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FishingMike

why "rig" an eel?

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I have to admit, live eels and rigged eels are something I really have not gotten into yet, though I really should. So this question is more out of curiosity than anything else. But I know when people fish live eels, they put a single hook through the head somehow(lips, eyes, etc). So why, once the eel is dead, do you use two hooks and go through the whole rigging process? If one hook is fine when the eel is alive, why do you feel the need for 2 when you rig an eel. Why can't you or why don't you just put the hook through the head again?

Thanks,

Mike

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The hooks act like a keel to help the bait swim correctly. With the 2 hooks tied in you have the ability to control the action of the whole eel rather than just having the one hook in the head. With a rigged eel you have the ability to grip it and rip it. You dont have to take anything off the cast. I use smaller eels and 7/0 hooks. With the big riggies your right back to Pikie Lobs unless your using a heavier action rod. For me anything over 4 I'm lobbing.

 

Once the eel is dead doesn't mean you have to stop using it. I've caught good fish on dead eels.

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You can, I do it all the time

A dead brined eel often fishes just as well as a live one, and more often then not, better then a rigged one.

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You can, I do it all the time

A dead brined eel often fishes just as well as a live one, and more often then not, better then a rigged one.

 

Fresh rigged eel thats never been brined or frozen is hard to beat

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I have to admit, live eels and rigged eels are something I really have not gotten into yet, though I really should. So this question is more out of curiosity than anything else. But I know when people fish live eels, they put a single hook through the head somehow(lips, eyes, etc). So why, once the eel is dead, do you use two hooks and go through the whole rigging process? If one hook is fine when the eel is alive, why do you feel the need for 2 when you rig an eel. Why can't you or why don't you just put the hook through the head again?

Thanks,

Mike

 

First - you can. If you're fishing a live eel and it expires, there's no reason to replace it. You can go right on fishing it. Sudsy says he fishes dead brined eels that way? He'd know, I just haven't done it myself. [sudsy, how large an eel do you like for fishing dead brined eels with just a single head hook?]

 

A live eel will maintain an appropriate position in the water. (If it can even slightly curl its' tail when you lift it out of the water, it's still alive.) Once they're dead, I do think they swim more realistically if they have that second hook. I also think that a properly rigged dead eel can be cast a bit more aggressively than a live eel, especially if it's big.

 

There's one more thing you can do with a dead eel than a live one - you can use a length of chain between front and rear hooks to add weight for sinking the eel on an even keel, so to speak. And bluefish may chop off the tail of an eel so rigged behind the hook (amazing how they know to do that) but keep on fishing that messed-up eel and sometimes he comes back for another bite. SURPRISE! I haven't met the bluefish that can bite through chain.

 

I'd be delighted to try this out on a fish that's bigger and toothier, say, a shark or a wahoo or sumthin'. The opportunity hasn't occurred yet.

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[sudsy, how large an eel do you like for fishing dead brined eels with just a single head hook?]

 

The same size eels that i fish alive (when they expire they go into a baggie to be brined when i get home)

 

Little trick, sew an egg sinker into it's mouth, gives it weight for casting and getting down in current.

Or you can be lazy and run the hook though the bottom jaw then through the wire eye of a kettlebell sinker positioned in the eels mouth (the small freshwater sinkers with the wire loop) then up through the eye socket.

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Live eels are hard to beat, but you've got to keep 'em alive, carry in the water and not as easy to interchange with plugs...though some guys simply connect the hook to their snap which lets 'em also use plugs. Rigged eels can be carried in your plag and switched on and off just like a plug...the actual rigging with 2 hooks does make all the difference in how the eel tracks and swims in the water. It's been mentioned in other threads that there are some good youtube videos showing how to rig 'em.

 

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The only time I've ever rigged eels is years back when we used to slow troll them. But they were bigger than the eels sold at the local B&T. If I have dead eels with me, the smaller ones, I just hook 'em like I would a live eel.


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one of the huge advantages I find with rigging eels is castability. I often baby a live eel a little bit b/c casting off the sucker will likely result in me feeding my trophy instead of hooking her. Also, with the rigged second hook you have control over a longer length of the bait. A live eel can control its own body, a dead eel is flaccid and any additional control you can gain over it is an improvement. Fresh is always preferred, but brined eels work great too.

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Rigging a dead eel is a must when fishing for striped bass because of presentation purposes solely. A rigged eel needs support behind the head through the body for smooth and static water movement. Now, if you are fishing a dead eel with one hook rigged through the mouth you are doing two things....first you are lowering your percentages of hooking up on a bass or another predator (most strikes occur 90% on the head hook anyways), secondly its about presentation. If you have an eel that is dead you will have to determine the factor of drag through the water because there is no additional assistance on the second half of the eel's body. What you will have is a weighted head with let's say your fishing an eel that is 18 inches in length, what will help the other 17 inches of drag swim through the water if your hooking the head somewhere within one inch of the nose of the eel? Bad presentation means the fish will pass it up.

 

A rigged eel wants to be fished with solid continuity, in other words the entire length of the eel must have natural movement like a snake in order for the offering to become somewhat interesting for a striped bass to engulf. If you just rig the head of a dead eel you will have to work the eel like a plastic bait attached to a jighead, not a bad technique but the rigging for this might be as complicated as rigging the eel with 2 hooks.

