This is a 1/8" stainless steel wire that is bent in and ell shape. At the corner of the ell is a swivel, this is the attaching point for the mainline. A
weight is attached on the shortest arm which is also swiveled with a quick release clasp for an easy swap. A hootchie, beads then a hook are then attached to the longest arm of the
spreader bar with a short leader. The mainline line should be a stronger breaking test than the lure leader, this will break away the bait leader in case of a snag.
The spreader bar separates the weight from the lure. Bottom feeders such as Halibut and Fluke do not bite their food, they suck it in using hydraulic force. In comparison with a
conventional weighted lure, the advantages of a spreader bar with a weightless bait and hook is obvious. The spreader bar allows you to have weightless bait on the bottom of the
ocean. Ocean currents and deep water conditions can be overcome with a heavier weight if needed. The lure also attracts bottom feeders to the location by banging the bottom. This type
of spreader bar will out catch conventional lures.
This type of lure is designed for bottom fish such as Halibut, Fluke and other sand dwelling fish. The best place to find these types of fish are on sandy, flat areas of the ocean
floor. These sand bars are usually mapped and are noted by anglers as hot spots. Flat fish such as Halibut are known to have migratory resting hot spots. Normally, these hot spots are
sand bars in which the fish can rest in comfort while on their migratory route.
The spreader bar is used to keep the bait from tangling with the sinker when it is lowered to the bottom. And the bottom fish do not seem to shy away because of the spreader bar.
There is also the theory that if you bounce the bar and sinker on the bottom it attracts the bottom feeders. They dine on other wounded fish that normally end up on the ocean floor.
The bottom bouncing method has been called "ringing the dinner bell". If you have a natural ocean swell, then just allow the swell to bounce the weight on the bottom.
Bouncing the weight as you drift will lead to better success. The sandy bottom is a great place for small fish, shrimp and small crabs to hide. A weight being bounced along the ocean
floor will force the little critters out of hiding to seek another refuge. Big fish love this as they follow behind the weight for a free meal. This is a great method for catching
large Salmon and Halibut of the west coast of Vancouver Island especially when needlefish are spawning in the sand.
The bait when used on the spreader can be about anything. A hootchie bait along with a piece of octopus or squid has proven to be most effective. Bait can also be salmon gills, belly
meat with fins, or ling cod skin or mackerel. Some halibut fishermen raid the gut bin on the docks the night before they head out. You can also inject herring oil to the bait. This is
fine unless you get into a bunch of dog-fish sharks.
DFO Canada rules as of 9/7/2014:
It is illegal to fish with a fixed weight (sinker) greater than 1 kg except on a downrigger line.
It is illegal to angle with a fishing line
to which more than one hook, artificial lure or artificial fly is attached except: in tidal waters any number of hooks attached to a fishing line if the hooks are used in combination to hold a single piece of bait.
Please check the DFO website for updates to these rulings.