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October 26, 2001

Plant That Hook

Modified plastic vials will tame the trailing hook of a tandem rig.

Trollers who rig lures with tandem hooks use many devices to restrict the movement of the trailing hook - tape, shrink tubing, rubber bands, sections of surgical tubing, string and other add-ons.
We've had a lot of luck making a retainer from an inexpensive device we get from flower shops. Florists use small plastic vials in floral decorations to help flowers stay fresh by keeping their stems immersed in water. The vials come in several sizes and sell for 10 to 15 cents each. We use the smaller vials, 3 inches long by 5/8 inch in diameter, for rigs with hooks in the 7/0 to 9/0 range and the larger vials, 3 1/2 inches by 7/8 inch, for rigs with 10/0 to 12/0 hooks.
All you need to do is drill a hole in the end of the vial. The size and shape of the hole will depend on how you want to use the vial. We like to have the vial slide down over the leader sleeve and rest against the eye of the hook. To accomplish this, we make an oblong hole with a 1/8-inch drill bit. First, create a pilot hole with the point of a knife. Drill the hole, widening it into a slot by pressing the drill bit against the sides of hole until it is shaped the way you want it. Test the size of the hole by sliding it down over a leader rigged with tandem hooks to make sure that the crimped sleeve will pass through the opening. (To add some extra flash to our lures, we sometimes wrap the vial with stick-on reflective tape.)
That's all - much quicker than taping, shrink tubing, rubber banding, whip finishing or any of the other things you might do.
What's more, the vial gives you one other nice advantage: Because you can slide the vial out of the way, you can inspect the condition of the hooks and tandem cable for corrosion. Shrink tubing and taping prevent you from examining your rigs to discover such problems. All that for 10 cents and a few seconds of work!
Jim Rizzuto, Kamuela, Hawaii