How To Rig a Ribbonfish

Ribbonfish make an ideal slow-trolled bait for smoker kings.
Steve Kantner
Ribbonfish offer lots of flash and make an ideal bait for large "smoker" king mackerel. As a bait, ribbonfish excel when trolled just above idle speed -- while bumping the engine in and out of gear -- behind a 2- or 3-ounce jig head. Note: While this rig is legal in SKA (Southern Kingfish Association) competition, it is not IGFA compliant for those chasing records.
Components of the finished rig include a fresh dead ribbonfish (preferably 20-24 inches), 2 to 3-ounce pink jig head, heavy-duty black swivel, floss or wax line, two VMC 4X-strong treble hooks, and a six-foot length of uncoated Surflon cable (60-pound test minimum).
For the rig to retain maximum holding power, all three hooks are joined to the same piece of uncut cable with a series of figure-eight knots. To tie the first knot, pass approximately 4 inches of cable through the eye of the rear treble, forming a loop.
Hold the first loop closed with your finger and bring the tag end of the cable around and back through the first loop.
Pull on both ends simultaneously to tighten the knot. Repeat the figure-eight process with the forward stinger treble (usually one size larger than the rear treble) and the jig head. Be sure to space the the trebles and jig head out to match the size of the ribbonfish. Attach the swivel to the end of the leader.
Hook the ribbonfish through the chin with the jig head from bottom to top. Sink both trebles along the side just under the skin, leaving a bit of slack to allow the bait to swim naturally.
Secure the bait's mouth shut by wrapping its head with floss or waxed line. The wraps should go over the cable just behind the bend of the jig hook. Tie off the floss with a double overhand knot, and trim the excess.

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