Eliott Sanchez, the surfcasting chef, spends his free time plying the waters between Jersey City and Long Island’s west end for trophy striped bass. After years of bent treble hooks, broken hook points, bent-out split rings, and a treble or two in the hand, Sanchez began tinkering with different hook styles and orientations on his striper plugs to find a solution that would maximize his return on the hunt for cow stripers, and leave the bass (and his hands) no worse for wear.
As Sanchez puts it, “I wasn’t just trying to catch more fish, I was trying to solve a problem.” He tried inline single hooks, but discovered that they frequently fouled up his lures, leading to missed opportunities. He had an epiphany when he wondered if striper plugs could be designed like a rigged eel, with a 7/0 or 8/0 siwash hook attached in a fixed position to the plug’s underside and a second siwash on the rear hook hanger.
Early iterations disrupted the swimming action of most designs due to the additional weight of the rear siwash. But Sanchez realized that bucktails and paddletails catch big fish, so why use two hooks when one strong hook can get the job done?
Through trial and error, he MacGyvered together a system consisting of heavy-duty split rings, zip ties, thick monofilament, and a single large siwash hook. The rig weeds out smaller fish, generates solid hook-ups with larger fish, and allows for quick, painless releases. This solution leaves his hands and the bass free of damage from treble hooks.
Sanchez uses this single-hook system on larger swimming lures such as darters, gliders, bottle plugs, and minnow plugs because he can beef up the hook size without interfering with their action.
Additionally, Sanchez believes that with the single belly siwash, smaller bass, which often swipe at a lure from the rear, miss the belly hook. He finds that after one, two, or even three bumps, the fish that finally finds the hook is the largest of the bunch.
Eliott’s Single Siwash Rig for Striper Plugs
- 225- to 250-pound-test split rings
- 7/0 or 8/0 Mustad siwash hook (dependent on plug size)
- 80-pound-test monofilament
- 5-inch zip ties
- Krazy Glue
Step 1: Replace stock split ring on the belly of the lure with a 225-pound-test split ring.
Step 2: Secure an additional 250-pound-test split ring to the 225-pound split ring hanging from the belly of the plug. Because siwash hooks do not have an inline eye, the additional split ring orients the hook so that it rests with the point down.
Step 3: Attach a 7/0 or 8/0 Mustad siwash hook to the second split ring.
Step 4: Using 80-pound-test monofilament, lash the split ring tight to the body of the lure. The monofilament helps maintain the forward position of the siwash hook. Sanchez recommends tying off the mono with a square knot—which should sit on top of the plug—because it’s the quickest and easiest to tie.
Step 5: Tightly wrap one or two 5-inch zip ties around the split ring. The tie acts as a stopper so the siwash cannot swing past that point or foul up the plug. Snip the tag ends of the zip tie(s) and add a dab of Krazy Glue to keep them in place. Add a dab of Krazy Glue to the square knot to keep it from slipping or breaking.
Step 6: Crush the barb and catch some fish.