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Chapter 3 – Tackle for Sea-Run Brown Trout

Chapter 3. Tackle for Sea-Run Brown Trout

The Complete Guide to Sea-Run Trout Fishing by Allan Burgess

The author with a good size sea-run brown trout.

There is nowadays a much greater range of fishing tackle available in stores – and over the internet – than was the case a few decades ago. Fishing tackle is also much less expensive than it used to be. There is a much wider range of tackle used nowadays to fish for sea-run than in the past.

Soft-plastics have become very popular for sea-run trout fishing. These are PowerBaits from Berkley with two Berkley Gulp! Alive! minnows at the bottom.

Back in the 1980s sea-run trout anglers mostly caught fish on feathered lures. These could be fished either on a lure rod, or, if you wanted a bit more distance, on a spinning rod with an eggbeater reel, or a bait-caster, spooled with monofilament. In either case, most Canterbury sea-run trout anglers would use a lead weight a metre or so up the line to provide casting weight and to take the lures down close to the bottom.

Popular spinner-baits for sea-run trout were Tobys, small zed spinners, and other brass spoons. Tasmanian Devils and Cobras were also available but were not as popular for sea-run trout fishing as other types. There were other lures such as Mepps blade spinners and Rapalas, are also very good trout takers, but they were very expensive.

More soft-plastic lures suitable for sea-run brown trout fishing. These are from the Dragon V-Lures Lunatic 3 inch range. They are just the right size to imitate smelt.

Sea-run trout fishing can result in many lost lures because you are casting under willows, especially in the Waimakariri River, and winding in close to the bottom where your lure can easily get caught up on a snag. It is even worse after a flood because you don’t know where the new snags are. Sometimes I could lose half a dozen lures in one evening! With experience, you lose fewer lures but still, some losses are inevitable.

Part of the Dragon V-Lures Drop Shot 3 inch range.


Today when I go sea-run trout fishing I find anglers fishing with a wide assortment of different lures. The most popular today are soft-plastics or soft-baits. They come in a huge variety of colours, shapes and sizes. As the name suggests they feel soft to the touch. Some of them look incredibly life-like, and just as importantly their soft bodies wriggle through the water with a swimming action that looks exactly like a smelt, small minnow or other bait-fish.

It is amazing just how realistic these Drop Shot Dragon V Lures appear when viewed in the river. They look very similar alongside a real smelt (top). They are the same length, close to the same colour, feel the same in the hand, and have a fish-like swimming action when retrieved.

When selecting soft-baits for sea-run trout fishing I prefer a lure that looks closest to the natural smelt the trout would be feeding on in both size and colour. When fishing discoloured water, as is often the case in Canterbury’s braided rivers, any lure coloured yellow stands out. When the water is a little discoloured the trout don’t have a lot of time to be picky and will need to make snap judgments about taking the lure as it quickly passes. Yellow lures have long been successful fish takers for sea-run brown trout in Canterbury. They also work well for salmon.

If your jig-head isn’t heavy enough to take the lure down quickly in fast water one solution is to add several split-shots to the line above the lure. Braid sinks much faster than monofilament going a long way towards solving the problem. It pays to carry plenty of soft-baits and different weight jig-heads so you can change weights as the need arises. Even when fishing fast water in the river gut you won’t need more than a 1/2 ounce jig-head when using braid. Too much weight kills the lure’s swimming action and is more likely to snag.

Soft-baits are fished on spinning tackle. Small ones can be fished on a flyrod. For this type of fishing, monofilament has all but disappeared having been replaced by a braided line. Braid has the advantage of being much thinner in diameter than mono, is amazingly strong, and has virtually no stretch. When winding in your lure you can feel every touch on the line through your rod. I must admit I am reluctant to ever go back to monofilament for any sort of trout spinning.

The trout don’t like the braided line so most anglers, myself included, attach a monofilament shock leader of roughly two-rod lengths to the end of the braid with a surgeon’s knot that passes easily through the rod guides. The use of a monofilament shock leader also has the advantage of creating a weak-link so that should your lure become caught on a snag the line should break at the lure and not halfway up the more expensive braided line.

