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Stinger Placement

Wednesday, February 8, 2006
by Bill Siemantel and Michael Jones

John Tanquary of Grass Valley, CA wrote: Very educational tips, thank you. But I'd like to know how to rig the stinger hooks on an ROF5 Huddleston swimbait. I have caught fish on the ROF12 and put no other hooks on it but the stock one that comes on it. The rate of catch is about one fish for every three hooked. Is there a different way to put a stinger on that as well? I would like to know the type of hook and the size used. Also, where to place the hook.

Since the sheer mass of larger swimbaits will always have an effect on strike-to-hookup ratios, proper stinger placement is critical. You can't completely eliminate the problem, but you can greatly improve your percentages.

Photo: Bill Siemantel
Stinger-rigging material includes wire-cutters, crimpers, hooks, Sevenstrand wire and wire crimps.

The key decision in stinger placement comes in knowing where the lure will be fished in the water column, which in turn tells you from what direction(s) strikes are most likely.

For those unfamiliar with the terminology, ROF refers to "rate of fall." For instance, the Huddleston ROF5 will descend approximately 5 feet during a 10-count. Obviously, the pace of your count may vary from the next guy's count, so it's smart to pool-test every bait to gauge the exact rate of fall.

Since the ROF5 will most likely be fished subsurface or midway through the water column, strikes can be expected from both top and bottom, hence the need for a belly stinger. Most likely, the reason you've been successful with the ROF12 is that most of your strikes have been coming when the lure was fished along the bottom. In such situations, a belly stinger is excess baggage and a snag looking for a place to happen.

If you've decided that a belly stinger (or an additional top stinger) is necessary, the tools required are as follows: Gamakatsu 1/0 treble 2XS, 90-pound Sevenstrand wire with A3 crimps and crimping pliers.

Use the accompanying photos as a guide for wire length and hook placement. Remember, when crimping the wire in the sleeves, make sure the wire strands are side-by-side, not crossed over.

If you want even more coverage on the belly, some anglers are using frog hooks threaded through the belly hookeye that comes standard on the Huddlestons. The trick here is to use a length of paperclip wire as a keeper. Wrap it once around the hook shanks of the frog hooks and leave tag-ends that can be inserted into the plastic belly to hold the hooks in place.

Even with a swimbait festooned with hooks, you will miss some fish. The object is not to merely understand the mechanics of adding stingers, but the totality of the technique. You must know where you're fishing the bait in the water column, the casting angle, cover and structure elements and how the fish are responding to the lure. So think beyond the mechanics to embrace the technique. If you do, your results will become more consistent and predictable.

Photo: Bill Siemantel
Here's a look at how Bill Siemantel rigs a belly and back stinger on the Huddleston ROF5 swimbait.

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