Sabiki Rigs

Ken Jones

Staff member
Some love 'em and some hate 'em. What are your thoughts? Are their some brands or sizes better than others and what do you normally try to catch with them?


Well-Known Member
I love em lol. Primarily used for bait fishing, sometimes for mack attack fun.
I have tried many brands, for larger bait catching, i like the Sanhu brand, green dot paint and gold hook, thats all you need, cut off the beads. For targeting smaller bait (sardines, chovies, smelt etc), my “research” has shown Hayabusa tiny sabikis work best, green seem to work better.
Those are the only two brands I use now, economical and efficient. 🙂
I love me some sabikis! I've heard about the Hayabusa brand but my local bait shop (shout out to Phu Quy's on 14th Ave in Oakland!) only has another no-name kind (see photo) so that's what I use.

Fish I've caught with sabikis over at the SF piers: anchovies, sardines, walleye surfperch, American shad, brown rockfish, jack smelt. I fish them without any bait and dutifully cut off two hooks so as not to run afoul of the local regs. Both of these practices mark me as a weirdo compared to the other sabiki wielders, who seem to be using all five hooks and are baiting them with little pieces of shrimp or something.

Mostly I'm aiming for anchovies and sardines. I do use these as bait but these little guys are also really tasty if you have the patience to clean them. The sardines are consistently hooked in the mouth but the anchovies just seem to throw themselves at the sabiki and get hooked wherever.

I haven't really noticed any differences white vs green or beads vs no beads. Probably not paying close enough attention.

Now I'm all inspired to go hustle up some sardines for dinner tomorrow. I hear the halibut are biting, but sometimes the little fish are calling.


@OaklandP are there that many sardines in the SF Bay? I've fished all around and never got a sardine. Just a lot of shiners, walleye perch, jacksmelt, and anchovies. Also, I second you on the local regs. Most times people have the standard six, and I've seen as much as 20-some hooks on one rig illegally...

I've only used Hayabusa once but they were great. I can't find them in-stock too often otherwise unless it's from West Marine. Otherwise I've used P-Line, the brand that OaklandP posted from Phu Quy, the really cheap ones from Gus's in SF, and Owner. Whatever's available if I need them. I haven't bothered to notice much of a difference between beads, colors, and hook colors.

I like using it catching baitfish when the gamefish are too finicky. Anchovies are honestly some I'll still eat if I catch a lot; shiners and smelt would get released.

I'll add on shrimp to the sabiki for smelt and perch, though I've found that anchovies are more likely to bite the bare hook, versus the shrimp.
They are an absolute last resort for me as another tool in the bag. They're just too much hassle. I can catch more bait with a single tiny bait holder or tiny jig usually.
Only this spring have I started to catch small sardines in my usual anchovy spots.

Kinda odd since there's such an anchovy boom this year that they're falling from the skies and washing up on shore by the millions.

Today I went to Fort Mason and Fort Point but only was able to sabiki up a bunch of jacksmelt which was a bummer.


Active Member
View attachment 3182
Depends on the day...

Ouch! Nice pic.
I have only used sabiki rigs on Monterey Wharf#2 for macs and sardines. I found it well worth it to cut off a couple of hooks, especially if there were a lot of people fishing. I had far fewer tangles that way and lifting the fish over the rail was a ton easier and faster without having to fling them up onto the pier. When the fish were in I was still catching as many as most people, and I was certainly catching enough to use myself.