A fine brace of sea-run brown trout taken on old-style soft-plastics. The modern trend has been towards making soft-baits that look and feel very much like a real bait-fish.

Many of these soft-baits are scented with a fish-attracting chemical and as such were not permitted to be used in many areas by the Regional Fish and Game Councils. The regulations around this have been amended for many waters so that you are now permitted to use the scented types provided they are fished like a lure and not just used as baits. Scented or not they are very effective when used for sea-run trout fishing.

A good selection of jig-heads in various weights is essential for soft-bait fishing.

The best size soft-baits to use are 75mm (three inches). You also need a range of jig heads. These are the special weighted hooks that are designed for use with soft-baits. There are available in a range of weights which determine casting distance and sink rate. Therefore you need at least several different weights depending on the speed of the current and the water depth you intend to fish. For slower water in the Waimakariri River, for example, 1/8 to 1/4 ounce will be sufficient. In the faster water of the Rakaia River gut, on the other hand, you will need a few heavier weights.

Keep in mind that soft-baits and jig-heads sink much faster with braid than they do with monofilament so you don’t need as much weight. My advice is to get far more lures and jig-head than you think you’ll need. Running out of a particular weight is annoying when you are standing waist-deep in a river. An alternative is to add extra weight further up the line in the form of a barrel sinker or D lead.

From top: Yellow-Rabbit, Yellow Ice-Rabbit, Yellow Lady, Parsons Glory.

A disadvantage with the scented type of soft-baits is that they need to be kept in an air-tight container coated with the special attractant oil or otherwise they dry out. Make sure you get a container that really is air and fluid-tight or you will end up with the stuff leaking everywhere!

Soft-baits and jig-heads work out at something like a dollar each which is not too bad. Several of the more enlightened tackle stores in Christchurch City are now selling minnow soft-baits, suitable for trout fishing, as single lures in trays so you don’t have to purchase the whole packet. This affords the opportunity to try out different colours and shapes from the large range available without being restricted to buying a whole packet of a single size or colour. My advice is to get a range of as many different colours as you can afford; at least half a dozen different ones. Sometimes the bloke fishing next to you will be catching and releasing a lot of fish on the very colour soft-bait you don’t have.

Feathered Lures

Canterbury has a rich history of sea-run brown trout lure patterns like the Hope’s Silvery, Brunton, Barred Rock, Red Shadow, and Yellow Terror. These were tied for use in the rivers that flow into Lake Ellesmere and other Canterbury Rivers.

From top: Hopes Silvery, Hopes Dark, Black Rabbit, Barred Rock Red.

One of the most popular patterns used for sea-run trout is the Parsons Glory. This is a Taupo and Rotorua lakes lure created by Phil Parsons of Napier back in 1924. Why it should be one the best sellers in Canterbury I don’t know. The Parsons has a yellow body and works well.

When there is a bit of colour in the water yellow lures stand out the best so the trout can see them. Another good idea is to use a dark coloured lure at night such as the Black Rabbit or Hopes Dark as the dark silhouette stands out against the moonlight.

Most anglers fish for sea-runs with size 2 lures. We are trying to imitate whitebait and silveries. After a few weeks without rain, the rivers become low and clear. Then the trout get harder to fool. This is especially true at the main river mouths where the water can get thrashed all day by salmon anglers with zed spinners. The best option in clear water is to fish at night or use smaller hooks, say size 4 or 6.

If you are just getting into sea-run trout fishing and want to use the very successful double hook rig, I suggest you begin by getting some feathered lures and pre-tying half a dozen rigs. To tie these well and get the traces the correct length takes a bit of practice.

My old mate Athol, whom I mentioned back at the beginning of this book, first got me onto this idea many years ago. The two hook rig can be fiddly to tie especially if you wear glasses, or you are fishing in the dark.

From top: Ice Rabbit size 2, Barred Rock White size 6, Grey Ghost size 6.

