THE ELASTIC BAITFISH RELEASE RIG (40 lbs) by Jens Bursell – kit wit all materials and rig-bits


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The Elastic Baitfish Release Rig is designed for slow trolling with big live bait fish. This method gives without comparison the highest landing rate you can achieve with big live baits like this.

On the Elastic Baitfish Release Rig the hook link hangs 1-2 centimetres beneath the bait fish, and the rig is held by elastic rubber bands at the front and rear making for a fully reversible moving hook effect: When a pike attacks and holds the bait fish rock solid between its jaws – the hooks can freely move forward penetrate and secure a firm hook grip immediately. On big baits the rig is also supported by a little sliding bait spike in the middle and on very big baits by a bait spike and a small elastic band.

The best method for boat fishing is the following variant of this rig: At the front end the rig is looped to the mouth of the bait fish via a rubber band with a diameter of around 5 centimetres. The rubber band sits in a Mustad Easy Snap snap lock that is semi-fixed on the wire using a soft float stop at the top and a power gum stop knot at the bottom. The hook link itself which is made as a standard release rig, hangs loosely 1-2 centimetres below the bait fish, and at the end it is semi-fixed to the bait at the anal fin via a bait spike on a rubber band, on a snap lock, which is semi-fixed on the wire with for instance power gum stop knots. The rubber band has a diameter of 1-1,5 centimetres for instance a Loom band, which is perfect for this purpose. Loom Bands may be had in many colors which may be used to add a visible “strike point”. The rig is also attached sliding right behind the front hook using a bait spike, making sure that the hook link does not sink too far away from the bait in case the line goes slack. It is important that the bait spike is rigged sliding so that it in no way will be influencing the moving hook effect negatively.

On the Elastic Bait Fish Release-Rig the moving-hook effect is made by rubber bands. This has the advantage that the moving hook effect has no start up friction to be overcome as is the case when the moving hook effect is created from float stop friction. When you get a take, you will experience one of these two scenarios:

  • As the smaller and better penetrating hooks hang loosely exposed underneath the bait, the pike will often hook itself superficially the very instant you tighten the line. Often the bait spikes of the rig are torn out during the strike, so that the bait fish will be spit out of the mouth but stay attached to the front rubber band as opposed to a normal rig where the bait fish will mostly be lost completely or stay on the hooks where it gets squashed between the teeth of the pike during the fight. The rubber band acts as a buffer against the violent headshakes of the pike, often resulting in you bringing in an intact bait fish that may be used several times helping you to avoid running out of bait.
  • If the pike locks the bait between its jaws the hooks may still move forward during striking as the rig is attached with rubber bands that stretch while the hooks move forward unobstructed and hook the pike. Using a normal rig you would not stand a chance of hooking such a fish.

When I started using elastic release rigs I was afraid that I would have to change the bands often. Practical experience shows that this is not the case and they will last for quite a lot of fish.

It is important that the rear part of the rig is made of stiff 50 to 80 lb. single strand titanium, so that the rear free hanging hook will not sink away from the bait at low trolling speeds which will of course result in poorer hooking. If you are experiencing pike that strike at the tail or that the tail hook gets hung on the tail, you may adjust the rig until the rear hook is 2-3 centimetres behind the tail. Normally the position shown will be the best starting point.

Read all about the practical use of the the Elastic Baitfish Release Rig in my book Pike Fever. Use the Stonfo Disgorger to mount elastic band through gill lid of bait fish.

You save a lot of time – by buying all parts as a kit – instead of buying them individually.

NB – compared to photo crimps are shifted to crimps from Darts because SG Crimps are sold out and the seven strand wire is from Spro instead of Darts.


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