Jacksmelt rig: my version

Since someone on the board was curious as to what a jack smelt rig is, I thought it would be nice to show how I tie my own rigs.

I’m no expert, and how I make them may not work for everyone. A San Francisco smelt may want a different rig than the way my Monterey and Capitola smelt like it, so adapt to your fish wherever they are.

Here’s a couple pictures of what the rig generally looks like from the PFIC book and the Internet. IMG_5607.jpeg IMG_5611.jpeg
Mine looks more like the top one, starting with a large bobber. This is a Pucci Pier bobber I got from Coyote Bait and Tackle. It’s almost perfect for jack smelt, only downside is the swivels do rust so I oil them occasionally.
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Above are some clip on bobbers you can get from Walmart(baseball for size comparison). They rust really quickly, and typically don’t stay above the surface unless it’s a really calm day. They also don’t have enough buoyancy to self hook the smelt, so I would suggest you find the Pucci floats from a local fishing shop. You can use other stuff, like a empty plastic bottle, but the Pucci is the best in my opinion.

Once you get one, everything else is easy to get. I use 10lb Berkley Trilene, size 8 bait holder Mustad hooks, and a one ounce torpedo sinker. IMG_5605.jpeg IMG_5606.jpeg
So, for instructions on how I tie mine:
1) Start with about 2 ft of line with one end tied in a Surgeons loop knot. This is where you clip your swivel that goes to your rod.
2) Tie a 3-4 foot leader to the one you just made. You can use a blood knot or surgeons knot, but I like the Orvis tippet knot. Very strong, simple and easy to adjust to my preferences. IMG_5613.png
On the top part(the tag end pointing to the rod) tie the float.

3) Going down from the float, I go down to the hooks. All are spaced apart about 1 foot, each tied with the same Orvis tippet knot. The hooks are tied off to a Pitzen knot(also known as a 16-20)
4) The final, and most relieving step after all these knots, is a snap swivel tied off the end. This is where you snap your sinker, 1-2 oz depending on the current and what your rod can handle.

For bait, I use whatever I got, typically frozen shrimp, pile worm, anchovy, etc. I also like chumming the water with bread crumbs and mussels mixed together. You’ll usually get a bite within 5~10 minutes. If not, change bait. Still no bites, might need to move to a different spot. Sometimes they’re not to far away, other times you have to walk alllll day to find them. But the rewards speak for themselves. Here’s a pic of a friend I took to Santa Cruz wharf back in April. I had to work all the way to Stagnaro’s to find them, but when I did it was nonstop biting. IMG_5425.jpeg
Anyways, that’s my take on the jack smelt rig. A bit of tackle, but very effective once you get the hang of it. Let me know what y’all think 👍