As I talked about earlier bust-offs are inevitable with sea-run trout fishing. They can be caused by one, or both, of the lures, snagging on a stick buried in the riverbed. Sometimes a knot can form in one of the monofilament traces during casting. When this happens you must fix it or the knot could be pulled tight by a good fish resulting in the line breaking. Another cause of loses is tangle-ups with neighbouring anglers.

The answer is to pre-tie your rigs at home and wrap them around a cardboard tube. Then place the cardboard tube inside a plastic bag. When you get a bust-off or a bad tangle, you can quickly tie on another rig and be fishing again in just a few seconds. I strongly recommend you give this a go as it saves heaps of valuable fishing time when you are at the river. Imagine standing in a line of anglers in waist-deep water and getting snagged and having to break the lures off. Unless you are very good at tucking the rod under your arm you are going to have to wade all the way back to shore to tie up another two hook rig!

It might not look that flash but tying your two hook lure rigs around a cardboard tube, then inserting them in a plastic bag, can save a lot of valuable fishing time at the river. The plastic bag saves getting a hook stuck if it comes loose.

I have seen the more traditional feathered lures in size 2 sold in Christchurch shops for up to $4.00 each. You will find it way cheaper to tie your own, especially in the larger sizes. Fly tying is nowhere near as popular as it was. This is probably because there are many inexpensive alternative lures available like the soft-plastics. Tying your own feathered lures is quite easy to do. The bigger size lures used for sea-run trout like the Yellow-Rabbit and Hope’s Silvery are nowhere near as fiddly to tie as the tiny dry flies.

This sea-run brownie was taken in the Waimakariri River, between the bridges, on a Rapala style bibbed minnow.


Another lure type I often see anglers using for sea-run trout nowadays is the bibbed minnow. I suspect these are not Rapalas but some sort of less expensive imitation. The smaller sized Rapalas are excellent fish catchers and not that expensive. There can be a lot of snags sometimes especially after a flood. These bibbed minnows certainly seem to catch fish.

A mate of mine fishes for trout further upstream in the Waimakariri River. He only fishes with blade spinners like the Mepps. He catches a lot of fish. Most anglers would be worried about the cost of fishing with these lures.

Sea-run brownie taken on a Toby in the Rakaia River lagoon.


As I mentioned earlier Tobys were quite popular for sea-run trout fishing back in the 1980s. This spinning lure, made from stamped brass sheet, has stood the test of time and is still very popular today! The Toby is an ideal lure for spin fishing when you want extra casting distance. This makes them perfect for fishing the broad tidal lagoons that separate many rivers from the sea.

I’ve caught a lot of sea-runs on Tobys over the years. The best colour scheme is black and gold stripes on one side with bright silver on the back. The Toby casts well when you need a bit of extra distance.

The lagoons are too deep to wade across. The way to fish them is to wade down on to them from upstream fishing the lower braids towards the lagoon. Then cast downstream into the braided channels or the lagoons themselves. These lower braids where they meet the coastal lagoon are a natural funnel for whitebait and smelt making them great ambush spots for hungry sea-run brown trout.

The other way to fish the coastal lagoons is to walk down the long shingle spits which separate them from the sea. Then cast upstream or across the lagoon as far as you can and slowly wind the lure as it swings around in the current. This is where the heavier Toby works well. The best colour Tobys for sea-run brown trout fishing are black with gold stripes on the convex side, and shiny silver on the concave side. You can improve the shine on the concave side by applying silver prism tape. The addition of the prism tape is well worth the effort. It will improve your hook up rate considerably.

Another Toby lure colour scheme worth trying is silver with green and red on the convex side. In either case, I am sure the addition of a painted eye on the convex side also helps a lot.

I was asked recently by a novice angler at the Waimakariri River if I thought the small plastic tag, that some Toby lures are sold with, made any difference to the hook-up rate. This is designed to look like gill openings. I’m sure it does help improve your hook-up rate. It certainly won’t do it any harm.

Although these Canterbury lure rod anglers in the video are targeting salmon, the exact same tackle and lures will also take sea-run brown trout and kahawai.

The Canterbury Lure Rod

Lure rod fishing is a unique Canterbury innovation. It is designed to get your feathered lures down quickly near the bottom where the sea-run trout are holding in the fast water near the river mouth including the gut.

