Start digging into the world of rigs, baitfish, and various freshwater or saltwater setups, and you will discover it’s a massive place, full of as many ideas and innovations as it is rigs, hooks, lines, and weights.
A Sabiki Rig is one such rig among a thousand others, and it’s designed for catching baitfish. The baitfish, in turn, will become a part of another rig, and on and on it goes Sabiki Rigs are highly popular rigs in South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina, but they also remain one of the most popular baitfish rigs in the world.
What is a Sabiki Rig
A Sabiki Rig is a small section of the line, with a weight on the bottom and a series of 6 to 10 hooks along a 6” to 12” section. Each hook along this length has a shiny, flat piece of metal attached to it.
As a Sabiki Rig drops in the water, the flashing on each hook drives baitfish crazy, and they love it. In many cases, you’ll get a bite on every hook, and even if you lose one or two on the way back up, you’ll still have numerous baitfish.
The original Sabiki Rig was developed in Asia and was originally marketed by Hayato Tajiri in 1974. However, he developed the idea in the 60s by watching a similar rig effectively catch baitfish using a rig designed by the Hayabusa Fishing Hooks Company.
It wasn’t until the 1980s that the Sabiki Rig made headway into the United States, where it soon took on the new moniker, Flasher Rig.
When and How to use a Sabiki
It’s not enough to grab your first Sabiki Rig from the bait store if the only thing it ever does is sit in your tackle box. You need to find the baitfish, set up your rig, and start bringing them in.
Choosing your spot
Picking your spot is crucial and using a fishfinder that is accurate and sharp enough to spot baitfish is always a big help. Underwater structures, whether man-made or natural, are always excellent spots to start.
If you are in a river, locate the downriver side of the underwater structure. Since baitfish are smaller, they will use these structures to hide behind and catch a breather, at least until they see a flashing opportunity dropping in the water.
The hooks on a Sabiki Rig are pretty small, and although some are willing to drop the rig with nothing but the shiny hooks, you increase your odds by placing small shrimp on each hook. Most experienced anglers will tell you that a size 6 Sabiki is best for Threadfin and Sardines, while a number 4 is good for Hardtails.
Set up your Rig to Catch Fish
It’s not an intricate little rig, but there are a lot of hooks on a short stretch of line. Since the hooks are small and stick out from the line on little lines of their own, it’s pain to set it up without hooking everything on your person and in your boat.
The Sabiki should have a swivel on it if you bought it at a bait shop. If not, you can always tie your own swivel on there and simply tie your main line to the swivel after that. If you want to add small shrimp bait, you can do that as well, though some don’t prefer anything.
When you cast it, all you need to do is let it hit the water, sink for a second, and give it a few jerks. Once you stop, they should start hitting it. Don’t react at first. Remember, you have multiple hooks on there, and if you set the hook and real it in on the first bite, you’ll catch fewer than you will if you let them all come in.
What to look for when choosing a Sabiki Rig
As we mentioned above, number 4 Sabiki Rigs are great for Hardtails, and number 6 are perfect for Sardines and Threadfin. Sabiki Rigs don’t come in a ton of variations. It’s usually the same rig with more or fewer hooks. The size of the hooks and the weight are the major differences.
You should aim for fluorocarbon filament and high-carbon steel hooks. You want the Sabiki to last and have a solid level of durability for plenty of future bait fishing. Most bait and tackle shops will sell Sabiki Rigs, but you can also find them online fairly easily.
Sabiki Rigs (or Flasher Rigs) are one of the most popular rigs for catching baitfish. They’re easy to set up and simple to use, so long as you know where to find the baitfish. Sabiki Rigs are also one of the best setups to go with if you need to haul in a lot of baitfish and quickly.
It doesn’t require anything really special. You don’t have to learn any fishing techniques or go out of your way to set it up. Just a couple of jerks when it hits the water, and that’s about it.
Many anglers don’t bother to put anything on the hooks, with the flashing metal serving the purpose of bait. However, in murky water, you can always add some small bait, such as shrimp. With a good Sabiki Rig, you shouldn’t have problems gathering bait fish before the real work begins.
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