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Clipped down 1 hook rig

1 hook clipped down

The original one-hook rigs were just basic paternosters which used a blood loop in the main rig body line to mount the hook trace loop to loop fashion, the hook trace being left free to flap around during the cast. This was common both pre and post Second World War until the advent of the big cod catches off Dungeness and Dengemarsh in Kent during the 1960’s. The late Leslie Moncrieff was one of the first to use modern long range casting techniques to catch these cod and this spawned the casting revolution that changed the face of sea angling through the 1970’s.

With anglers realising the advantage in long range and its ability to dramatically increase cod catches, as well as other species in general, this technique inevitably saw rigs redesigned to become more streamlined to carry a big bait tight to the trace without it flapping freely during the cast, which obviously created air drag and reduced the overall distance achieved.

Also there was a need to protect the bait and keep it intact to preserve bait presentation during the cast from the massive force of the ever more powerful casting styles being developed. This was especially relevant with the advent of the pendulum cast during the 1970’s.

It was these developments that saw the Bait Clip invented early in the 1970’s and in the late 70’s Breakaway’s Nigel Forrest came up with the classic Impact Bait Shield. These two components were fundamental in creating the modern one-hook clipped down cod rig we use today.

The rig is ideal for bass, cod and rays in the surf and should be used for all long range casting situations over clean sand and mixed lightly broken ground. It also gives added range when casting head on in to very strong winds.

Cod, ray and bass baits are usually large, therefore most one-hook cod rigs incorporate the Breakaway Impact Shield. The Impact Shield creates a wider area of calm air pocket behind both the lead weight and the Shield better preserving bait presentation. More importantly it adds yards to the cast due to the bait being towed in the calm air pocket behind the lead weight and Shield and everything flying in a streamlined fashion.

When the lead hits the water both the rig body line and the hook trace fall slack. It’s this slackness that allows the hook trapped in the arm of the Shield to fall free. This too is an important point.

When using this rig, if you find that when retrieving to re bait the hook is still trapped in the Shield, then its basically down to two things, both technically the casters fault. Firstly and the most likely, is that you’ve kept the tension on the line as the lead hit the water, therefore the hook trace was still under tension when the lead hit the sea resulting in non release of the lead. The other scenario is when a very strong side wind creates a deep down wind bow in the line during the cast, again keeping the tension on the rig body and hook trace when the lead hits the sea. Aiming high, and again making a conscious effort at the end of the cast to give the line plenty of slack to release the hook, will reduce this problem.

Also vitally important is the Powergum stop knot and lumo bead when using a single hook. With the backwards pressure on the bait during the cast, without the rig stop and bead, the bait would slide backwards up the trace and away from the hook.

The one-hook clipped down cod rig is also designed to be fished solely with a release wire lead weight. As the fish swims uptide and takes the bait, it then turns back in to the tide, the power of the fish and the turbo effect of the tidal current gives the fish enough speed to lift the lead out of the seabed. The combined weight of the lead and the power of the cod will see most cod hook themselves against the weight of the wired lead, so the rig acts somewhat like a bolt rig. This is important as cod have hard bony mouths and the hooks do not always penetrate deep enough to hold the fish. Even so, it’s wise to still set the hook against a tight line after the rod tip pulls over to ensure the hook is securely home.

You can also use two hooks rigged Pennel style on this rig rather than the single hook if you prefer.


1. Begin with a 30-inch length of 60lb clear mono line.

2. Tie on a Gemini lead link at the base.

3. Slide on a Breakaway Impact Shield, followed by a Breakaway 4mm rig bead fat end facing towards the clip, and a crimp above it. Position the Impact Shield just above the Lead link knot and secure the crimp in place leaving about an inch for the Shield to slide in.

3. Slide on a rig crimp, a Breakaway 3mm rig bead, a size 6 rolling swivel, another bead and a crimp. Leave these loose for now.

4. To the remaining free end of 60lb line tie on a Gemini 80lb rolling swivel.

5. The hook trace is a 24-inch length of 40lb clear mono line. Slide on a 5mm luminous bead. The luminous bead is important as I find I catch more cod with this added above the bait than I do without it.

6. To the end of the hook snood tie on a single size 3/0 Mustad Viking 79515 hook.
7. Tie on a Powergum stop knot above the luminous bead. These act as a bait stop to avoid the bait sliding upwards off the hook and on to the hook length line due to casting pressure.

8. Put the hook in the clip of the Impact Shield and slide the rig, bead and swivel assembly up the trace until the hook length comes just tight, then secure the rig crimps in place.

1 hook clipped down