APA019: Securing a Dead Bait to Two Trebles

Thank you to Alan Hobson who asked a question about hooking dead baits to two trebles.

I always have problems securing a dead bait to a 2 treble hooks on a rig. I always find that the trebles come loose due to the fish body breaking up even if the dead bait is still semi frozen, and eventually the bait doubles up into a U shape. The only way of preventing this seems to be using some elastic dissolving string to hold the dead bait on, but even this does not always work. What is your advice to maintain a presentable bait for the Pike to see as realistic bait for them to take! Alan

Most Dead Baits

First I will cover the set up for most of the baits that I use. This will cover mackerel, herring, smelt, trout, bluey, roach and other coarse baits. Each treble will have two barbless and one barbed point. These baits are firm enough to stay on the hooks with the top hook in the tail root and the bottom hook in the flank. The barbed point is used to hook the bait and the two barbless points stand proud, ready to hook the pike.

The key to stopping a bait bending is to place the top treble firmly through the backbone in the tail root so that it takes all of the weight of the bait on the cast. The bottom treble is positioned along the flank with a bend in the trace wire. Make sure the trace wire is not pulled tight between the two hooks. If the hooks on the trace are five inches apart then place them on the bait at four inches.

If the bait is bending then the hooks are too far apart and the trace wire is pulled tight. Either the bait will bend or the bottom hook will tear the flesh.

Herring rig

Sardine Dead Baits

Sardines are so soft they can fall off the hooks unless they are frozen. Even a frozen bait will not withstand a firm cast on a standard set up. Once they have thawed out they are totally impossible to cast out. They are such a good bait though, nice and oily and a great size, that you have to find a way of fishing them.

I switch the hooks round so the top treble, the one taking the weight, is hooked into the top of the sardine’s head. The bottom treble is placed along the flank or into the vent.

Sardine rig

Lamprey and Eel Dead Baits

I don’t use eels anymore but I do use lamprey. They both have very tough skin. They should be hooked lightly with the barbed point passing into and out of the bait so they are attached by a thin piece of tough skin. The bait usually stays on the hooks when you play a pike. This is good on the pocket because the baits can be reused. Lamprey have so much blood they can be used for quite a few hours.

A tip that I learned from former PAC President Mark Green is to cut the last inch or two of the tail off a whole lamprey to let the blood ooze out.

Thanks for the question Alan, I hope this helps you. Tight Lines.

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One Reply to “APA019: Securing a Dead Bait to Two Trebles”

  1. Luke William Claydon


    I’ve got some large whole mackerel to use on my local stretch of river, all about 12 inches. I’m going to cut them in halves. I’m not sure what the correct way is to hook the head sections?

    Many thanks


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