How to make your own shark rigs - a step by step guide.
One of the most important parts of your shark gear is the rig. This is a quick guide on how I make my rigs predominantly for blue shark fishing. Blue sharks are perhaps the most common of the sharks that are targeted. The basic rig construction can also be used for porbeagle fishing too. There are a few other tricks and tips that you can incorporate into your rigs which are helpful for solo sharking, but I have fished solo with this style of rig.
- 49 Strand wire. This is 7x7 strands wound together. It gives good flexibility and strength. I tend to use 1.5mm wire. You can go lighter but where I fish in the Celtic Deeps you never know what lurking and if I were to encounter a Mako I wouldn’t want it to get away!
- Double barrel crimps
- Good quality hooks: I use a 10/0 circle hook. You don’t need to be using 16/0 hooks more suited for hunting great white sharks. You need to match the hook to the bait. This size works well when lip hooking mackerel or squid for sharks. Its plenty strong enough to land nearly anything in the British Isles.
- Swivels: You can use ball bearing swivels or crane swivels. Personally, I use crane swivels and I have not had any issues.
- Correct tools: you will need a good quality pair of cutters. You want a nice clean cut of the wire to make it easier to thread through your crimps. In addition, you need a crimp tool designed for double barrel crimps.
There are plenty of tackle suppliers out there - it’s your choice. However, don’t scrimp on cheap hooks, you will get found out in the latter stages of the fight when you are trying to leader your fish!
I follow the KISS principle with my shark fishing. Keep It Simple Stupid! The more components that are added to the system the more points of failure. Here's my step by step guide to making shark rigs. There are other ways you can do it but this works for me. My main motto is keep it simple. The more links, joins, snaps etc the more points to fail....
Step 1: choose a good hook. Perhaps the most important part.... you’re not catching a whale so leave the harpoons at home. This is 10/0 circle hook.
Step 2: Flemish loop part 1 - thread the line through the eye of the hook again, to form two passes, as shown in the picture below:
Step 3: Flemish Loop part 2 - feed the end of the wire back through the loop that you have formed twice, looping it back on itself so that it looks like the picture below:
Step 4: Crimping Flemish loop: Next we need to add two double barrel crimps to stop the wire from moving. The idea of using a Flemish loop is that if your crimps slip, the wire will pull into a know and the hook cannot come off. I use two crimps for safety, you can use one but two gives added strength. Your hook should now look like the below:
Step 5: Once you have trimmed the wire back to leave a small tag we complete the process again, this time we connect a swivel. The distance between the hook and the swivel needs to be about 4ft long. Its not an exact science only a guideline. Again, we’re using the double crimped Flemish loop.
Step 6: Rubbing leader. Blue sharks have a tendency to roll up your trace in a fight. They also have rough skin so unless you have a wire or thick mono rubbing leader you are likely to lose most fish that you hook. We repeat the Flemish loop and crimping process to the other end of the swivel. Finished product should look like the below:
Step 7: Weight attachment. You can skip this step if you wish however, I recommend that you don’t. I like to add weight to my trace to keep the bait down to the desired depth. I like to be able to vary the weight that I add to the rig depending on, how fast I am drifting, the depth I am fishing at, size of bait. If I am fishing deep on a fast drift I will want maybe 8oz of lead. If I am free lining a mackerel off the back of the boat with little/no drift I won’t want any lead at all. The lead attachment is a simple American snap swivel along the same principles as a running ledger. As this swivel is not taking much weight you can use whatever weight link you have.
Step 8: Top trace swivel. Using the same method as before with the Flemish loop add a swivel to about 15ft of wire. That then is your rubbing leader complete!
There are a few ways to attach this to your mainline. I prefer to attach the rig directly to my mainline using a double turn Palomar knot or using a Aussie Twist swivel. Its personal preference but I don’t use snap links. If you apply enough pressure these can pop open. I have had this happen to me once, fortunately the line was kept tight so that the fish could not get away. Its your choice but with the Aussie Twist you won’t suffer this problem.
Add a mackerel, suspend at desired depth under a float, sit back and enjoy the smell of your chum sack over the side and wait for your reel to scream 🙂