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Brandon Khoo

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How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 19, 2009, 09:13:04 PM
I've been getting a few PMs lately on a topic which a lot of is just take for granted. As a result, I thought I'd put a thread up on rigging hooks  for your poppers. Now if you're an experienced GT angler, go find something else to read!  ;D

Certainly, there are a number of ways to set your poppers up and a bit of experimentation after a couple of trips should sort out what you think works best for you.

In general, GT fishermen rig their poppers with either trebles, singles, Baker rigs or assist hooks. All of these methods work and we can all debate till the cows come home as to which method is the best. I have no intention of starting another debate as to what works best; what I will say is they all work and what you should do is experiment yourself and go with what you like best.

The Traditional Rig with Trebles

The traditional rig for a popper which was established by the Japanese, the people who invented the sport is to go with two trebles.



As you can see, rigging with trebles looks like there is a lot of hook all over the place. That said, GTs are notoriously good at throwing trebles and if you want to fish with these, you will need to be very good at keeping the tension on the line throughout the fight. A tiny amount of slack could see you lose the fish.


Baker Rig with a Single off the Tail




This is a relatively new rig that was developed just a few years back. I actually named the rig and it's called the Baker Rig because it's named after Tim Baker, one of the Nomad guides. Tim came up with this rig one evening when we trying to figure out how we could get two single hooks onto one hook point on a lure. Initially, we weren't using anything to hold the two hooks together and it drove us mad as the hooks kept reversing around the swivel but since that time, Nomad guide use a small cable tie while I prefer to use a bit of electrical tape.

I note George Pang uses rubber bands. I don't think it matters what you use as long as you carry a few of them because nearly every fish will break what you are using to hold the hooks together. That is actually what you want as you want the hooks to swing on their own once the fish is hooked up as you don't want the fish to be able to exert pressure on the hooks against each other.

There is no reason why you could not run a baker rig off the tail of the popper as well but most of us tend to run a big single.


Baker-rigged hooks - note use of electrical tape to hold hooks together


Rigging with Assist Hooks

This is a newer rig which Nomad have started to use as well. This was bought to them by their new guide from Musandam, Glanville Heydenrych. I believe that this is used by a number of European anglers and Glanville picked it up when they were on a charter in Oman. The rig is actually very effective and I think the reason for this is that GTs tend to strike poppers when the popper is stationary. As a result, the single hooks is well exposed. Glanville believes that when the fish inhales the poppers, the maelstrom around the poppers means the hooks is swinging all over the place. Whatever the reason, the rig is definitely very effective. You can tie your won assist or if you like to buy them pre-made, the big Shout assist are excellent.


Assist rigged popper with single tail hook


Assist hooks is attached to the towing point

We found the above approach with an assist hook and single off the tail to be very effective with one potential problem. I saw twice in one trip where the fish was obviously hooked with both the assist hook and the hook and was able to exert direct pressure of each hook against each other. As a result, both hooks straightened and the fish escaped.

It may actually be better if you want to use this approach to rig the popper with just the assist hook and nothing else. I know it looks as if there isn't enough hook coverage but it works and works well.


Assist rigged popper with no tail hook


Hooks to Use

In terms of trebles, the only hooks i recommend for decent sized GTs are Owner ST-76 5/0s, Decoy GTs and Gamakatsu Recorders. Fisherman also make a treble but it is crazy expensive. Don't bother using other types of trebles and any decent fish will destroy them. I know it may seem hard to believe that such a big hook can actually be straightened but believe it!! Just make sure that your popper is not over-weighted by the trebles. If so, it might be a good idea to go to a smaller or lighter pair of treble or use a single off the tail.

For baker rigs, the most used hook is the Owner SJ-41 11/0. OWner have just released the 13/0 but these are not widely available at this stage. Other hooks that you can use for Bakers include the Owner SJ-51 11/0, Owner Jobu in 8/0 (or 9/0 if you have a monster popper) Decoy Cutlass in 8/0 or 10/0 etc.

For tail hooks, I use the Fisherman Shiden 13/0, Owner SJ-51 11/0 (on smaller poppers up to about 140g), Decoy Cutlass 10/0 or Shout Kudako 7/0. A very popular hook also is the Jobu 9/0 which I don't tend to use as I just don't like the look of it as the shaft looks too long. Just remember that you may need to use two split rings off the tail in order to get the hook pointing properly upwards. To be honest, I've never really worked out whether it makes any difference if the hook points upwards or downwards or even to the side but I generally rig with the point upwards.

I don't doubt that there are many other hooks out there that are suitable. It's a matter of experimenting with them and hoping you don't lose the fish of a life time with an experiment!

Balancing your popper with hooks

I've been getting a number of questions of late on what are the best hooks to use on specific poppers. This is a very good question but is not one that is so easily answered. First, let me state the obvious - if your popper is sinking, then I suggest that the hook combination isn't ideal and you need to lose some weight in terms of the hooks.

