How To Rig A Swimming Scad

This swimming scad is a mainstay in the spread when targeting big black marlin in Australia.
Garrett Penley
Crews fishing for giant black marlin on Australia's Great Barrier Reef pull a range of baits. Mackerel, tunas and even wahoo will appear in the spread, but perhaps the most utilized bait of all is the scad. Garrett Penley, mate on the Tradition showed us how he rigs his swimming scad to fish on a circle hook. Photos by Charlie Levine
The first thing the mates on Tradition do after catching scad is prepare it for rigging by removing the innards, gills and eyeballs. They then salt and freeze the bait. When it's ready for rigging, Garrett begins by closing the mouth with some light monofilament.
The boys on Tradition use diamond-shaped swim weights. The crew uses 1- to 3-ounce weights depending on the size of the bait and the sea conditions.
Garrett runs a piece of rigging floss through the swim weight and ties an overhand knot on one end to create two lines of floss.
The weight is placed in the throat cavity of the scad, where the gill rakers were. The floss is fed out either side of the throat.
Garrett uses a rigging needle to run the floss through each gill plate.
These pieces of floss will be used to close the gills tightly, which secures the swim weight in place.
Tie a double overhand knot and cinch the gills tightly closed.
Next, Garrett uses monofilament to sew the stomach cavity closed. Start at the tail end and work your way toward the head.
Use the same exit and entry points to create a series of cross-stitches. Tighten up the mono and tie a couple of overhand knots to tightly close the stomach cavity. The crew uses mono as it has less friction and less chance of fouling up against a marlins mouth and bill than floss.
Next, Garrett uses a rigging needle to run a piece of Dacron through both gill plates. This will be used to close the gills so the bait does not wash out or spin.
He makes a couple of passes through the eyeball cavity before securing the gills tightly closed with a double overhand knot, leaving about 10 inches of tag line on each side, which will be used to make a loop on the top of the bait for the pulling point.
You want to make sure the pulling point for the rigged bait is located dead-center on the top of the scad's head, or it won't swim properly. Garrett uses the bait needle to measure out the exact center point and scratches the top of the bait to create a mark.
He runs the rigging needle through the top of the bait's head, exiting in the spot he had marked.
The two tag lines of Dacron from closing the gills are run through the whole in the top of the bait's head and tied together to make a loop. Garrett then uses some rigging floss around the bait's head to secure the loop in place.
The floss reinforces the loop's position and also helps to keep the bait streamline.
Run your circle hook through the loop in the top of the scad and drop the bait over the side. When done correctly, the bait will swim like it's alive. Visit to book your trip to catch black marlin on the Great Barrier Reef.

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