Sabiki is a Japanese word meaning “bait-catching rig” or “to catch bait fish”—at least that’s what the companies that a few years ago began importing the contraptions from across the Pacific say. — SABIKI FISHING — is composed of three parts, the hooking components, the rod component and the reel, thats all there is.  It’s also called a saki or flasher rig is and is typically fished off boats, piers, jetties, or any structure over the water.  



  • Sabiki hook setups consist of any number (usually between 6 and 10) of small hooks, each one on individual dropper lines which are a few inches long. The individual dropper lines are then tied to a longer leader in series, about 6 inches (15 cm) apart; a weight is tied to the end of the leader. 

  • A Sabiki Rig is, most usually, one line with a heavy weight attached to the bottom. Above the weight is somewhere between 6 and 10 hooks with a shiny piece of metal attached. The metal sways and swerves in water while the weight is lowered, driving baitfish to strike! The Sabiki Rig is one of the best ways to load up on baitfish you can spin into your next big snapper, redfish, or even a grouper!

  • The individual hooks are decorated as lures or tied like flies similar to those used in fly fishing. Often they have a simple piece of limo-infused material or iridescent film attached to them as an attractor.

  • Traditionally, on any individual rig, all of the lures will be either identical or in an alternating sequence of colors. The type or size Sabiki used depends on water conditions, species of fish sought or simply the angler’s preference.  The technique for catching fish on a Sabiki is simple, too. 

  • Tie the multi-lure rig (sizes 2–4) to your main line, add a weight, and cast to a bait pod. ... But the use of a Sabiki goes well beyond catching bait. Both saltwater and freshwater anglers need to open their minds to the great potential this rig offers.  If you vary the color of the lure or bait and one color works better, thats knowledge and use it to your advantage in knowing what works on your bait and bait is expensive.

  • Sabiki Rigs offer tons of opportunity for variations, just in their natural makeup with all those hooks! The shiny piece of metal which comes standard on most sabiki rigs is usually enough to trigger a strike from a baitfish. 

  • When you can locate a condensed school, they compete so fiercely for food they’ll bite just enough everything. One thing to keep note of while fishing a Sabiki Rig is to not jig too hard or rip the line up too quickly. 

  • Once you feel a bite, allow more baitfish to fill those hooks for a few seconds before you pull up. Ripping it up will only cause commotion, which will only draw in predators, which will only scare away the school of baitfish. They travel in the hundreds. When one bites, more will follow.

WARNING: The joke is the hooks have caught as many fisherman as fish. De-hooking baitfish can be a two man job, or at least a meticulous one person job. There are hooks everywhere, small fish flailing everywhere, and a recipe for injured fish or hooked hands. Move carefully, and switch your baitfish straight from the hook to the live well to avoid unnecessary injuries. 

  • Not only is it inhumane to injure baitfish for no reason, but they won’t do their jobs as well. A paralyzed baitfish doesn’t quite have the action most predators are looking for.  Thats why they God invented Pelicans and Seagulls for.  

  • One trick on the boat is attach a short one foot length of heavy leader with a loop big enough to go around a cleat on the boat and the other end a small snap swivel.   Bring up the catch and attach the cleat end to the cleat and the swivel end to the sinker eye.  You can leave the sinker on or remove it.   Lock the spool and put the rod in one of the rod holders. Tighten slightly, nice straight line of baitfish to remove on at a time.

  • Sabiki rigs with their many small, sharp hooks are easily tangled and can be a nuisance to the angler. If they are not handled carefully, the angler can be hooked. This can be avoided by using a sabiki rod. A sabiki rod is a hollow fishing rod with a funnel-shaped tip. The line is fed from the reel through the hollow body of the rod and out of the funnel-shaped tip. When the saki rig is reeled in, the hooks and leaders are drawn directly into the rod where they will not tangle or injure the angler.

  • The lures and rigs are sold in almost any place that sells fishing supplies and they come in a zillion flavors, yes flavors some are impregnated with scent just like the worms now are.



During the COVID-19 pandemic it appears fishing was greatly reduced, hopefully it may be open in the Tampa Bay area soon.   Not everyone has a boat, thus a lot of shoreline, beach and jetties, pier fishing has been held back. You needed a boat to escape and on weekends our inshore areas and estuaries are a nautical version of the traffic jam. 

And as with weekend warriors stupidity exists and recklessness with the increased pressure on localized zones, inshore lanes and estuaries. Most were not fishing but family cruising violating all the distance rules, capacity and no face masks.  Marina’s with lifts were going nuts.  Not for me I avoided invites.

OK, I can keep busy at least tying Sabiki fly’s and streamers, build gizmos and make rigs, cleaned and lubed eight reels and lubed tools, In Florida with heat and salt water RUST is our enemy.  Stainless means nothing here.  I use our golf course ponds to keep my casting sharp, try out new lures, without their hooks as some of our seagulls attack anything.

