Sabiki rigs are commonly used for catching baitfish these days, but not that long ago, everyone used bait rigs made with golden hooks. If you are willing to make your own gold hook rig, you will catch bait just as well if you were using a pre-made sabiki setup. Cigar minnows stay in large schools and several fishermen can fill up the livewell quickly with the golden hook rigs.Cigar minnows make a great bait. Fish like them. It does not matter if they are live or dead. Use cigar minnows for everything from grouper digging to catching kingfish on the surface.
Start with a long section of 10 to 12 pound test monofilament. Using dropper line knots, tie 5 or 6 drops that are 5 to 6 inches long. Start with size 10 gold hooks, tying a hook at each dropper line.
Attach the baitfish rig to the line on your rod, using either a swivel or tying straight to the line. At the opposite end of the rig, attach a large sinker. The sinker weight will vary according to the depth and sea conditions where you are fishing. Start with a 1-ounce sinker and go from there.
Once you are over the cigar minnow habitat, lower the rig to the bottom. The rod can be lightly jigged, but often the bait will bite the second they see the hooks.
When you feel fish on the line, reel up and remove your bait. Be careful when removing the cigar minnow as it is easy to get impaled by the other hooks. Move to another location if you find there are no cigar minnows present.
Cigar minnows can range from 6 inches up to a foot in length. Experiment with hook sizes and the number or length of the droppers till you find what works best for you.
- Use caution when working with hooks.
- Use a medium weight rod and reel. The object is reel the bait in with no fight from the cigar minnows.
- Practice the dropper knots so you can get the dropper length that is desired without error.
- All Images by Daniel Ray