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October 26, 2001

Hooking Saltwater "Rubber Baits"

Improvise a grub-holder that will keep artificial bats from sliding off a starndard saltwater hook.

Soft plastic baits, once used almost exclusively by freshwater anglers, have now gained widespread acceptance by the saltwater fishing community. Shad bodies, grubs and worms produce fluke, weakfish, bass, tuna, dolphin and more. I'm constantly finding new ways to use them.
"Rubber baits," as I call them, can sometimes be difficult to present, however. Whether fished on a plain hook or as a dressing for a lead-head jig, the problem of how to keep them from sliding down the shank on the retrieve, or while trolling, is troubling. A very few of the best tackle shops stock custom-made lead-heads with saltwater-size "grub-holder" hooks - the kind with a barb projecting from the shank to secure the plastic bait. However, most grub-holder hooks are sized more for bigmouth than bluefin and are neither corrosion-resistant nor forged.
These limitations led me to develop the following rig: At the tackle shop, select the appropriate lead-head or hook for your intended saltwater quarry and purchase the smallest split ring that will fit through its eye. At the hardware store, get the smallest screw eye you can find and add it to the split ring in the hook eye. Slide your soft-body bait onto the hook as directed and impale it with the threaded shank of the screw eye. As long as the shank is long enough to get a good purchase on the rubber bait, you're in business.

- Kevin Falvey
East Quogue, New York

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