The small live-bait rig used by Dale Collins and Robbie Hall is a fairly simple one to build and fish. It's a “cut-down” version of a king rig, and when they can find the right-sized baitfish, it’s downright deadly.

“You use the smallest Tsunami swivel or an Albright knot and tie the rig to your line,” said Collins. “You use two No. 6 or No. 8 gold treble hooks — bronze will work — and a single strand of No. 3 Malin wire. You want four inches of wire between the hooks. The rig should be no more than six inches long, total.

“It’s important to use a minimum of three feet of 30-pound fluorocarbon leader; that cures their leader shyness.”

The treble hook closest to the swivel or knot goes in the nose of the baitfish; the second one can go in the tail, or it can swing freely as a true “stinger” hook.

Hall said a spinning reel with a big spool that can handle plenty of line is a key to the whole technique, because there are some pretty big fish that hang around those inshore rocks — big Spanish, smoker kings, cobia and big sharks, to name a few — and sometimes, you need to be able to handle a fish that can burn 150 yards of line off your reel on the initial run.

“I use a Boca 430 Quantum; it will hold 230 yards of 30-pound Power Pro,” said Hall. “That's where the line capacity of your reel comes in. That’s where braid comes in. Dale can get 60 more yards of 15-pound mono on his reels, and if all we did was fish for Spanish, I’d fish mono, but we fish for trout and reds with these rods, and we never fish with anything but braid inshore.”

This article is part of the Live Bait ‘Lite’ feature in the June issue of North Carolina Sportsman, which is now on newsstands. Digital editions also can be downloaded right to your computer or smartphone.

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