This is the Canterbury sea-run trout fishing rig that almost everyone uses. It is not quite to scale in the picture. Trace length can be up to 2 metres when fishing a Canterbury lure rod. The rig is tied so that one trace is about 150mm (6 inches) longer than the other. When fishing the proper Canterbury Lure Rod you can fish the traces quite long. They swim better when the traces are long. With a shorter spinning rod, it is better to make the traces shorter at about one metre in length to avoid tangles. Some tangles and wind-knots are to be expected. I use the Uni-knot for all joins. Traces should be of 15 to 20 lb monofilament. If you make them lighter you will get too many needless bust-offs when they snag on stones.


You can use a single lead rigged with split-rings and swivel; or a chain of leads which results in fewer snags. I think the chain of leads also casts better on the lure rod. Like the pre-tied traces, you should make up these sinker chains at home and carry plenty of spares. A pair of split-ring pliers are essential equipment for putting these together.

The gut is the main channel that carries the combined flow of the river as it exits the coastal lagoon to the sea. If the Rakaia River is running at 200 cumecs (cubic metres per second) when the tide is going out that is how much water is passing by the angler every second.

Fishing the lure rod in the Rakaia River.

The problem with a conventional fly rod is that it takes too long to cast, and the lures take too long to reach the bottom in fast-flowing water. The Canterbury lure rod technique employs a lead sinker to supply the casting weight instead of a fly line. The sinker, or typically several sinkers in a chain which is less inclined to snag, is heavy enough to take the lures down very quickly presenting them for as long as possible to the trout before they swing hard into the bank as they are retrieved.

Fishing mate Kelvin Derry casting with the Canterbury Lure Rod at South Rakaia.

In the past, the rod was of hollow fibreglass about ten feet in length with a soft action. In recent times manufacturers like Composite Developments have produced excellent carbon fibre lure rods. Rather than casting with the rod, as one might with a traditional flyrod, the sinker is simple swung around in a single action and released. After a bit of practice, you soon build up a steady relaxing rhythm. Although there are some new lure rods and reels available by and large the tackle used for fishing the Canterbury Lure Rod has remained largely unchanged for decades.


The video above: Fishing long traces with the Canterbury Lure Rod. This setup allows traces up to 2m in length to be fished which would be almost impossible with spinning tackle. Sure you do still get some tangles, but good technique minimizes these. 

Instead of using a fly line heavy-weight monofilament is used. This is so it doesn’t cut your fingers as the line is stripped, or mended, during the retrieve. The 50 or 60-pound monofilament line is held on a big centre-pin reel that plays no part in the casting process. Once a trout, or salmon, is hooked the angler can use the drag on the reel to apply pressure after any loose line has been wound back on the reel.

The Canterbury Lure Rod is a unique local innovation. It is designed to get the lures down quickly to fishing depth in fast water. The method maximizes the time the lures are in the strike zone. It works great for sea-run brown trout, salmon and kahawai.

Earlier reels had no clutch assisted drag system which meant you could get a good whack from the reel handle when a big fish took-off. Big trout and salmon nearly always run downstream towards the sea. I prefer the Alvey Saltwater fly reel for fishing with the lure rod. This reel is very tough being made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel and fibreglass and has an excellent anti-reverse drag.

By adjusting the amount of lead weight on the line the lure rod can be used to fish water of various depths and flow rates. When fishing waist-deep water in the slower moving Waimakariri River for example only a ¼ ounce (7g) might be needed. In faster water, a full once, or even more, might be required.

An angler at the mouth of the Rakaia River with whitebait scoop net and sea-run trout lure rod. Note the typical rod set-up with D lead and two lures.

The lure rod is much more popular with those fishing the faster water at the mouths of the big braided rivers. It is now rare to see someone fishing in the Waimakariri River for sea-run trout with a lure rod whereas 30 years ago it was common-place. Today almost everyone is spin fishing with braided lines.

