Spreading their bets is something lots of anglers want to do as they seek the best of both worlds and try to tempt both big and small fish at the same time.
The wishbone is the ideal rig for doubledealing; it’s a rig for all seasons and one of the most practical clipped rigs to use for big or small fish with mixed sizes and varieties of baits fished at extreme range. The rig is popular, especially with the novice anglers, because it is easy to construct. In case you didn’t know, the wishbone rig gets its name from the single Y (wishbone) shaped snood with one hook tied at the end of each leg.
There are two different ways to tie this rig. The original and most basic design is with the Y being tied in the monofilament snood with a hook at each end of the Y. Both hooks then clip on to the bait clip behind the lead – the Breakaway Impact lead being the perfect sinker for this rig because it has a built in bait release system. The only problem with this original rig design is that the hooklengths must be identical in length so they both fit snugly in the bait clip.
A simpler method, and the most popular, is to tie on the main hook snood, cut it half the length between swivel and bait clip and tie on a small swivel. Then run a length of snood line through the eye of the swivel and tie a hook at each end. The two hooks can then be clipped to the bait clip and will adjust to fit automatically.
The body of the rig can be any length between 3ft and 6ft, the longer body allows a longer snood to be used. Basically the design of the rig body is exactly the same as a standard single hook mono paternoster.
The length of the snoods should be such that it cannot reach the top clip of the rig and tangle. This is easy to set by placing the snood swivel slightly lower than the centre of the rig length.
Most anglers prefer to tie the swivel that holds the running snood more than halfway down the overall snood length, although this is not critical to the rig’s overall performance. If the length of the running snood is longer that the upper part of the snood it could spin and tangle.
However, in most cases it is during the retrieve that the rig spins and tangles. What is very important is that the hooks do not come unclipped during the cast because this produces the same tangle effect as the rig drops through the air and water.
A Gemini SRT spring fixed beneath the snood swivel tensions the hooks when they are loaded with bait and this helps prevent premature release.
There is a neat twin wire bait clip that fits the Breakaway Impact lead that supports both hooks neatly either side of the Impact lead’s bait clip. If you use the Impact lead’s single clip for both hooks the baited rig will wobble when cast and is more likely to release early.
There are a couple of variations in the design of the running snood. If you are using long running snoods bait stops are essential, as they are in all clipped rigs, to unsure that the bait cannot travel up the snood away from the hook during the cast. Normally a stop knot and sequin are used, but because the snood is running through a swivel on the wishbone this can allow a hooked fish to jam the other hook in the swivel. To prevent this you can include a crimp and bead on the hook snood, either side of the swivel to prevent the running snood from moving too far.
Using a heavier diameter line for the top section of the snood helps deter tangles, and a different colour line helps sorting out tangles.
For fishing at long range with large or small baits for plaice to dogfish and, although developed for cod and whiting, its versatility for other species like smoothhounds, rays, whiting, dabs, dogfish and codling is what makes it popular.
The key to using this rig is fishing a big and small hook at the same time. But sod’s law says you will catch a big fish on the small hook and a small fish on the large hook, so it is best policy to always use strong quality hooks.
The rig’s one fault is that it can spin and tangle and in all but extreme range situations. It performs best in tide.
FOUR WINNING WAYS WITH A WISHBONE