How to Build the New Bait Bridle Rig

How to take a fresh approach to the age-old bait bridle.
Glen Booth
Clued-in anglers, skippers and crew are always coming up with new approaches to old techniques. Capt. Billy Billson's game-fishing workshops have been incstructing anglers in Australia for more than 15 years. At a recent seminar on Queensland's Gold Coast, I saw a couple of new approaches to bridle small live baits that have applications the world over.
For these rigs you'll need a live bait, some 25- to 40-pound monofilament (or fluorocarbon), a bridle needle, #12 to #16 rubber bands depending on the bait size, Lumo beads, a circle hook and a ball sinker.
When bridling a small bait like this slimy (green) mackerel, pressing it down into a sponge will make the process easier.
QUICK TIP: If you're forever losing expensive bridle needles over the side or into cockpit drains, make up a bunch of your own bait needles using heavy single-strand wire, forming an eyelet with a pair of rigging pliers.
Tie a Uni-Knot to each end of a length of 25- to 40-pound mono to make a short bridle. Don't put too many turns in the knots though, two to three is fine as we want it to be easy to slide on and off to change baits. The use of fluorocarbon helps immeasurably in this regard.
Slide the first loop onto the bend of the hook and pull tight.
Put the bridle needle on the second loop and go through the fish's eye sockets. Loop the bridle onto the hook, pull the Uni Knot tight, and the stealth rig is complete. To save even more time, you can pre-bridle a number of baits. Thick rubber bands and Dacron bridles can be a bit obvious, so going stealth with every element of the rig helps to get a bite.
As an alternative you can use a glow bead on a #12 to #16 rubber band as an attractant and to lock the band in place on the hook. If the band has trouble fitting down the hole in the glow bead, use a piece of 12-pound mono to pull it through.
It's easy enough to rig up a dozen of these rigs beforehand in a variety of sizes, so no time is wasted when a bait or rig needs to be replaced. Bring the band through the bait's eye sockets.
Feed the loop with the bead on it through the other loop and then onto the hook.
Slide the glow bead up to lock the band in place on the hook and you're ready to get that bait out there.
Most leaders are finished off with a crimped loop or brass ring, but a perfection loop on the end means that ball sinkers of varying sizes can be added to the rig if it becomes necessary to drop a bait down deep to get a bite. This also makes it easy to change sinker weights if needed.

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