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October 26, 2001

No-Spin King Stinger

A reader suggests some minor alterations to a previously published kingfish rig.

The kingfish stinger rigs described in the February issue ("Fit for a King") work great for hookups, but have several drawbacks. First, having even one treble hook makes for a very difficult release, and with a two-fish limit, the fun is over way too fast. The second problem I've had with these rigs is that they can spin terribly - even with the best ball-bearing swivels. Here's a rig I use for kings that gives a great hookup ratio but still facilitates an easy release and doesn't spin the line.
My bait of choice is a large sardine or cigar minnow. Start by attaching a 7/0 long-shank hook to a #4 stainless-steel wire leader using a haywire twist, leaving a bait spike with copper rigging wire. Attach a second 7/0 long-shank hook to the eye of the first using a length of #4 wire long enough to place the second hook just ahead of the narrowest part of your bait's tail. Make sure the second hook faces 180 degrees opposite of the first hook.
To rig the bait, bring the first hook in under the gill plate and out the belly. Adjust the rig so that the spike goes through the head, then run the copper wire through the eyes two times, around the head three or four times and finish it off around the spike. Place the second hook up into the bait's body near the tail. Slide a C7H Kingbuster or other skirt down the leader to the bait's nose and haywire a loop on the opposite end of the leader. A 1/2-ounce egg sinker also can be placed between the bait and skirt when conditions get rough. This bait works well either trolled at the surface or pulled deep behind a downrigger or planer.
Don't bother attaching a swivel to the rig. Instead, use a ball-bearing swivel on your main line. This makes changing out leaders faster and saves you the hassle of retrieving expensive swivels from mauled rigs.

Craig Lindberg
Bellaire, Texas