The Scorpion Tail Rig.

Once in a while a rig or method comes along that appears to work well and catches lots of fish.  The UK freshwater fishing scene is dominated by rigs that are bait orientated and this rig, entitled the Scorpion Tail Rig is certainly no exception.  Specialist anglers here in the UK tend to go for a hair rig of one type or another and it is probably the most popular rig for a whole range of baits.   The rig I’m going to show you here is one that I developed myself and is extremely simple to make using materials that anyone can buy.   To make this simple rig you will need some 8mm fish pellets, number 10 barbless hooks of your choice (or barbed if you prefer), some small aquarium tubing around 3mm internal bore and a silicone tube nozzle cut down to take a 8mm pellet.  This is all you require to make this rig for catching barbel and all bottom feeding fish.  

First you will need to cut down the nozzle.  If you place the pellet against the side of the nozzle you will see where to cut it.  Once the nozzle is cut the pellet should just sit inside the nozzle as in the photograph.  Now take you aquarium tubing and cut it into segments.  I use sharp scissors for this but you can use a craft knife if you like.  These will form the bands that fit around the pellets.  I make these about 5-6mm long and don’t worry that the band will end up covering half the pellet as it won’t alter the effectiveness of the finished rig at all.

So now you have your cut down nozzle and your aquarium tubing cut which form your bait bands, a word about selecting the best pellets for the rig.  I buy my pellets in bulk in 25kilo sacks as they work out a lot cheaper than buying small quantities.  Take a good handful of 8mm pellets and spread them out on a flat surface.  I use a lid from a large bait bucket.  Look carefully and you will see that some of the pellets are actually longer than the rest by 1-2mm.  Pick out these pellets from the rest as these are going to be your hook baits.

Take your nozzle and stand it on a flat surface then pop one of the cut down pieces of aquarium tubing over the thin end.  Using both thumb nails push the tube down the nozzle until it comes to the end of the nozzle.  (See photograph)  You can use two coins for this if your thumb nails are not strong enough.  Once you have the tube at the end of the nozzle pop a pellet in the end.  Now wriggle the tube off the end of the nozzle and onto the pellet.  With a small amount of practise this is very easy to do.  What you end up with is a band around the pellet and it is between the band and the pellet you will insert the hook.

I use a barbless hook for this rig because it’s easier to insert a barbless hook than a barbed one.  Also much easier to re-bait with another banded pellet when required by using a barbless hook.  Don’t worry about the hook being barbless as it won’t affect your catch rates.  What I do is slide a baiting needle in between the band and the pellet first.  I then slide the hook in at the side of the needle then withdraw the needle just leaving the hook trapped behind the pellet.   Pull the hook into the band making sure that the eye of the hook gets drawn into the band as well.  Your hook will now be sitting at right angles to the pellet looking very much like the tail of a scorpion.  You will also notice that the hook is in place very rigidly so long as the hook eye is behind the band and pellet.  (See photograph)

So there you have it, the “Scorpion Tail Rig”.  I idea behind this rig is the hook sits permanently at right angles to the bait at all times making it very hard for the fish not to get pricked once it either mouths or picks up the bait.  Whilst this rig is especially suited for barbel with their under slung mouths and bottom feeding nature it will also catch a huge variety of other fish extremely easy.  I have out fished other anglers many times when using this rig and it remains my number one choice for almost all of my ledger fishing for barbel.  The beauty about this rig is that it is 100% DIY and very cheap to make.  You can also make the rig more attractive by molding a lump of paste around the pellet and hook.  This works well in the winter when you want that bit more attraction and scent going into the water.  

A good tip is to soak the hook baits in something small like an old film case or small plastic container to give your hook baits a bit more “scent”.

Coming soon in the Methods and Tactics section is my “secret solution” that I add to pellets for winter fishing.  This will catch you more fish when fishing for barbel in the winter. 

The Scorpion Tail Rig.  Try it and see.