Rigging an Aussie Swim Bait

Rig up a queenfish for irresistible swimming action.
Scott Kerrigan
A properly rigged Aussie swim bait will prove irresistible to billfish. A queenie's flat profile and tough skin make it the gold standard for this rig. To start, you'll need a couple of ounces of lead tied securely to the end of a piece of heavy Dacron.  © Scott Kerrigan/AquaPaparazzi.com.
Tie a loop in the Dacron and place the knot so it rests against the roof of the bait's mouth leaving two inches of loop outside the bait.
With a stout pair of pliers, push a rigging needle up through and out of the bait's skull, leaving the needle's loop in the open mouth.  Take care to exit dead center out of the bait's nose.
Stuff the lead down the bait's throat and hook the Dacron loop over the end of the needle. Pull hard on the needle to draw the line out through the nose. Pull firmly on the loop to cinch the weights flush against the top of the bait's mouth.
Make sure to seal up any holes in the bait so it will swim properly.  Take some heavy waxed thread and anchor it with a pass around the bait's neck and backbone. A sturdy knot at the bait's neck will give you a solid starting point to work your way up the bait. Give yourself nice long tag ends to work with.
Punch through both gill plates with your rigging needle, and depending on the size of your bait, give the heavy floss multiple passes while working forward towards the bait's nose. A few football stitches with another sturdy knot will close the gill plates and streamline the bait's head to reduce resistance in the water.
More needle work is now required to close the queenie's mouth.  Symmetry is key when working with the bait's face. You want the bait to pull straight and not spin. Take this opportunity to clean up any damage to the bait's head caused by earlier hooking and catching.
Multiple passes on both the left and right side of the bait's face will help to balance the compression when you pull hard and cinch the floss closed. You want to finish the rigged bait off with a neat knot placed squarely on the top of the bait's head. Trim the tag ends close. These steps ensure that the bait will swim naturally without spinning.
Attach a hefty circle hook by passing a Dacron loop over the hook. Make a twist or two and insert the hook's point back through the loop. Pinch the loop together and slide it down the hook against a waxed floss "stopper" tied on the hook shank.
Before you set the finished bait out, perform a quick visual check of all the details that can make it either swim or spin, including knots, bumps, lumps or kinks


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