How to Make a Solid
Rigged Eel - Eel Rigging Series
Tackling the task on your own!
by Tim Surgent
First, the materials you will need:
(We are now selling some of the tools you will need to rig eels, either real or rubber ones - check the online store)
12-16" anorexic eels...as many as you will rig now or freeze for later. Or, if you plan on rigging rubber eels, get some :-)
Eel squids - Whatever your preference.
For real eels, Gamakatsu or Owner gorilla style HD live bait
hooks...black, size 5/0 or 6/0....one/eel as the tail hook.
For rubber eels, either above, or Mustad 2X short, 3X strong hooks in either stainless steel or Duratin finish. Generally 5/0 for rubber eels and 6/0 for real eels. We offer both the Gamakatsu's and the Mustads in Duratin.
50# or 80# black Dacron, for rigging. We offer 50# and 80#, the 50# is generally best for rubber eels and the 80# is generally best for real eels. Each eel requires approximately 2 feet of Dacron.
12" rigging needle, purchased or make your own eel rigging needle.
Black waxed bow string for rigging. **Note: Can be found at archery/bow hunting stores and is generally available either as waxed spectra or waxed cotton/nylon - don't get the spectra stuff, it doesn't knot as well, glue as well, and is just plain tough to cut. Not necessary for rubber eels.
Razor blade or sharp scissors.
Newspaper...to keep the slime off your working area! Not necessary for rubber eels.
Paper towels, wet...to keep the eels damp. Not necessary for rubber eels.
Zap-A-Gap, for the knots.
Here we go with the steps. First, you must kill the eels. I found the best way to do this is to put them in a plastic bag, close it, squeeze out as much air as possible, and run it under very warm water...not hot, very warm. They will flip, but they will die in under a minute...most in 20 seconds or so. There are many ways to kill them, but this is the fastest, cleanest, and safest way I know. Once the eels are dead, dump them in the sink, and take a paper towel and run it down each eel, removing the excess slime. This won't take off all the slime, just the thick, nasty stuff...yuck. Now, I'll take the eels I intend to rig right now and put them on a wet paper towel. The others I will put in a Ziploc bag, cover them with water, and squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal it. Entombed inside the ice, the eels won't age, rot, or burn...they will look brand new when you need them.
To the table. For the sake of simplicity, I'll pretend that you are going to rig 6 eels...that's what I usually do at a sitting...it takes me about 1 hour to rig 6 eels properly. To start, you might want to do just 2 or 3, but I'm going to use 6 as the number here. I'll have already setup newspapers...double thick...where I intend to rig them...a tolerant wife is a plus here. I'll then select the eel squids, based on both the eel sizes and the water I expect to encounter. I'll sharpen the hooks of the squids now. Put 6 tail hooks near the squids. Cut 6 24" pieces of the Dacron. Cut 6 12" pieces of bow string, put them aside. Cut 12 20" pieces of bow string, put them aside...keep them separate from the shorter pieces, makes it easier. Get the glue out. Get the rigging needle ready....razor or scissors handy...now to the rigging!
(You can navigate through the 5 pages of eel rigging instructions through links at the top of each eel rigging page)