BOOTHY'S BAG 430 - Yellowtail Pin Rig

Billfish chasers right along the Qld coast, and perhaps into NSW later, should be in for a good spring. GLEN BOOTH explains and shows how to make a Pin Rig

BOOTHY'S BAG 430 - Yellowtail Pin Rig
BOOTHY’S BAG 430 — Yellowtail Pin Rig

All the early indicators suggest that central and north Queensland might just get a decent inshore light tackle black marlin (and sailfish) season this spring. If the fishing gods are paying attention, this may also trickle
down to NSW after Christmas. Multiple shots are the order of the day when the mini-marlin are on, with the fish ranging from 10 to 75 kilos in weight.

Skipping gar and swimming mullet are the standard troll bait setup on most northern boats, while southern QLD operators concentrate heavily on live baiting. Your typical inshore billie’s diet mostly consists of pilchards, slimy mackerel, and small yellowtail or yakkas. Pilchards are difficult to troll successfully, but with the Pin Rig, yellowtail can be reverse-engineered to swim almost as well as the real thing.

It’s also a good ploy on any fishing day to have a wide selection of baits on hand for when times are tough, and yellowtail are like money in the bank.

If there are plenty of yakkas on tap, it doesn’t hurt to put away a stash of the best-size bait for when it proves elusive. Gill, gut and Cryovac them, and they’ll come out of the freezer looking as good as they went in, even months later.

While ostensibly a small billfish rig, the Pin Rig can be beefed-up for use on heavy tackle and in other fisheries that like snacking on yellowtail — think kingfish and of course yellowfin tuna.

The Pin Rig is simple to do and can be assembled in advance. Yellowtail do vary in size, so make up a couple of different hook and weight combinations. They are also re-useable, which saves time during hot bites.

Even newcomers to bait rigging can master this rig pretty quickly. The sense of accomplishment when they see their handiwork swimming busily behind the boat is palpable. A marlin hook-up on their homemade bait makes the achievement even sweeter!

The Pin Rig can also be successfully adapted for use on northern scad (heavy tackle), garfish and sauries.

* Glen Booth has been game fishing for more than 33 years and this obsession with big, fast fish and cobalt blue water has taken him all over Australia and the Pacific as a writer, photographer, angler and deckhand.
He is co-author of The Complete Guide To Game Fishing and is an International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) representative for the northern NSW region.

Top photo: New columnist and avid fisho Glen Booth with a prime snapper. Not caught on a pin rig but it’s a great photo!

1. The main ingredients are: 37 to 70kg nylon, depending on the fish size and the fishery; three crimps to match the nylon; two pieces of #022 single-strand wire, bent at 90 degrees; a ball sinker with an enlarged hole at one end; a fine gauge, long shank hook; Gamakatsu SL12S hooks are excellent for light tackle; small rubber band; dental floss; crimping tool; and, vegetable knife.

2. Carefully gut and gill the bait, without tearing the stomach walls or breaking the throat latch. It’s fiddly work, especially on small baits, but it needs to be precise. Remove the eyes to keep the bait streamlined. If you leave them in and one blows out, the bait will spin.

3. Enlarge the line hole at one end of the sinker with a sharp knife. Tie an overhand knot in one end of the nylon. Run the ball sinker down it so the knot sits snug inside the enlarged hole. We don’t want the sinker to wobble around when being trolled, as it will throw the bait off track. Put a crimp on the nylon, then take it through the hook eye on the point side and back through the crimp. Crimp it shut, tight to the hook eye. Run the second crimp down the leader. Take the two short pieces of mono wire, slide them into the front of the crimp (there will be plenty of room), and crimp in position so that they are pointing up and down. Try to get this crimp as close to the sinker as possible.

4. Flex the bait without breaking the backbone and then slide the hook in through the gill plate and out through the belly slit.

5. Gently ease the wire pin up through the fish’s nose, ensuring it comes out dead centre so it tows straight.

6. Hook the rubber band around the top pin and keep wrapping it around the nose until it’s tight. Finish the band off around the most adjacent pin and trim the wire. Take a length of dental floss, go twice through the eye sockets and then tie it off underneath to pull the gills in tight behind the sinker. Crimp a loop at the other end of the leader and the rig is complete.

From Trade-a-Boat Issue 430, Aug-Sept 2012. Story: Glen Booth.


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