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October 26, 2001

The Double-Squid Rig

Nothing's more frustrating that watching a squid bait fall off the hook after only a few minutes of trolling -- let alone seeing a game fish nibble it off. This easy rig will greatly improve your bait's longevity.

From broadbills and tuna to sharks and amberjack, few game fish can resist a big, juicy squid. The double-squid rig lets you present a plump bait that's rigged to be tough and durable enough to withstand hours of skipping on the surface or towing on a downrigger.
The keys to tying the rig are a specially prepared leader and three simple lashings. The method is more complicated than merely impaling the squid on a hook, but your extra effort buys you a bait that is difficult for a striking fish to steal.
The prepared leader is a length of cable with a sleeve crimped about 4 inches from the eye of the hook. Position the sleeve according to the length of the squids you're rigging and use the illustrations as a guide.
For the lashings, waxed rigging thread is shown, but any strong twine will do. Cut your pieces about a foot long. You'll trim off most of this as waste later, but the extra length makes the lashings easier to work with. Secure one lashing above the crimp, a second near the hook loop and a third around the shank of the hook.
Figure 1: For each squid, use an open-eye bait needle to draw the ends of the lashings through the squids at the positions shown. One should be near the point of the squid, a second near the opening of the mantle and a third through the head.
Figure 2: Tie the lashings together with simple square knots.
Figure 3: Turn the squids over and finish tying off the lashings on the other side of the bait. The lashings should be pulled snug to hold the baits securely at the three tying points. Tie the middle lashing first, and you'll have less trouble tying the others afterward.
Figure 4: Trim off the ends of the lashings, and your double-squid rig is ready to fish. The bottom rig in the picture shows that it can be used with smaller squids even though the crimped tying point may be an inch or so up the leader from the pointed end of the bait. After tying the middle lashing first to hold the squid in position, you can finish off the forward ends easily.
The position of the hook at the tail end of the bait allows you to fish it directly off the rod tip to hook striking fish with no drop-back. However, our best success comes by drifting or towing the squids from a clip in an outrigger with a short drop-back loop. We seem to get more hookups when the fish has time to take the bait fully in its mouth and turn away from the boat.
For night fishing, we attach a light-stick to the leader near the squid to attract broadbill and tuna. If you prefer a weighted bait, you can thread several small egg sinkers onto your cable between the crimped sleeves when you're making up the leader. These will be hidden between the squids when the rig is finished. Adding three half-ounce egg sinkers will pull a drifted bait down a fathom or two and put it in the strike zone for many types of game fish that might not see a surface bait.

Jim Rizzuto
Kamuela, Hawaii