And that come back with relaxed rules means as usual, a time for baitfish.  Down to the garage, I cleaned my bait buckets, adding wheels to one and it will be equipped with a small portable oxygenator using my photo battery packs and they can run all day… on one pack.  The baitfish, plentiful and soon they will be accessible.  They are chummy too, and almost anything brings them around.  Access is the problem for most, but that should ease.

One good thing is they are not picky eaters.  Bait for bait, like sliced squid, when hard to find, I used thin strips of old bacon and strips cut from the fat of couple of pork loins, I forgot about two years ago in my garage freezer.  When hard, it sliced and cut to pieces about 1/4 x 1. 3/4  inch and it slices real easy and stays on the hook like rawhide

 I tried a handful of various seeds, to chum, I used grass seed, some bread crumbs worked great chumming the baitfish nicely.  We then used a net.  More work than needed, I’m not a netter, unless we needed a lot.  I went with the hook and bacon and got bigger baitfish after the seed to bring a crowd.  Patience, patience, patience, feed slow, they don’t have the internet and they will come.

Finally, if the metal shine on the hook isn’t garnering enough strikes, try adding some tiny pieces of other baitfish or shrimp (even thawed out, store bought, small cheap frozen shrimp) can add to your likelihood of catching fish. It also increases the size of the fish looking to strike! As mentioned, competition in schools of baitfish is intense, so the big boys may only come out for bigger bait so I mix it up!    


So I wanted something small and fast… It would be kept in the car so it had to be  inexpensive, I keep a Penn spinner with worms on a two piece rod for the traunl and a fly 5/6 fly rod which breaks down to four feet when appropriate for outer wading.  Thats my width for the travel rigs that stay in the car and not in the way.  I call it opportunistic, we have lots of canals around here and sometimes I see activity and my tackle is with me.  It works. My short Sabiki is 45.5 inches perfect!


Tying a Sabiki rig is nothing more than bunch of surgeon double knots, a sinker and a few red beads and leader.  I had been making multi-hook rigs for bait for a while using any of my rods to launch the rig.  I never knew the name Sabiki.  And per chance I was scouting the local hot spot web when I came across the word Sabiki and I looked it up.  Clever the line goes down the inside of the rod instead of the outside and lo and behold Sabiki rods from 65 to 129 dollars…good luck.  Thats a ton of money for a hollow stick and I did not want a big rig, I wanted something to keep in the trunk ready to go, about 3.5 feet. Many make theirs from 1/2 inch PVC, but to me they looked tacky.

Let see what I had in the bins,  a reborn by me rebuilt like new bait caster, the one in ANCIENT REELS, I had plenty of line, hooks and all I needed was a rod.  Again, using it in the 14 ft skiff inshore and just on the docks I did not need seven feet.  I wanted something about 45 inches, short and simple and tucks away quick in a small craft and my trunk…

Here’s where the divine guidance comes into play.  I live in a condo on a big Golf course and if you know anything about golfers, they are like T-RUMP,  it’s the club that ruined the shot, not the golfers skills. AND HE CHEATS…Documented  Smashed clubs show up here all the time. I use them for walking sticks, pointers, and Go pro handles, you name it.  

And as long as the average golfer here plays the way they play, and blames the clubs, I’ll  have a good supply.  Mail call and I get my mail from my mailbox and since most of it is ads, I go to the dumpster room twenty feet away, to throw the newspaper ads away and low and behold,  there is a Titalist Ultralight Custom Graphite club I think it was a putter, with no head sticking straight up in the bin. I had my COVID-19 gloves on and rescued it.  Twenty minutes later…

I took the hose to it with Simple Green soap and water and it cleaned up nicely, the leather grip got six coats of leather enricher and the outside got two coats of wax.  I measured and cut the long-gated slot for the line entry using a Dremel tool, and micro files to round and smooth the entry and then countersunk the flared end piece.

Voila!  An ancient reel re-born, a golf club with new life, hooks lines and sinkers all in stock, and it came within one inch of the size I wanted.  The reel will sit on the rod perfect and stronger than a plastic reel seat, with one high pressure compression clamp shortened so no loose ends will cut my hand. 

Today is Monday and I’m building the site,  it was Friday night when I learned what Sabiki fishing rods are all about.  Sunday evening I was done. Monday I tried off the bridge, it works. Best use was five nice baitfish on old bacon… go figure… I was just playing and it worked…

Today I am a home-made Sabiki user… Total cost zero, I had the reel, the clamps and the rod was a gift… total labor, maybe two hours total experience and fun… a hell of a lot… I know whose club it was and in time I hope to have some fun with him… his loosing club became a winner for me with a little imagination and patience… 

POST MORTEN:    I sold the Sabiki Titalist Rod to a fellow golfer and I had an older Zebco I had fixed, I was not about to give up the pristine Ocean City for nothing from my collection.  The Zebco update, Sabiki and respelling  plus baits  went for 100 dollars…  On to the next one