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by D.C. Reid

700 little words. All a columnist is allowed for a subject that cries out for more. A subject subtle and complex, including variations in rigging, cutting , curing, brining, freezing, colouring, fishing technique, species, hooks, leaders, geographical considerations, and, finally, taste enhancement with WD 40, bilge water (ala Charlie White) Pete, aniseed , amino acids, silver nitrate etc. A book length subject at least.

This is like, say, restricting Picasso to a square dimension, and failing to meet art’s 20’th century destiny, in its most influential painting, Les Demoiselles D’avignon, 1907.Or Michelangelo restricted, lying on his back six floors above the floor, to only one of his palette of nine.

Rhys Davis reached his first Eureka in 1954, designing the Large Strip Teaser to keep a side of herring from shredding and, more importantly, to imitate a dying baitfish that could no longer control its balance – a key trigger for predatory attack. His later Anchovy Special is, in my opinion, the best baithead on the market for rigging anchovy. Pick up the glow-green and Army Truck as winter fishing minimums.

All guides and longstanding fisher dudes tinker with bait rigs to further enhance bait spiral and prevent unfishy ‘sag’ from teaser to treble hook. One solution is wire-rigging an anchovy. Add other essentials: 25- to 30-pound test leader (not too-stiff fluorocarbon), #2 – #4 bronze trebles and 3/0 – 5/0 single, nickel-coated, Kirbed hooks (so they rust after break off), debarbed to comply with salmon regs. Add stucco wire (not piano, spring or stainless as they won’t hold curves). Add a 3-mm eye to the outside of the teaser, and a ball bearing swivel with clasp to the leader.

Drill two holes in the tab side with a hook point, parallel to the leader hole and ‘blister’. Bend a small ‘c’ in the leading end of a 6-inch section of wire, and push the trailing end through the outside of the teaserhead’s trailing hole, until the small ‘c’ comes through the leading hole. With pliers, bend both ends of the wire flush and parallel with the Anchovy Special. Shorten the trailing wire to 3 inches or whatever longest length, inserted in bait, will not stick out the tail.

With sliding knots, secure the treble to the leader and the single 3 inches behind on the tag end. Slide the Anchovy Special down the leader and secure in the blister with a toothpick (a flat one – not a round one). With a Palomar knot, secure the ball bearing swivel (vital for enhancing spiral and preventing leader twist) with clasp to the mainline end of the 5- to 7-foot leader.

Gently insert the trailing wire into one side of the gills, then back through the body until the anchovy head snugs into the teaser. Take flat toothpicks and insert from one side to the other, breaking off ends cleanly, then from top and from bottom to secure the bait big time.

Penultimately, insert one point of the treble halfway between the lateral line and dorsal surface and halfway between the dorsal fin and tail. Now comes the artisan’s part: curve the bait from teaserhead back, making a greater curve nearer the tail – for that killer spiral (not a roll). Be assured your bait will fish true the entire time between letting down and bite, or other bump in the dark. The curve makes the tail follow the head within the diameter of its spiral – crucial in Victoria.

Finally, treble placement puts the trailing single directly behind the tail so hook is the first thing Mr. salmon chomps on – much better than the original single-treble version. In my duo-hook method, the treble has no other purpose, making it easier to get the single hook from the fish’ mouth. Feel free to replace it with a larger, conventional saltwater treble.

Stand back and congratulate yourself, “Bravo Bravo”, for your own master piece in the subtle art of peching pour la poisson, as Picasso (okay, okay so my French is laughable) might say. Even he would recognize a wire-rigged anchovy will catch far more fish than the cubist’s third dimension. And that’s a rig, in 700. .