When fishing the Canterbury lure rod typically two lures are fished; staggered one behind the other. The first about 1.5m from the sinker, and the second perhaps 6 inches behind that. I still see quite a few anglers fishing a pair of yellow-rabbit lures with the aid of a lead weight in this fashion in the Waimakariri River. They are mostly fishing this rig on a shorter spinning rod. Therefore they need to use shorter traces or the rig is too awkward to cast.

The traces are of lighter monofilament between 15 and 20 pounds. Should one of the hooks snag around a tree branch it can easily be broken off and another quickly tied-on. If you tie the lures yourself the Canterbury lure rod is a very cost-effective way to fish. The lures are at a fishing depth almost constantly. The lure rod can be used to take sea-run brown trout, salmon and kahawai. All three species will take the same lures if you are fishing streamers like the Yellow-Rabbits and Hopes Silveries.

I have caught quite few big sea-run trout over the years at South Rakaia while casting a 68g weight-forward ticer for salmon and kahawai. Clearly the big sea-run browns are hunting smelt on the seaward side of the shingle spit. You don’t usually think of trout fishing in the sea but they do take the lures quite a lot in the surf at the Rakaia River mouth.

When the sea conditions are favourable the twin feathered lure rig also takes trout in the surf when fished on a 13-foot salmon surf rod. You have to watch for wind-knots in the two traces. Sometimes the long surf/salmon rods come into their own depending on the shape of the river mouth.

In Canterbury, many anglers use the same rods and reels for sea-run brown trout fishing as they use for salmon a little later in the season. This is a good economy as both species, along with kahawai are sometimes present in the surf or lower river all at the same time. Typical gear would be something
like an Abu Ambassadeur reel teamed with a two-piece 7-foot graphite salmon river rod. Sometimes sea-run trout will take a lure intended for salmon and vice-versa.


If you are going to fish the wider stretches of the Waimakariri River for sea-run brown trout in the company of other anglers then waders are essential. There is nothing worse than someone trying to cast over the heads of a line of anglers out in the river. If wearing waders you can stand in the river and fish without the need to move provided you have a net tied to your waist. Should you decide to keep a fish you will also need a priest to dispatch it, as well as a bag to put it into until you wade back to shore.

The best type of waders to get are those made from 5mm thick insulating Neoprene. These will keep you warm even in the coldest water. If paying a lot of money for waders I strongly advise you to have them specially made to fit your size. If they are too big, or too small, they will be uncomfortable and won’t last anywhere near as long. Creases in the Neoprene cause wear spots and reduce the life of your waders. Quality Neoprene waders are quite expensive around $350.00 however they should last you ten years. Always hang them by the boots without folds after you take them off.

If that sounds a bit too expensive then you can get a much cheaper pair of PVC waders for closer to $50.00. They won’t be as good for winter use but will be fine for sea-run trout fishing.

I have had this pair of Dry Line waders for over a decade. They have been excellent value for money. The Neoprene keeps you warm and blocks out the wind. Note the broad expanse of the Waimakariri River shown here between the bridges. In this situation being able to wade out into waist-deep water is a huge advantage. Note also the McLean folding landing net carried in a holster around the waist. Without the net it is difficult to deal with fish while standing in waist-deep water.

Landing Net

A net is useful though not essential. As mentioned earlier having a net clipped to your body will enable you to either release or keep your fish without the need to wade back to shore. When fishing in Canterbury’s braided shingle rivers it is easy to drag your fish out of the water across the stones without difficulty. There will be places though were a high bank will make a landing net essential. I prefer a folding net with a telescoping handle. This is always on hand around my waist when I need it. If you put your net down on the ground you run the risk of leaving it behind.

Long-nose pliers are essential to remove hooks from unwanted fish quickly and without causing further injury.

Long-Nose Pliers

Long-nose pliers are absolutely essential to remove a hook the fish has swallowed deep down. For any fish you want to release unharmed you need to be able to remove the hook quickly to give the trout the best chance of survival. Sometimes when fishing for sea-runs you will accidentally snag the hook in the body and the pliers will make it so much quicker and easier to remove the hook without harming the fish.

The priest with a strap to attach to vest.


