Saturday, 11 August 2012

Paternosters for all reasons

Dave Lumb

Back in the days when a bucket of livebaits was always with me when I was piking I settled on a very simple paternoster set up that eliminated tangles from lively baits and any chance of a bite off. I didn't invent the rig I just adopted it. When I say rig, there are two variations that I have used.

In the rig's simplest form all you do is tie your lead link to the eye of the top treble of a two hook trace. I know that this looks like it will restrict the bait's freedom. But that's kind of the point. It cannot swim up above the trace. It's lateral movement is limited, but not as severely as you might imagine. When fishing a sunk float a lively bait will be able to drag the float down as it swims away from its tethered position. It does have a circle of movement. With a surface float in use this is limited, but provided the float is set a little overdepth the bait will not be stuck in one spot. Watch the float and you'll see it move around in a small circle.

The link being tied to the hook doesn't deter pike from taking baits, and, perhaps surprisingly, doesn't result in a lead being lost every time a pike is hooked. I'm tight, and if I'd lost a lead every time I hooked a pike on this rig I'd have stopped using it after two fish. I lie. After one fish!

Where this rig really scores over the traditional paternoster is in casting. It casts more smoothly, without the 'bolas effect' associated with longer hook traces,and gives you greater accuracy. When faced with a strong headwind this set-up, using two ounce leads or heavier and a small bait hooked head up trace, can be punched out further than a big bait on a normal paternoster. It comes in handy for fishing baits tight up to stands of reed. Not only because it casts accurately, but because the bait can't swim too far from the reeds, or into them, once everything is set.

Sometimes I vary this rig by tying the lead link to the trace itself using a stop-knot knot a few inches above the hooks. I have done this when fishing livebaits, but mostly I do it with deadbaits. I don't have a logical reason for this, it just feels right to let a deadbait dangle away from the lead link. There is a drawback in that tied like this the link does get tangled with the hooks. More so with deads than lives for some reason. This is why I prefer to fish deads on a different paternoster rig. One that I've also used for trolling.

One that fell for a paternostered sardine
Again it is pretty simple. All there is to it is a John Roberts Paternoster Boom on the line above the trace. There is a rubber bead or a buffer bead between the boom and the trace to prevent damage to the knot and any chance of the boom jamming. Placing a float stop above, but not touching, the boom is optional. Fishing a paternostered deadbait on this rig is about as tangle free as you can get. It doesn't cast as well as the first rig, but that's the trade off. For trollernostering deadbaits it works a treat as they are prone to spin and cause tangles if a link is tied to the trace. It's the rotation of the boom around the line that stops most of the tangling. If you want to switch back and forth between a float paternoster to a float leger this rig is ideal. Cut the lead link off, clip a hooked snap link or paper clip onto the boom and attached the lead to that. Bingo. You've got a float leger rig!

These two rigs served me well for years. They are simple and don't involve making special traces. All I have to do is make up plain old snap tackles and I can use them for legering or paternostering deads, or by tying a link to the trace they can be used to paternoster lives. They're cheap on swivels and snaps, and they aren't tangle prone.

However, if you are into making dedicated paternoster traces, I have recently redeveloped one from my early days of rig making. It incorporates the anti-tangle properties of a boom, with the bite-off resistance of the link-to-hook rig. At a pinch it can be used as a a leger trace too.

Another to the Roberts Boom paternoster
back in the Dark Ages
Sometime back in the 1980s I wrote in Pikelines about a paternoster trace using a leger bead trapped between two superglued beads. I'd done well with it and it was far less tangle prone than any of the uptrace rigs I tried at the time. It's only drawback was that it was a bugger to make up. The beads had to have a tiny hole or they wouldn't glue to the wire and they would sometimes come unglued. Sticking them back in place once wet was impossible. Getting back into piking this winter I have been messing about with rigs in an effort to streamline things further. I've detailed my flexible drain rig on my Lumbland blog, but I've saved this dedicated paternoster for The Pike Pool.

All you do once you have the trebles attached to your trace is thread on a Fox Braid Stop followed by a leger bead and a second stop. Then finish the trace as normal. Okay, so getting the stops on to the wire isn't easy, it helps to soften them in boiling water to get them onto the trace wire, but that means they grip well. Once in place they can be moved up and down the trace to give the bait more freedom if it's a livey, or to keep it from the link of it's a dead. I've not had the stops slip on the cast, and unless you are really belting the rig out using a heavy lead I think they are most unlikely to move. As it's the bottom stop that would slip it wouldn't affect the uptrace properties of the rig in any case. Superglue would stop slippage, or you could try using two stops below the bead. However it isn't likely to be a problem needing solving.

Although I haven't tried it, I can't see any reason why this trace set-up couldn't be used for legering livebaits – with a short link tied between leger bead and lead – at least at close range. A poly ball or bait popper tied to one of the trebles was always my preferred presentation when legering lives on similar rigs in the past. To use the trace for legering or wobbling deadbaits simply slide everything up to the swivel and remove the weak link.

I'm not suggesting this is the ultimate paternoster rig. It is a good one though and if you want to avoid tangles and unnecessary joins in your paternoster traces while retaining the benefits of an up-trace, then the bead rig might be the one for you.


  1. Vintage no nonsense Lumby!

  2. Good stuff Dave, I've just got around to reading it. Have you tried using a hypodermic syringe to load the stops onto the trace wire? I've got a couple of big bore jobs purloined from the local horse vets and they are perfect. You put the stops over the needle then slide the trace wire inside it and slide the stop onto the wire. (I use them to recycle float stops.