1 20" piece of bow string and tie an overhand knot just where the bend of the hook straightens into the shaft, leaving an equal amount of bow string for both tag ends, tie it tight. Now repeat on opposite side of hook.  Flip and repeat, this time doubling the overhand knot.  Flip and repeat the doubled knot.  Don't trim the tag ends.  Put a drop of Zap-A-Gap on the knot, making certain not to get much glue on the eel, just on the knot and hook.  Carefully put this eel aside, and repeat these steps on the remaining eels.  This is easily the most time consuming part of the rigging process, but each step is very important if you want your eel to last. Each eel is set aside as they are glued in various steps to allow the glue to dry. If you are only doing one or two eels, there will not be enough time between steps to allow the glue to dry...you'll have to be patient or very careful! Zap-A-Gap will stick to everything and anything...including a fresh, slimy eel...it will remove some skin and leave a white spot on the eel...neither is desirable! Step 5
seating the tail hook in the rigged eel

Step 6
proper tail hook placement

Step 7
securing the tail hook in the rigged eel
Step 8
securing the tail hook in the rigged eel - closeup

      OK, now we go back to the first eel we put the tail hook in, the glue will be dry by now.  Push the hook back into the eel up to the point where the bow string is tight against the eel.  The hook should be in a position now that makes it's bit most likely to connect should you get a hit.  Pull the Dacron from the front again to make sure all slack is gone.  Here comes a tough part....put your thumb on the shank of the hook, near the eye.  This will put the hook shank against the eels spinal cord and "level" it.  While holding the hook this way, wrap the tag ends of the bowstring tied to the hook in opposite directions over the eels back...now tie an overhand knot that comes to rest against the hook shank....make sure the hook is hanging straight down from eels belly, it can be adjusted if need be now by pulling on one tag or the other.  Once it's straight, pull it tight...don't cut the eel in half...but tight!    
    Once it's tight, tie another overhand knot on top of the first.  Now, pass the tag ends in opposite directions over the eel again and tie an overhand knot on top of the eel...in the groove from the bow string, then tie another overhand knot under the eel, on top of the first one on the hook.  Now tie two more overhand knots on top of that one for a total of three.  Pull them tight, and trim the tag ends without pulling on the tag ends too much, you can loosen the knots here if your not careful.  Once trimmed, put a drop of glue here on top of the pile of knots on top of the hook...don't get it on the eel.  Put this eel aside, and repeat for the other 5.

Step 9
tying the tail hook securing knots

 

Step 10
addition tail hook securing knots

Step 11
finished tail hook in rigged eel
Left: This is how the finished tail hook should look. It should be secured to the eel as described above and should not move easily in any direction. Be careful with the Zap-A-Gap...it'll make a mess of your eel if your not careful. Many guys don't use any glue at all.
(You can navigate through the 5 pages of eel rigging instructions through links at the top of each eel rigging page)

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