Top tips on using and building this stalwart variation of the 3-hook flapper rig.
This rig first appeared a little over 20 years ago. Its area of origin is vague and impossible to prove, but it came to prominence firstly in southern England and is often referred to as the ‘matchman’s banker rig’, such is its effectiveness and versatility.
It’s another variant of the original three-hook flapper rig, but allows the angler to fish two baits at maximum range, and utilises both a long and short hooklength to vary presentation. This version is designed with a Breakaway Impact Shield to maximise casting distance.
The bomber rig is traditionally chosen for fishing at medium to long range, but mostly used for long-range fishing. Being designed with the long and short hooklengths, it means the short bottom trace is presenting bait hard on the sea bed to target dabs, flounder and plaice. The longer top hook gives the bait more movement in the tide and this will lift the bait up off the sea bed occasionally and is more likely to take round fish swimming just up off the bottom, such as whiting, pout, school bass, small codling and coalfish.
With two hooks you also have two baits in relatively close proximity to increase the scent trail and draw fish in from further away – this is a major advantage in coloured water. Having two hooks also means you can experiment with different baits. Baiting the bottom hook with worm tipped with white rag would be a good bait to pick up bonus pout and flounder, but fishing rag tipped with sandeel on the top hook target dogfish if you’re in a match.
Equally this rig can be used to fish small bait on the short trace for flatfish and suchlike, but use a bigger hook and bait on the top trace to target bigger codling and bass. Some anglers use too light a hooklength line in a decent surf, and you will experience a tangle during the retrieve as the top hook twists around the lower rig body and lower hook. This is pretty much eliminated if you use fluorocarbon hooklengths. These are stiffer in composition than mono and will not tangle or wrap as easily, plus are more abrasion resistant and will not suffer damage as easily as mono when repeatedly unhooking numbers of sharp-toothed whiting.
The rubber rig stop and sequin above the hook are used to stop the bait blowing backwards during the cast, and sliding up off the hook and onto the hook trace leaving a bare hook. Slide these down after baiting up to secure the bait on the hook and preserve bait presentation. When positioning the hooks inside the Impact Shield, it’s best to put the bigger bait in first, then the smaller one, not the other way around. Occasionally, when placing the smaller bait in the shield first, the small bait can fail to eject from the shield’s retaining arm, if the main line is not allowed to fall slack when the weight hits the sea.
Scroll down to see how the rig presents in the water.