If you intend to keep your fish for dinner it is important to kill it as quickly as possible with a good hit on the head with a priest – or as some call it a “donger”. Usually, there is a good stone handy for the job but when standing in the river you will need to carry one. On mine, I have a strap that connects to my fly vest so I don’t drop it and lose it in the river!

Fishing for sea-run brown trout on the north side of the Rakaia River mouth. There are two anglers with lure rods and one spin fishing with a baitcaster reel. They are all fishing with the same gear used for salmon fishing. If you are just starting out fishing for sea-run trout I suggest you do the same by purchasing a spin rod outfit of 7 to 8 feet in length coupled with an egg-beater reel. The trend nowadays is to spool up with braid. This is a good place to start even if you don’t live in Canterbury where you can go salmon fishing.

Soft-Bait Fishing Knots and Braid

There are three basic knots that you need to know when it comes to fishing with braid. If you aren’t using braid you probably should be. It is excellent stuff that has no stretch meaning you can feel every little tug on the line. Even the slightest touch that you would miss altogether with monofilament passes up through the rod to your fingers when you are spooled up with a braided line. Braid is much less expensive than it used to be. For trout spinning, you don’t need that much anyway.

A typical early season sea-run brown trout from the Waimakariri River, near Christchurch.

Spooling with Braid

Even on a small spinning reel, I start off by wrapping half a dozen turns of plastic insulation tape around the spool. This acts as a bit of a shock absorber and gives the braid something to bite into so that it doesn’t keep moving around the spool.

If your reel is a bit larger rather than wasting miles of braid it is a good idea to top-shot the braid over the top of a base formed from monofilament. In practice just remove enough of the old mono from your reel and then wrap a few turns of plastic insulation tape over it to form a tight base.

I then tie the braid to the spool with a Uni-knot. Wind the braid on to the spool so that it is fairly tight. I don’t mean “super” tight. I mean make sure it isn’t loose by winding it on while held under pressure with an old rag. Spool the braid to within 2mm of the top of the spool as you would with monofilament. Next, join a rod length, or so, of fluorocarbon or monofilament to the end of the braid to act as a trace. There are several reasons for the fluorocarbon trace. Firstly it won’t cut into your finger when casting as the thinner braid will.

Secondly, particularly if using fluorocarbon, the fish won’t be able to see it like they will the braid so you will get more strikes in clear water. For sea-run trout, the fluorocarbon probably isn’t necessary as you will mostly be fishing in water discoloured to some extent by rain. It is pretty much invisible in water. Fluorocarbon sinks instead of floating so you get a better presentation of your lures. I use monofilament as a leader and it works for me. When choosing leader material for sea-run trout fishing I wouldn’t go under the 20-pound line. If you do keep in mind that there can be a lot of sticks in the water, and stones for your lures to slide under. Using very light lines for this sort of fishing will result in a lot of lost gear for little or no advantage as the lower rivers will almost always be discoloured to some degree.

With the 20 pound monofilament, you can often pull your lure free of obstructions with a bit of luck.
Thirdly, fluorocarbon is very resistant to wear, certainly more so than braid. Some anglers just tie their metal lures or soft baits straight onto the braid. I don’t agree with this approach. But it works for them!
I did all my spin fishing with monofilament for thirty years. It works fine. If spooling with mono use 15 to 20-pound line for sea-runs and again you will lose a lot less gear. It is no use fishing the Rakaia River gut with 6-pound mono. You will need to add weight to take the lures down and this sort of light line will just keep snapping on you.

Spider Hitch

Having spooled up with your braided line the next step is to tie a double using a Spider Hitch knot at the end of the braid. Make a loop in the braid about 30cm long. Next, make a small loop close to the tag end. Pull the loop of the line while holding fairly tightly with your finger and thumb. Take the long end of the loop, and wind it around your thumb and forefinger 6 times, working away from your thumb. Pass the loop end through the hole and steadily pull it away as you do so. The wraps of the line will slide off to form the spider hitch knot. Finally, keep pulling with steady even pressure until the knot is tight. I usually lubricate the knot with saliva as I pull it tight. It may take a bit of practice to get this knot right every time. It is one of the main knots used in fishing so is worth learning.

