Bait Fishing: How to put bait on a ledger / dropper rig

  • Learn Fishing
  • Bait Fishing: How to put bait on a ledger / dropper rig

Share Article

Think bite sized baits

How do you put bait on a ledger rig? The two hook ledger rig works best with smaller baits. Think bite size.

In fishing, looks are important – for bait that is. Present your bait in a way that is tasty to fish and you’ll notice a real difference in your fishing results – lots of bites and hook-ups.

Keep your bait streamlined and it won’t spin and tangle around the trace line. This happens when you drop the bait down or if it isn’t set up right, when they’re sitting in the water. A tangled line means that the bait won’t float in the water and look natural to the fish, which makes them wary of the bait and less likely to bite. Fish are actually pretty smart, especially the big ones, and they are easily suspicious.

 

Three ways to bait a two hook ledger rig:

When fishing with bait it's a good idea to have a couple of different bait options with you in case the fish are favouring a specific bait on the day (and it can change day to day!). Here are some popular baits and easy ways to put them on your hook in a way that looks tasty to the fish. 

Below we'll show you how to put the following bait on a ledger rig:

  • Pilchard
  • Squid
  • Skipjack tuna (Bonito)

Squid bait on ledger rig

Squid bait

Pilchard bait

Pilchard bait

Bonito/Skipjack bait

Bonito/Skipjack bait

Ridgeline - FishingAdvisor.co.nz

Bait up pilchard

Remember that some days bait presentation can make a huge difference to your dinner plate at the end of the day.  Here's a few nice streamlined ways to present pilchard bait on a ledger rig.

 

STEP 1:

Cut the pilchard in half on an angle, so there are pieces of the juicy gut in both sections of bait. If you’re using a big pilchard you can get three pieces of bait. Bigger baits tends to spin around the trace line, so watch the size of the sections.

Cut pilchard in half on angle

Cut pilchard in half on angle

STEP 2:

Simply pass the tip of hook through the tail section of the bait about a third of the way from the end. Don't thread the hook it all the way through the bait, simply pass the barb of the hook through and let the bait hang on the bottom curve of the hook. 

Pilchard tail

Pilchard tail

STEP 3:

If you’re using the middle piece of bait for the second hook, roll the hook around the solid piece of backbone. This will help it hold on the hook a bit better.

If you’ve cut the pilchard in half and are using the head section simply pass the end of the hook through the eye of the fish.  It'll hang quite nicely like that.

Pilchard middle piece

Pilchard middle piece

FishingAdvisor.co.nz - Daiwa fishing New Zealand

Squid baits

Squid heads make for great bait. The tentacles wave around in the water current and is very enticing to fish.

 

STEP 1:

 

Cut the bait on an angle leaving a little bit of mantle or simply rip the head off the squid bait.

Remember don’t make the bait too big.

 

Cut just above the head (where the tentacles are)

Cut just above the head (where the tentacles are)

STEP 2:

With the cut bait, take the top hook through the piece of mantle and out through the squid head between the eyes. If you’re just using the head, take the hook through between the eyes once. 

Try to pin a bit of tentacle as you bring the hook through. It’s a tougher piece and will help the bait stay on your hook.

Squid head

Squid head

STEP 3:

Trim the left-over piece of squid mantle to about 6-8cm, cut it on an angle.

 

STEP 4:

Pin this piece through the thick end for more streamlined bait with the hook. Pass the hook through once. To stop the sides flapping you can fold the mantle in half and pin it through both pieces.

 

Mantle bait

Mantle bait

Skip Jack Tuna (Bonito) baits

Some days the taste of bonito sets the fish off like you wouldn't believe.  A couple of choice chunks is all you need.

STEP 1:

Cut into small triangular pieces approx 6-8cm. At this size, they’re perfect for a fish to gobble in one go.

 

STEP 2:

Take the hook through the fat end of the bait just once, starting on the flesh side and coming out the skin side.

Hook thru flesh side then out skin side

Hook thru flesh side then out skin side

STEP 3:

Repeat step two for the other hook.

 

Skipjack (bonito) bait

Skipjack (bonito) bait

 

When first hitting a fishing spot with your ledger rig 

try different bait on each hook. That way if the fish 

are favouring particular bait on that day you can 

suss it out quickly and find what's working.

 

Sinker (Teardrop style)

The amount of weight you use depends on the weather and water conditions. Unlike strayline fishing the aim is to get the baits down under the boat quick smart, so it’s better to have more weight than less weight. 

Teardrop Sinkers

Teardrop Sinkers

These baits and setups can be used to fish from a wharf, or on a drifting or anchored boat.

Good luck with putting bait on your ledger rig and hooking into more fish!

 

Next articles

Next up, where to find the fish and how to catch them! 

Check out these pages for more information on bait fishing:

 

OTHER RELEVANT ARTICLES

Strayline fishing with bait, squid