The topic of fluking with bucktails seems to be a very popular one on this site. I recently received a PM asking, "What is a 'stinger hook' and how do you rig one?"
So, I thought I'd try to show you my
way of rigging it. I've tried a couple of other ways, but this one seems to be the easiest and most hassle free.
First, let me say that I love fishing bucktails and other types of jigs. I have caught many different species of fish on them in both saltwater and freshwater - in the U.S. as well as in Canada and Mexico. So, I have a ton of confidence in them!
But, I'm certainly no expert. There are a lot of anglers (and many here on this site) that can out-fish me all day long with a bucktail. So I would encourage others to please add to this post and describe (with pictures if possible) how you rig a stinger on your
What it is:
A stinger hook is a second (or sometimes third or fourth) hook that is rigged behind the main hook of the jig. It is often called a "trailer" hook. It's main purpose is to catch short striking fish.
As I noted above, I have tried a couple of different stingers on my bucktails. Slipping the eye of a Siwash hook over the hook on the jig (similar to a trailer hook on a spinnerbait) was one method. Tying a short length of mono from one hook to the other was another. Then, a few years ago, (just before the Shimano Butterfly jigs were introduced) a couple of companies started marketing "assist" hooks. These were made to add hook at the top
of a vertical jig (such as a Crippled Herring or diamond style jigs). Their purpose was to catch those fish that attacked the head of the jig. When Shimano introduced their Butterfly system in the U.S. the assist hooks were all that was used on them.
What they are:
For the most part an assist hook is a "live bait" hook to which is tied a short loop of Kevlar. A piece of shrink tubing is then secured over the knot to protect it from fraying. (Pic. #1)
How to use them:
Attaching them is simple. And because they are not rigid like a Siwash or O'Shaughnessy hook, they tend to allow freer movement of the bait(s). All you have to do is form a loop in the Kevlar (Pic. #2)
, slip it over the hook and pull tight! (Pic. #3)
Dressing the bucktail:
Having two hooks on the jig allows for more ways of baiting up. A long, fresh strip bait of bunker, bluefish, mackerel, sea robin belly, etc. can be used. Hook the fat end of the strip on the hook of the jig and position the stinger hook towards the middle. You want to rig it so it lays straight and doesn't cause the strip to bunch up.
I like to use two separate pieces of bait on the jig. When rigged correctly the two baits will swim just as well as a longer strip bait and give the illusion of a larger baitfish. However, using two baits eliminates the problem of the larger strip bait from bunching up, spinning, tangling, etc.
A couple of spearing, chovies or shorter strips of squid can be used. My favorite bait is a couple 4" Gulp! Swimming Mullets. I put one on each hook. Although it doesn't look like much on dry land, when it's pulled through the water those little curly tails make the jig come alive! (Pic. #4)
My two favorites for fluke are chartreuse (Sorry Capt. Joe! Better put your shades on!
) and white. I will also throw pink on occasion. But chartreuse and white are my confidence colors when it comes to fluke.
So there you have it. I hope that many of the bucktailers out there will chime in with your own methods and preferences on stinger hooks. Good luck!