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October 26, 2001

Secrets of the Strip

The how-to of building a stiff rig with bonito strips.

Greg Rigg, formerly of Bluewater Trolling Baits, recommends using a wire "stiff rig" with bonito strips: Thread wire through hook eye, make two wraps around the shank and send wire out the other side of the eye. Make sure the wire enters and leaves the hook eye on the "solid" side, not the side with a small gap between eye and shank (otherwise the wire could pull up inside the eye). Make a haywire twist, leaving enough tag to form a safety-pin-shaped clip to hold the strip.
Lay hook and leader on the strip to gauge position, allowing no more than 1/4 inch of the strip's leading edge to extend past the wire clip. Poke a hole in the strip for the hook bend and run the hook point in the skin side and out the flesh side. Slide the strip up the hook bend slightly and clip in place with wire. The clip should pass through the strip about 1/4 inch from the end, providing enough skin to hold the strip but not so much excess that it folds over while trolling.
Pull the strip gently back down on the hook. The strip should lie flat along the shank. Troll the strip as is or enhance it with a Hawaiian Eye or C&H Kingbuster.