 

2 hook rigging is amplified for great movement through two things: (1) in-line keel with right placement of hooks, (2) hook size ratio for eel size (this is overlooked a lot). These two items become major factors when rigging an eel, if not performed correctly the eel will not be as natural in movement as a live eel. You have to fool the bass!

 

Casting an eel especially rigged has its time and place. If your slingin these dead suckers over the second sandbar then your fising way off course and out of your own comfort zone. I say this because you will feel uneasy throwing a rigged eel with great force because you might feel like you will rip it's mouth and when fishing live and dead eels you want to fish them near current, along jetties or out in front of a jetty. It all depends where you are fishing. Personally, I have best times drifting a rigged eel inside a current and then working the eel outside the current to find bass staging in that specific area. It's up to you and your comfort zone.

 

One more thing, an egg sinker in the mouth is a good idea but it really takes away the natural weight of a rigged eel. It does work but I find the egg sinker to be too bulky even the smaller ones and the best methods are (1) make a notch on the shank of the hook with solder, gives it a little weight. Slide the eel over the notch right behind the eye of the hook and on both sides of the mouth send a rigging needle (one at a time) through the lower jaw bone and penetrate to the upper jaw bone. Once you have the thread through tie a series of overhand knots on each side independently. This will secure the mouth on the solder notch, then proceed to tie to the eye of the hook with the rigging dacron inside the mouth of the eel (initial threaded rigging from anal cavity).

 

This is the way I do it, secondly if I need more weight I'm not going to rip my artistic work of the eel's mouth open I will just wrap some solder wire around the head of the eel and fish it like so. You can always adjust the solder but you can't adjust the egg sinker once inside the mouth unless you are going to make a few in different weight classes. Good Luck

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Slingin Eels View Post

 

Rigging a dead eel is a must when fishing for striped bass because of presentation purposes solely. A rigged eel needs support behind the head through the body for smooth and static water movement. Now, if you are fishing a dead eel with one hook rigged through the mouth you are doing two things....first you are lowering your percentages of hooking up on a bass or another predator (most strikes occur 90% on the head hook anyways), secondly its about presentation. If you have an eel that is dead you will have to determine the factor of drag through the water because there is no additional assistance on the second half of the eel's body. What you will have is a weighted head with let's say your fishing an eel that is 18 inches in length, what will help the other 17 inches of drag swim through the water if your hooking the head somewhere within one inch of the nose of the eel? Bad presentation means the fish will pass it up.

 

A rigged eel wants to be fished with solid continuity, in other words the entire length of the eel must have natural movement like a snake in order for the offering to become somewhat interesting for a striped bass to engulf. If you just rig the head of a dead eel you will have to work the eel like a plastic bait attached to a jighead, not a bad technique but the rigging for this might be as complicated as rigging the eel with 2 hooks.

 

2 hook rigging is amplified for great movement through two things: (1) in-line keel with right placement of hooks, (2) hook size ratio for eel size (this is overlooked a lot). These two items become major factors when rigging an eel, if not performed correctly the eel will not be as natural in movement as a live eel. You have to fool the bass!

 

Casting an eel especially rigged has its time and place. If your slingin these dead suckers over the second sandbar then your fising way off course and out of your own comfort zone. I say this because you will feel uneasy throwing a rigged eel with great force because you might feel like you will rip it's mouth and when fishing live and dead eels you want to fish them near current, along jetties or out in front of a jetty. It all depends where you are fishing. Personally, I have best times drifting a rigged eel inside a current and then working the eel outside the current to find bass staging in that specific area. It's up to you and your comfort zone.

 

One more thing, an egg sinker in the mouth is a good idea but it really takes away the natural weight of a rigged eel. It does work but I find the egg sinker to be too bulky even the smaller ones and the best methods are (1) make a notch on the shank of the hook with solder, gives it a little weight. Slide the eel over the notch right behind the eye of the hook and on both sides of the mouth send a rigging needle (one at a time) through the lower jaw bone and penetrate to the upper jaw bone. Once you have the thread through tie a series of overhand knots on each side independently. This will secure the mouth on the solder notch, then proceed to tie to the eye of the hook with the rigging dacron inside the mouth of the eel (initial threaded rigging from anal cavity).

 

This is the way I do it, secondly if I need more weight I'm not going to rip my artistic work of the eel's mouth open I will just wrap some solder wire around the head of the eel and fish it like so. You can always adjust the solder but you can't adjust the egg sinker once inside the mouth unless you are going to make a few in different weight classes. Good Luck

 

I have found that a 1/4 to 1/2 oz rubber core sinker (more long and narrow) is easier to get in an eels mouth. Sometimes when fishing in alot of current, I will use one of these weights about 3 feet above my eel.  I have found this helps me keep in contact with it easier.  However, I almost always start out with no weight, then put a sinker in the eels mouth, and then fish with weight if I really need to.  Slingin eels, it sounds like you really know how to fish an eel and have much more experience than me.  I just got into eels in the last year and had some great success and some great disappointments.  Have fished with a few guys who hook an eel in the tail.  I ask them why they do and they say so the eel cast bury its nose in the sand.  Is this true?  Also do you ever use any weight attached to your line?

 

 

 

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