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From inshore to offshore pursuits, and regardless of your bait of choice, the advantages afforded by the quick bridling system are many.
By Capt. Joe Wenegenofsky

The use of live bait is no doubt a popular and equally effective method for targeting a wide array of large, predatory game fish. Whether you’re chasing bass and blues inshore or engaged in an offshore tuna hunt, few things outfish a well-presented livie. Read the last sentence closely and take a moment to really soak in its verbiage. Presentation is paramount in the realm of live bait fishing, just as it is with the use of artificial lures, but this is a concept throngs anglers often take for granted. Many simply assume that live bait works its own magic without the need for due diligence on their part. Remember, such baits work best when they are swimming naturally and appear in good physical shape. With that being said, sticking a hook haphazardly into their flesh does little to ensure either of these attributes.

There is one simple trick, however, that will allow you to bait up efficiently and keep your live offerings spry and attractive for much longer periods: quick bridling. An incredibly easy technique to learn, quick bridling has minimal traumatic impact on live baits, won’t impede their swimming or mar them physically, and keeps them better secured to your hook. Speaking of hooks, you can get away with using smaller hooks when quick bridling which will further enhance your presentation. Since you won’t be sticking them directly into your bait, there is no need for giant hooks with wide gaps to get adequate penetration upon a take. Zero obstructions guarantee cleaner hook sets and a better overall catch ration.

In order to quick bridle you’ll first need a few very basic materials: some rigging floss or small diameter Dacron to fashion the bridle and a rigging needle to pass it through your bait. Cut a small length of the floss or Dacron and fold it in half. While keeping the two tag ends together, form an overhand knot to close the loop. This creates the bridle itself and you can tie plenty in advance to have on the ready before even stepping on the boat. The next step in rigging is taking your bridle and laying it across the bend of your hook. Upon doing so, take one end of the bridle, go around the bend, pass it through the other end and pull tight to secure it to the hook. Now grab your needle, take the free hanging end of the bridle and thread it through the eyelet. Your point of penetration with the needle should be the nostrils or just ahead of the eyes of your selected baitfish. Push it all the way through and remove the free end of the bridle on the other side; you’ll be left with an open loop. Two more steps and you’re finished. Hook this open loop and then twist the bridle to tighten it up and take out slack. In doing so, you’ll create one last loop between the head of your baitfish and twisted portion of the bridle. Now hook that loop, drop your bait in the water and hold on because it’s fishing time!

Whether baiting up with live bunker, shad, mackerel, herring, porgies, cocktail blues, etc, the aforementioned advantages of quick bridling will become readily apparent. It won’t take long for you to get the hang of and it’s sure to improve your success rate on the water, regardless of your intended target species.