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The dingle-dangle

Available from most tackle shops, they are also fairly easy to make, and can be set up quickly and easily. By Andre Vorster


With the advent of no sliding in competitive angling and the use of common baits, anglers have had to look at other means of getting results and the distances they needed. This has brought about quite a radical change in rock and surf fishing, with fish – although perhaps not the heaviest – being caught with a lot more success.

Two of the most dynamic changes that took place were the changing of the reels and the way baits were being presented.

First came the switch from the conventional reel to the grinder reel. And with the change of the reel, braid came into its own. Braid is only a third of the thickness of its monofilament equivalent and, having no stretch, the contact is a direct one. It is only when I made this switch that I realised how many wave bites on monofilament were, in fact, a fish bite. With monofilament, one was inclined to strike hard and, in so doing, compensate for the stretch in the line. With braid, on the other hand, one does not strike as hard, but merely set the hook.

Bits became smaller and even the sinkers were reduced in weight, and thus the distance increased. I have seen 5oz weed-eater grapnel sinkers remain stable with braid, while an 8oz grapnel on monofilament drifted. One of the tricks in casting distance (even with monofilament) is to get your bait and sinker as streamlined as possible. This is where the dingle-dangle, in combination with the sinker clip, comes in. (Both the dingle-dangle and sinker clips used here are from Dre’s Innovations.)

The preferred hook to use with the dingle-dangle is a circle hook. Circle hooks, for the most part, are more expensive than normal hooks, and if you require quality, you can look at the following makes: Daiichi, Eagle Claw, Gamakatsu and Mustad. Do not use a circle hook with too wide a gap, as these are inclined to straighten under pressure. Conservation-wise, avoid using stainless steel hooks, as they take longer to rust and therefore longer to be rejected by the fish on a line part.

In a comparative study done on Pacific sailfish caught in the recreational dead-bait fishery off Iztapa, Guatemala, from March through May 1999, it was found that circle hooks hooked 82% of the bites, compared to the 72% hooked on J hooks, and 46% of fish caught on J hooks were ‘deep-hooked’, compared to only 2% on circle hooks.


You will need the  following:


  • Dingle-dangle
  • Bait float
  • 2 x cable ties (small)
  • Glass rattle and glow stick if fishing at night.



Step 1

Cut the foam almost in half and insert the dingle-dangle.



Step 2

Fold closed and tie tightly with the cable ties. Trim the cable ties at an angle to penetrate your bait and anchor it.



(It is at this stage that you can add the items for fishing at night. The rattle can be inserted into the slit in the bait flotation and bound with cotton. Lightly score the surface of the glow stick so that the cotton can get a bite on it. Activate the stick and bind it on top of your bait flotation.)


Step 3

Build your bait around your flotation, making sure it is seated on the protruding cable ties, and bind well.


Step 4

Trim the end of the dingle-dangle to the desired length and bend the end around to make a catch for the sinker clip. Using this method does not restrict your bait size, and I have seen a bonito (frigate) head prepared this way.


Step 5

Insert your hook through the eye with the heat shrink on. The heat shrink will prevent the dingle-dangle from coming off the hook, and yet allow it freedom of movement.



Your baited dingle-dangle is ready, and for extra streamline, you can use a sinker clip to keep the bait and sinker in a straight line for the cast. As there are no rings either side, the sinker clip and dingle-dangle will release on impact with the water. The sinker clip allows for a quick change of sinkers, whether it be for weight or to a grapnel, without having to cut lines and make a new sinker line.

The bait and sinker will form a single, streamlined projectile when casting and will give you a greater distance. It is important to remember that your sinker line must always be longer than where it will clip on, or you will lose the whole effect.