It may have been as far back as 1985 when I first experienced multi-lure rigs. An industry friend and I joined Frank Johnson of Mold-craft Lures for an afternoon of fishing.
Despite a passing cold front, we caught our share of fish in about an hour’s time. The secret was Frank’s “Predator Rig”. This simple rig was just two of his four –inch Little Hooker lures with a third, trailing behind. This last lure was the only one rigged with a hook.
The theory of “proximity” is the behavior-theory
that baitfish hide amongst themselves. Yet, it is this “safety in numbers” that makes them an easy meal.
Taking Frank’s rig home to dad’s tackle shop made me an instant hero. One angler was rather displeased though. He called me an SOB as he entered the store. Then he smiled. It seems he had nine knockdowns the day before, ALL on the predator rig. My failure was to sell him only ONE rig. I quickly rigged three more as he waited.
Naturally, we experimented with a tweak, here and there. The most successful was marking that last lure with a red Sharpie to make it look injured. (I had not thought of Bleeding Bait Hooks yet.)
Years later, I found myself selling umbrella rigs for Ruff & Ready tackle. These were stainless rigs with five teasers and ONE with a hook. I certainly understood the concept and it did not bother my conscious.
When the “A-Rigs” began to gain popularity, I was appalled to discover these had a hook in each lure.
Many of you are aware I spent years researching the blood/injury connection in fish behavior. Now imagine releasing a small fish that has several hook injuries. He will quickly become a target to his brethren. From horses to seals, every pack in the wild will pick on the weakest member. They are simply trying to eliminate the weak from their herd.
The larger concern would be both blue and flat head catfish. They are not the scavengers, as many anglers believe. They are the top of the food chain in most lakes and streams. Where they are not prolific, then another predator would take its place, perhaps pike or musky.
These coat hanger presentations offer little finesse and plenty of angler fatigue. The possibility of released fish mortality concerns me more.
While working on a spinner-bait design last fall, another idea appeared. The buffet rig was born. A streamlined presentation with two, minnow-profiled Road Runners was my first choice. The blades add flash, sound, and vibration, which appeal to more fish senses.
The simple design allows a clean presentation without a pile of snap-swivels. (Have you met a baitfish with swivel on it’s nose?)
It is my greatest hope that anglers will catch more fish and the released fish will be caught again another day. Blessings, -TJ