How to bridle rig live bait

By NZ Fishing WorldNZ Fishing World
How to bridle rig live bait

A bait that is going to be slow trolled, or bigger baits with smaller hooks, are often best rigged with a bridle rather than hooking directly into the baitfish.

A bridle rigged fish is free to move around naturally and the hook is also unencumbered and free to hook your target  more effectively.  

The key to bridle rigging a bait successfully is having everything ready to go well before a bait is scooped up from the tank, and practising on a dead bait until you have the process down pat. We want more speed, but less haste.

Bridles can be made from waxed thread or rubber bands, but Dacron is hard to beat. Pre-tie a dozen or so and have them attached to a suitable hook so no time is wasted when you’re ready to deploy a bait.

This rig will work on kahawai, koheru, yellowtail, slimy mackerel and tuna, with larger baits naturally requiring longer, stronger bridles, larger hooks and heavier leaders.


  • 80lb Dacron
  • Bridle needle
  • Sponge
  • Leader and circle hook, with bridle attached, of a size to suit the bait
  • Live kahawai, koheru, yellowtail, slimy mackerel or small tuna

1. Attach the Dacron loop to the needle, and pressing the bait firmly into the sponge, insert the needle forward of the eyes.

2. Draw the loop through.

3.Drop the loop over the hook point.

4.Now twist the Dacron loop a couple of times to secure it to the hook and reduce the length of the bridle if necessary.

5.Slide the hook point through the loop forward of the bait’s head to lock the bridle in place, coming in from underneath so that the hook point is riding uppermost.

6.The completed rig, with the hook well forward of the bait’s nose.

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