Surgeons Knot, A: Begin by laying the end of the trace and the double we just formed in the braid next to each other facing in opposite directions.
Surgeons Knot, B: Make a loop with both lines while holding them together. Pass the braid double and the trace through the loop you have formed 5 or 6 times.
Surgeons knot. Moisten the knot before pulling uptight.

Surgeons Knot

This is used to tie the fluorocarbon, or monofilament, leader to your braid mainline. There are other knots you can use but this one is very strong and most importantly it is quick and easy to tie.
Begin by laying the end of the trace and the double we just formed in the braid, next to each other facing in opposite directions. Make a loop with both lines while holding them together. You will have to cut the leader to length first. Pass the braid double and the trace through the loop you have formed 5 or 6 times. Lubricate the knot with saliva while pulling up-tight. Trim off the tag ends and you are ready to go.
Again it takes a little practice to get this right every time. Try to keep the loops even and don’t be in too much of a hurry. Keep pulling it up tight in a slow deliberate action rather than making a sudden sharp pull. If your effort doesn’t look right start over.

Above: The Spider Hitch is used to tie a double at the end of your braid. Take the long end of the loop, and wind it around your thumb and forefinger 6 times, working away from your thumb.
Above: Pass the loop end through the hole and steadily pull it away as you do so.
Above: Finally keep pulling with steady even pressure until the knot is tight. I usually lubricate the knot with saliva as I pull it tight. Finally snip-off the tag end.

Spider Hitch

Having spooled up with your braided line the next step is to tie a double using a Spider Hitch knot at the end of the braid. Make a loop in the braid about 30cm long. Next, make a small loop close to the tag end. Pull the loop of the line while holding fairly tightly with your finger and thumb. Take the long end of the loop, and wind it around your thumb and forefinger 6 times, working away from your thumb. Pass the loop end through the hole and steadily pull it away as you do so. The wraps of the line will slide off to form the spider hitch knot. Finally, keep pulling with steady even pressure until the knot is tight. I usually lubricate the knot with saliva as I pull it tight. It may take a bit of practice to get this knot right every time. It is one of the main knots used in fishing so is worth learning.


I use this knot to tie on a jig-head or any other fishing lure. Strictly speaking, this may not be the best knot to use as it can easily pull uptight when you really want the jig-head to have a bit of movement. However, this is a very easy knot to tie. It is super strong. All the same, after you have caught a fish or two it is always a good idea to retie this knot.

When fishing the double lure rig for sea-run trout always check to make sure a wind-knot hasn’t formed in one of the traces while you were casting. If it has stop casting and fix it before the line breaks.
Fluorocarbon is quite expensive. Then again you don’t need very much of it. I have used a monofilament trace more often than not and believe it works just as well.

Finally, it might sound like I am advertising fishing tackle sales but, it pays to buy plenty of lures and lead weights. It is no use walking 4km to the mouth of the Rakaia River and only having a couple of lures. If you lose them as soon as you get there it will be a very sad day!

NEXT 4. Fishing Different Rivers – The Mighty Rakaia


Contents, Acknowledgements and Introduction

1. Where Do Sea-Run Trout Come From

2. Cucumber Fish, Smelt or Silveries

3. Tackle for Sea-Run Brown Trout

4. Fishing Different Rivers – The Mighty Rakaia

5. The Waimakariri River

6. Other Sea-Run Trout Fishing Rivers

7. Dead Drifting Soft Baits  

This post was last modified on 06/11/2019 6:20 pm

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Hi Brian,   12 November 2021 Update   Spinning for Trout with Lures, Soft Baits,…


Beetles – Brown, Green and Black

By Martin Langlands Beetles form an important part of the trout's diet, from late spring…


Spinning for Trout with Lures, Soft Baits, Flies and Bubble Floats

Spinning for Trout with Lures, Softbaits and Bubble Floats By Allan Burgess For the novice…


Bottom Fishing at the Three Kings Islands

Game fishing is so mind blowing bottom fishing is mostly over looked! By Andrew Padlie…