Game fishing rig 6 – Swim bait

Northern target species

Tuna, sail fish, cobia, mackerel, wahoo and marlin.

Southern target species

Tuna, yellow tail king fish, mahi and marlin.

Popular baits

Fresh gar fish, blue mackerel, shark and spanish mackerel, mahi and tuna.

Fishing method

The swim bait rig is designed to target a wide variety of surface feeding pelagic species and is especially productive during calm, glassy conditions. Setting swim baits out behind teasers or from outriggers is an incredibly productive technique for targeting cunning billfish. Allowing fish to get baits down properly before setting hooks is always important when game fishing!

Terminal tackle used

Main lines – Nylon 8 – 60kg breaking strain.

Hook leader – Nylon or fluoro carbon  100 – 600lb breaking strain joined to wind on leader with ball bearing snap swivel. IGFA rules and regulations state that in all line classes up to and including 10kg the leader shall be limited to 4.57m – (15ft ). The combined length of double line and leader shall not exceed 6.1m – ( 20ft ). The leader on all line classes over 10kg shall be limited to 9.14m – ( 30ft ). The combined length of double line and leader is limited to 12.19m – (40ft ).

Wind on leader – Nylon or fluoro carbon  100 – 600lb breaking strain joined to main line with cats paw, loop to loop connection.

Hook – 9/0 – 16/0 circle or J pattern.

Sinker – A large ball, bean or snapper sinker must be inserted into the mouth cavity of the bait to allow it to swim to true effect.

Crimps – Small, strong, aluminium crimps should be used to connect the hook and to form a loop or Flemish eye for main line or leader connections.

Swivels – Most hook leaders or traces should be attached to wind on leaders or main lines with the use of a high quality, ball bearing, snap swivel.

Pink, plastic squid skirt – Are sometimes used to make baits more visible during dull, overcast conditions especially when skipping gar’s for sailfish.

Bait needle and waxed thread – Is used to stitch baits back together after they have had their eyes, stomach and gills removed. The body is generally stitched securely to the head of the bait before the stomach cavity is resewn leaving a loop of around an inch in length to which the circle hook is later connected.

Depth range

Shallow – deep.


[School of Fish] [Rig It Up]

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