There are not many things more frustrating than untangling a poorly made Sabiki rig and especially in a boat rocking back and forth with rookies manning the rods. It’s not long, and they are tangled with each other, killing the bait and breaking rod tips. You can do a few things to keep this from happening and make re-rigging much easier. Let’s see how we can improve the Sabiki rig experience.
Dedicated Sabiki Equipment for Best Results
Often, fishermen will use the same equipment for their Sabiki rig as they plan to use for their target fish. They are using a stiff rod and heavyweight line to try to catch small baitfish. The heavy monofilament line forces you to use a lot of weight to keep the line from floating and for the bait to swim together and tangle the rig.
You will see fishermen without a dedicated Sabiki rig, just bringing up one or two baitfish at a time. You wonder if the fly fishing tips they researched led them to this. They take forever to catch enough bait and have less time to actually fish. It’s best to have a couple of dedicated rods and reels just for your Sabiki rig.
When choosing a rod and reel for your dedicated Sabiki rod and reel, use lighter gear than you usually fish with. Often, that is a seven-foot extra-fast rod rated for an eight- to ten-pound test line. A 5.6:1 or 6.2:1 gear ratio works well. A Penn Battle 3000 combo with a spinning reel and eight-pound monofilament line is a good choice.
What Do You Need for Your Sabiki Rig?
Now that you have the right rod and reel, let’s make your Sabiki rig. The items you need will be two-ounce weights, 20-lb. monofilament fishing line, Sabiki hooks and a bead. It pays to spend a little more on your Sabiki rig. The quality of the better hooks makes a big difference. The cheaper hooks are not as appealing to the baitfish and tangle easily. Spend a little more and get a quality rig. Once you are on the water, you will be glad you did.
Two suggestions on Sabiki rigs are the Seaguar #6 with an invisible line or the Hayabusa Sabiki #4 Hot Hooks. It’s worth it to have both rigged up. You can fish with them both until you determine if the baitfish are hitting #4 or #6 that day. Typically, bigger baitfish will hit the bigger hook. Some fishermen will insist on using the best braided fishing line for a leader. You don’t need that for a Sabiki rig.
Buy a bead that cannot go through the top eyelet. The bead will keep you from reeling the hooks of your rig through the eyelets and breaking the tip of your rod. You can also avoid the dreaded task of getting the hooks fished through the eyes of your rod.
Now that you have the dedicated rod and reels for your Sabiki rig and the right hooks, let's get you rigged up. We are not going into the specifics of how to tie a fishing knot, but we are going to get you rigged up quickly:
1. First, you want to pre-rig your weights. You want enough weight to handle the current and to keep the line taut. Otherwise, the bait you catch will swim together and make a tangled mess.
a. Using a two-ounce barrel weight and two feet of 20-lb. monofilament, rig several weights for the bottom of your Sabiki rig.
b. To rig the weights, thread the 20-lb. mono through a weight and tie it in a loop the size of your fist with two overhand knots and cut the tag end.
c. You will use this loop to slide over the handle of your reel for easy storage and to easily slide in the snap swivel in a later step. It’s best to make several loops with weights and keep them in your cup holder. If you have to re-rig later, this step is already done.
2. Open the package from the top. It is important you open it by cutting the package along the top and not down the middle. We will tie on without pulling the hooks out of the package. It’s much less hassle than fighting hooks blowing all over and trying to tie a Uni-knot.
3. Once the package is open, you will notice a swivel on one side and a snap swivel on the other.
a. Thread the bead through the eight-pound monofilament from the main line of your rod.
b. You then want to tie your rod’s main line directly to the swivel with a Uni-knot. (This is not the swivel with the snap.) Tie the Uni-knot without pulling everything out of the package. Remember: a Uni-knot with an eight-pound test needs six turns.
4. Next, using the rigged weights you made in step one, put the loop through the snap swivel.
5. With the main line tied to the swivel with a Uni-knot and rigged weight loop in the snap swivel, pull the rig out of the package by the main line. The rig pulls out and as it unfolds, the hooks are free and weight is at the bottom. You are now ready to fish!
Fast, Quick and Easy
As you can see, this is a fast, quick and easy way to make a Sabiki rig. If you keep your rig rinsed of saltwater and stored in a spare room, it will last several trips without rusting. This is also a great way to fish for bait with rookies or youngsters. With them in the boat, you want to re-rig quickly and not fight hooks flying all over. With the added help, you can quickly catch the bait you need and spend more time catching bigger fish.