To catch anglers or fish?
Hair rigs – love ’em or hate ’em – have one main disadvantage, particularly when tied up prior to fishing and that is you have to decide what size bait you will be using when you tie them. I like to be able to adapt my bait presentation to the conditions as well as my particular fancy of the moment such as a neutrally buoyant bait and I am fond of using small boilies or soft hooker pellets for tench and barbel.
I have found a little aid that allows me to switch from an 8mm to an 18 mm boilie, a 8mm soft hooker pellet, a couple of grains of sweetcorn or a small piece of luncheon meat, instantly and in the dark, as required, without faffing about with those nasty spikey baiting needles or those fiddly boilie stops.
These are small metal barbed spikes that tie on to the end of the hair in the place of that difficult to tie small loop. They come in four sizes: 5 mm, 10mm, 13mm and 15mm and in two thicknesses of wire, the thinner wire usually only has one barb where as the thicker wire and longer varieties have two. Be aware that the 5mm size is more like 8mm in length!
The second one down in the picture below is the finer wire and only has one barb, I would worry if I was casting a large boilie a long distance with this one but the double barbed variety really hold all but huge baits well.
I find these especially useful when fishing small boilies that the baiting needles usually split and they enable me to fish small soft hooker pellets on a hair without encountering the same problems. You can also switch to a couple of maggots or casters when using the fine wire versions. The 13mm spike allows even greater variations such a mixture of real and pop up sweetcorn to achieve different buoyancies or an 8mm boilie with a little piece of rig foam to get the same effect. I am even going to try using a plastic caster to hold various sizes of worm on the spike.
There is only one disadvantage I can forsee and that is the effect of the weight of the spike on a small bottom bait which might prevent the bait being picked up by a lightly browsing fish but this could easily be overcome by using a slightly larger spike and a small piece of buoyant material such as rig foam to overcome the weight of the spike.
I have never seen these in a tackle shop but if you search for “bait spike” on Ebay you will get several types and sizes.
Be careful when putting the bait on these as they often have a very large barb or two and would be difficult to pull out of a careless finger, I never let my less experienced students use them – or barbed hooks for that matter.