Sprats are members of the herring family and are valued as food, as well as bait for catching bigger gamefish. To bait your fishing hooks with this small, oily fish, preparation is required to prevent it from spinning, so that it can appear lifelike with wriggling movements. Catch species like pike with a simple sprat rig that requires materials like a rigging needle and crimp.
Prepare the sprat for baiting. Use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze along its belly toward the anal vent to empty out the gut cavity. Loosen up the fish by pinching along its backbone, then remove the eyes with a small wooden dowel. Snip off the fins.
Mark the centre line of the sprat's belly with the hook's sharp end. This is where the hook will come out.
Attach the hook to the rigging needle and insert the needle through the marked point. Push through the sprat at an angle so that the hook comes out of the mouth.
Pull until the hook eye is in the sprat's mouth, then detach the needle.
Slide a crimp to the leader, then pass the line through the needle.
Push the needle down through the head of the sprat and pass it through the hook eye. Push the needle all the way out until the line goes through the fish following the same path.
Remove the needle and pull the end of the line into the crimp. Slide the crimp back close to the sprat's mouth, then cut off excess line.
Ensure that the hook and the loop are though the centre of the fish and that the fish hangs down straight when you hold the leader.
Things you need
- Small wooden dowel
- Fishing scissors
- Plastic-covered seven-strand wire
- Rigging needle
- Large hook