Ready-Made Rigs
Apart from rods, reels, lines and luggage, one of the most important items of tackle for any sea angler is rigs. Those in the know like to tie their own, and why not? However, for those of you that aren’t confident enough, or simply don’t have the time to tie a walletful of rigs, there are plenty of ready-tied rigs available. We’ve picked five of the best to show you what constitutes a good rig, and why. We decided to go with a popular winter choice, the Pennell rig, in both paternoster and pulley-rig versions. Check out this short list of what makes a good rig…

Useful Contacts
Town Moor Baits & Tackle, tel: 01302 738774
L & M Rigs, tel: 01248 722398
Gemini Tackle, tel: 01472 852966
Smartrig UK, tel: 01502 581238
Veals Mail Order, tel: 01275 892000

Criteria

Trace Body
Safety is paramount when it comes to fishing from the beach. Any form of fishing that involves casting immediately opens the doors of danger, and the main rig body is one of the most important factors – second only to knots. Most of the time you’ll be casting leads of around 150g, with a maximum of 210g.
That’s all well and good, but add a big cod bait to this and you could be talking in excess of 250g. It’s essential that the main rig body of any rig is made from at least 60lb mono, and where possible, 80lb mono to be doubly sure.

Knots
It’s no good using high-breaking-strain, good-quality mono if the knots used to connect it to vital components such as main swivels and lead links are not up to scratch. A poor knot can weaken the breaking strain of any mono by up to 50 per cent, so a poor knot tied on 60lb mono could effectively reduce it to just 30lb! If you work on the traditional casting formula of lead weight x 10 = minimum casting leader, a 150g lead (approx 51/4oz) requires at least a 52lb leader (and trace body) to be used. Although 60lb would be adequate, a poor knot reducing this to 45lb is detrimental! As a rule, any knot that doesn’t cut into itself is fine.

Hook Snood
When it comes to pulley rigs, the hook snood should be tied on the same breaking-strain line as the trace body. Because of the nature of the rig, the same amount of pressure is put on both the snood and body during the cast. So, using a 60lb body and 30lb snood is not acceptable. For clipped-down rigs this isn’t so important and lighter-breaking-strain snoods can be used.

Hooks
What’s the point of paying good money for a professionally tied rig if the hooks are blunt, or simply just aren’t up to the job? If you’re buying a ready-tied rig then make sure that the hooks used are a quality brand and the correct size for the species you’re expecting to catch. Blunt hooks will lose you fish!


 

 

 

 

 

Veals
Type: Clipped Pulley Pennell
Trace body: 60lb
Hook snood: 30lb
Hooks: 3/0 Varivas Big Mouth
Impact Shield: No
Rig length: 650mm
Snood length: 580mm
Price: £5.75 for three (£1.92 each)

These are a good example of how a pulley Pennell should be. The basic principles have been followed well and the rig will be very effective when it comes to use. With no doubt, the hooks are a sharp, strong and reliable pattern that takes some beating when it comes to wear and tear. This rig would be ideal for general rough-ground or rock fishing and would be best deployed for cod fishing because the large hooks can hold plenty of bait as well as fit in a massive mouth.


 

 

 

 

L & M
Type: Clipped Pennell
Trace body: 60lb
Hook snood: 30lb
Hooks: 3/0 and 1/0 L & M Stinger
Impact Shield: Yes
Rig length: 850mm
Snood length: 690mm
Price: £1.80

Barney says…7/10
This is a simple clipped-down rig designed for general and long-range beach fishing. The bait will be well protected by the Impact Shield during its flight and on entry into the sea. The hooks are of good quality and are of a strong enough pattern to cope with large fish in the surf. Nevertheless, check them periodically to ensure that they are sharp. For the sake of a few seconds honing, it is not worth losing positive penetration. The rig is well priced and reliable, which means that you can confidently use it and be assured that it won’t fall to bits.