Finding the right hook combination is a matter of experimentation and it will vary with conditions. What you need for optimal popper performance in calm conditions will most likely be different to what you need in rough conditions. In rough conditions, you may find that more weight at the back will help as a form of keel and assist in keeping the popper in the water. All of that said, popping in rough conditions simply means you need to exercise more care in the timing of your pop. If you are going to give your popper an almighty rip with it is at the top of a crest, then your popper is going to go flying and you have noone to blame but yourself. You have to watch your popper and time your pop.

Some poppers are designed to work with only hooks on the belly like the Sea Frog.

Just remember that the hook combination that another angler uses may not be optimal for you depending on the way you pop. if your best mate pops from the gimbal and you pop from the side, then obviously you're both using your popper differently.


Anyway, I hope the information above is useful in helping you get your lures properly rigged. If you have any further questions, please ask.





Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 07:57:03 PM by Brandon Khoo
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Mick Cunningham

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 19, 2009, 09:34:40 PM
interesting post well done brandon .

keep up all the good work  ::)


umm
that Rigging with Assist Hooks is new to me

Would you use the Rigging with Assist Hooks and baker rigging aswell together or not ??

Sam Conacher

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 19, 2009, 09:59:06 PM
Thanks Brandon some handy info there.

Damien Phillip

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 19, 2009, 10:21:18 PM
Very informative once again. Cheers B.

luke peters

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 19, 2009, 10:44:15 PM
Great post Brandon really informative. As always

When making assist hooks for the head, the length would vary between popper's. So it would be handy to have a roll in my tackle box. Would the 330lb Varivas ss assist be suitable for this or should i look at something around 400lb

Wong Kai Zhee

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Re: How to rig hooks onto your poppers
June 20, 2009, 01:49:34 AM
the knot u use to tie the assist looks interesting.

can u show step by step how its done?

Robert Palcak

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 20, 2009, 06:58:38 AM
Hi Brandon

Another great write up... cheers for that!
I'm just wondering... when rigging an assist off the head, should the hook point be closest to the lure body(as pictured) or pointed out?

Cheers Rob
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Brandon Khoo

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 20, 2009, 07:59:46 AM
Luke - I don't think it really matters that much whether you use 330lb or 400lb. I'd probably go with the 400lb myself.

Rob, I only put it that way for illustrative purposes. I think what is important is that the cord is long enough for it to be clear of the cup
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Travis Heaps

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 20, 2009, 08:21:22 AM
Great article Brandon.

I think it's important to test and be selective of the poppers you use the front rigged assist on.  From my (very limited) experience with the rig - i've tried it on one lure - it may affect the action.  The lure I tried it on suffered from the front hook, it dragged the cup down and made it difficult to pop.

(PS you need to stop it with all these great articles - otherwise everyone will come here, read and never have to ask any questions  :P ;) ;))

PeterD

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Re: How to rig hooks onto your poppers
June 20, 2009, 10:33:43 AM
Thanks for that Brandon. I'm keen to try the Baker rig out.

Brandon Khoo

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 20, 2009, 11:02:12 AM
Travis, you've hit onto a very important point re the assist rig. Like yourself, I found that on some poppers, it really killed the action of the popper. I won't use this rig on a stickbait as it really seems to retard the action of some stickbaits. I'm so familiar with the action of my favourite sticbaits I can almost feel it isn't right just when retrieving the lure without seeing it.

I actually posted this hoping I wouldn't get so many PMs or e-mails on the topic. If anything, I've failed! ;D
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Greg Burt

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 20, 2009, 01:24:00 PM
One lure I found the Assist Rig helped in it's action is the Heru Ulua, the drag on the nose imparted a bit more action in the stickbait and holding it in the water a bit more.
Greg 'FFF' Burt

NathanMcNiece

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Re: How to rig hooks onto your poppers
June 20, 2009, 10:18:56 PM
hey brandon, what would you use on small poppers like r2s dumbell pop 150's and roosta 135's?

Brandon Khoo

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 21, 2009, 10:24:50 PM
On snaller poppers, I just tend to go with trebles generally. I tend to change to Owner ST-66s on most but relaistically, I'm not sure how necessary that is on small poppers. It is more a case that I can't be bothered making up Bakers of this size. I have use some of the opposite eye Owner and Decoy hooks and found these to be good too as singles. On the last serious barra trip I did, I fished quite a bit with singles and found these to work reasonably well. I'd actually like to rig some barra lures with hooks attached with assists to see how they go.
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Warwick Joyce

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Re: How to rig your poppers with hooks
June 23, 2009, 09:25:06 AM
I am keen to try singles and twin hooks on smaller gear as well brandon. I got my hands on one of those dogtooth 40 from nomad and want to try it out on barra. I was thinking how I should rig it, it will be trial and error to get the right weight and action. It will be either baker rig or twins, I dont use trebles much anymore ;) Personal pref......