Flasher rigs have been around in some form for a long time; how long, no one really knows, but anglers have been tying fly materials on to hooks for hundreds of years and I don’t think it would have taken long before someone started adding bait and dropping them down to the depths. What we do know is the paternoster twin-hook flasher origins can be traced to New Zealand and its amazing snapper fishery. It took off in Australia around the turn of the century and is an effective bait rig for multiple species.
Many companies now produce some style of flasher rig and we have recently been testing out Hayabusa’s version in Port Phillip Bay. Hayabusa is a Japanese company known for high-quality terminal tackle and lures, so it was interesting to use this flasher rig, which differs from many on the market.
Port Phillip Bay is a unique snapper fishery as it is relatively shallow and experiences minimal tidal flow in its middle and northern regions. Many lures and rigs that work elsewhere on snapper don’t get much attention in the bay. I’m personally not a huge fan of paternoster rigs in Port Phillip, and time and again I’ve seen twin snelled suicide hooks with a small ball sinker will out-fish any other rig. It presents bait very naturally in the low tidal movement of the bay, which the fish respond to, but I will always have at least one flasher rig out in my spread. Also, when you’re suffering from wind against tide, a paternoster rig across the spread can save the day by keeping your rigs sitting vertically with easy sinker adjustment, so they do have a place.
One thing I’ve never liked about many of the flasher rigs on the market when fishing Port Phillip is the leader used. Most are tied with 80lb leader, which for Port Phillip is too heavy. Don’t get me wrong, it still works when the fishing is hot and sometimes even when it’s not, but I’m a strong advocate for fishing line and leader as light as possible in the bay, and fooling the bigger fish sometimes takes a more finessed approach.
It was refreshing to see that Hayabusa ties its flashers using 29lb fluorocarbon. I exclusively use fluorocarbon as my leader as it’s thinner and provides great abrasion resistance against snapper teeth – 29lb fluorocarbon is a lot more finessed than 80lb mono. The other feature that’s a little different is the Octopus hooks as opposed to circle hooks. Some may think that this defeats the purpose of leaving a rod in the rod holder and allowing the fish to hook itself. Through tests we’ve seen that the Octopus hooks were, in fact getting a great hook-up rate baited with silver whiting heads. The Octopus-style hook offers better hook exposure and for small fish in that 1-4kg range that may be tentatively striking at your offering (as opposed to swallowing the bait and running), the Octopus hooks seem to be very beneficial. We also think that due to the fact the line is lighter it’s just a better presentation that fish are more likely to strike.
You get two rigs in each pack, available in 4/0, 5/0 and 6/0 and a variety of colours. You can’t fault how the rigs have been tied or the materials used on the flasher. Each hook features twin lumo beads, holographic sheet and flasher/fly material. The length of each rig is 155cm, which is perfect.
We fished them straight down with a 3oz bomb sinker with reels spooled with braid matched with slow pitch rods. The slow pitch-style rods absorb any jerky movements caused by the boat, which presents the baits naturally, and the braid and fluorocarbon leader have no stretch so they aid in setting the hooks.
The thinner leader with a respectable breaking strain of just under 30lb is great to use in areas with strong currents as it won’t suffer as much bow in the line. This leader size might not be ideal for all waters and species but it’s a great point of difference in a market that is somewhat saturated with this style of pre-made rigs.
You’re looking at paying around $10-12 for a pack of two rigs, which is great value for money. I think it’s a worthy investment for anyone who is looking for a lighter flasher rig with a more finessed presentation.