 

 

 

Gemini Genie
Type: Clipped Pulley Pennell
Trace body: 60lb
Hook snood: 60lb
Hooks: 3/0 and 1/0 Mustad Viking
Impact Shield: No
Rig length: 650mm
Snood length: 495mm
Price: £2

 

 

 

Barney says…9/10
The dimensions of this rig are good and it will certainly get the job done very satisfactorily. The particular hooks tied on the snood are of good quality and should stay relatively sharp throughout use. The equal-strength trace-body and snood lines ensure that the rig has no potential weak points. Despite the fact that they are a few pence more than a lot of the other rigs, they are worth the extra money because Gemini has a proven track record with regard to quality and reliability.


 

 

 

 

Smartrig Uni Rig
Type: Clipped Pennell
Trace body: 60lb
Hook snood: 30lb
Hooks: 3/0 Sakuma Manta
Impact Shield: No
Rig length: 630mm
Snood length: 450mm
Price: £1.75

 

 

 

Barney says…9/10
These rigs are well priced and constructed perfectly. Quality hooks are used in its construction, which can stay sharp even after repeated use on several trips. A unique Smartrig XD component is used to secure the hook snood to the trace body, which in all honesty is a personal favourite of mine. It is probably the most aerodynamic rig of the bunch because of the small dimensions of the components used in the build, making it perfectly streamlined.

 

 


 

TMB Premium Rig
Type: Clipped Pennell
Trace body: 60lb
Hook snood: 30lb
Hooks: 3/0 Mustad Viking
Impact Shield: Yes
Rig length: 860mm
Snood length: 670mm
Price: £2.25

Barney says…10/10
These rigs are constructed using only top-quality components, hence the top price tag attached to them. The other factor influencing their price is that they are custom built to suit the particular user’s criteria. This particular rig is what you would get if you ordered the basic pattern and you can be assured that you will be getting a rig that will do the job that it is designed for. All the components are in the correct position and the bait release on impact is guaranteed.


 

 

 

 

 

Quality Components

This swivel is vitally important because it connects your rig to your shockleader. It must be a good-quality component and have a breaking strain of at least 100lb. This is the first weak point in the system and if it is a poor-quality item it could lead to disastrous consequences. Make sure that the main swivel on your rig is the best you can buy.

2 Snood Swivel
Not as important as the main trace-body swivel, the snood swivel is still a key part of any rig, especially a pulley rig. It must be good quality because it is the swivel that connects you to the fish. It doesn’t need to be as big as the main trace swivel but it should be at least 75lb breaking strain and it should rotate under pressure.

3 Tubing
Rig tubing is often used when making Pennell rigs. The top or ‘flying’ hook is often secured in place with heat shrink tubing. You can get away without using this tubing and wrapping the snood around the hook shank three or four times. However, as you will notice, the five rigs featured here all use tubing!

4 Impact Shield
Not all rigs need an Impact Shield. Basically, this invention from Breakaway Tackle is designed to act as a protective bait shield as well as a bait clip. Once you clip your baited hook/s into it, the Shield protects the bait during the cast, all the way to the surface of the sea. Once the lead hits the sea’s surface and drags the rest of the rig towards the sea bed, the Impact Shield is forced up the line by the water pressure and the hook/s are released.

5 Lead Link
This needs to be strong enough to withstand the full force of a powerful cast. It’s the link that connects your lead to the rig and, as a result, is one of the most important items in the rig’s construction. There are many types available but two of the best are the Gemini Genie and the Breakaway Fastlink. It goes without saying that this component must be tied to the rig with a good knot!

6 Hooks
Pennell rigs are used when big baits are the order of the day, and this often means that you’ll be targeting big fish. As a result, the hooks used must be strong, with super-sharp points and they must be a reliable brand. Some of the best hooks to look for include Sakuma, Mustad, Owner, Kamasan and Gamakatsu.

Total Sea Fishing


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