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The Running Paternoster/Ledger

SO, I’ve been using this brilliant rig since last Autumn, I’m not into promoting something unless it works over a good trial period  and in different circumstances, it looks like a Paternoster when clipped down but actually works like a running ledger on the Sea bed which is a bit weird but you get used to it.

Ok so admittedly I’ve been out of the loop for a couple of decades now due to s certain fascination with the spikey silver fish.

In fact the last time I caught anything decent on a pulley rig, I had hair!,  around the millennium!

After my return to the seasonal circuit last year I had nothing worth photographing on the pulley rig and it wasn’t until reuniting with my mentor Martin Larkin that things changed.

Martin had adopted this rig and fished with nothing else!, After seeing his amazing catches and being out-fished every trip for longer than I care to mention, it was suggested that I give this simple rig a go…

The beauty of this rig is the hook length which is attached to the mainline via a swivel, above that swivel is the weight line which is put up the mainline via another swivel making bite detection a damn sight better than a pulley which is a fixed rig, strong hooks must be used though as they take all the load in the cast and I use and imp clip above the weight to clip the hook length into

The running paternoster is a bit confusing because when fishing acts like a running ledger which took me a while to get my head around having mainly used a simple running ledger for my Bass fishing which tends to be close in work or Estuarine locations

No more pin whiting or pouting hanging on to my pulley rigs without even knowing and potentially waisting 20 minutes of fishing time unless your lucky enough to then get walloped by a big fish on your now live bait!

I do accept that a pulley dropper is a great rig and widely regarded as the best Rig for Rays and it is an improvement on the standard pulley, plus the bait has more movement, however it is a bit fiddly compared to the standard pulley.

As soon as I started using this rig my catch rate went up 200%

All of a sudden I was seeing bites that I would of missed on the pulley, admittedly most of them where nuisance fish but nevertheless I was out fishing  people around me.

I started fishing regularly with my wingman Brett Annetts in between guiding clients and I remember last summer when we first met each other, he was on fire with his pulley dropper and big cast bagging some nice Smooth Hounds whilst I was running around filming him,

my standard pulleys and mediocre cast on old gear just didn’t hit the spot which was a wake up call in regards to my return to the beach scene!

New beginnings and the tables definitely turned unbeknownst to me at the time.

I had this Specimen Dab quite a way up the Salcombe Estuary on 60 pound line on a Prawn bait intended for a Thornback Ray on a size 3/0 Hook!

It’s not all about distance when Bass fishing so I never felt the need to learn the pendulum cast, so now I’m off down the continental route which I’m thoroughly enjoying given that I’m achieving better distances with lower diameter lines and lighter leads.

Shortly after that crushing defeat from Brett I ditched the short trace pulleys and things started looking up!

I have tried the rig in all different circumstances and it rarely tangles to the point that it stops fishing effectively witch is a bonus, I also experimented and tweaked the running paternoster with the addition of tying a quick link directly onto the mainline instead of a swivel, the advantage is a biggy!

You can now match style clip on and off the hook length and have a new bait already prepared on a second hook snood saving you valuable minutes(faster pit stop =more time in the water actually fishing and you then become much more efficient).

I got this rig out on the Bass and put it up against my running ledger Bass rig and it surprised me

on certain conditions it out-fished the running ledger and on others it equaled the catch rate compared to a fixed paternoster that on certain conditions out-fished the running ledger and on others failed to hook up which makes me think about the resistance a fish feels pulling against the weight and the rod tip, more chance of a fish dropping the bait for sure.

The tables seemed to have turned now, I’m registering more bites also down to the light continental rods on both  braided line and mono depending on venue and tide

A few months back I was fishing a breaking sand bar from a rock mark over low tide, 3 other anglers where fishing away from the sand bar as it was pretty rough, I thought it a good test for the rig and the chance of silverware, 5 mins later my  Sandeel was inhaled by a near 6 pound Big headed Bass and gave me a scrap to remember in the shallow water on the Viper GT bravely landed by my wingman in dangerous conditions

I recently put the rig to the test up the Bristol Channel with Joe Pilbeam, a good Ray specialist and determined angler/ casting machine, I had a PB Thornback Ray just over 9 pounds hooked on a Tronixpro Big Dog hook and lost a bigger fish close in on the reef.

Next trip out with brett to Chesil beach trying for an Undulate Ray and I’m up ten dogfish to his nothing and bullied Brett into giving the pulley rig the snip and change for a running paternoster, which he had already made in his box by the way!, ten minutes later he caught a dogfish!

My most recent specimen Capture was a complete fluke regarding location and target species with this beast of a Huss at 13 pound 2 oz, I hooked it twice on the running pat,  the fight was intense, very direct and brutal fight on a light Vercelli Taktika continental rod with a 100g-200g rating,  a firm step up from the Cobra light with a sensi tip.


Martin Larkin said about the rig..

“walk along any beach and most Anglers will be using pulley rigs, I don’t know anyone who uses the Running pat, I go on percentages, it will in my opinion out fish most rigs when fish are shy on feeding.

Other than the running ledger it to will fish better than a fixed rig . why?,

i believe its because u have only one resistance, i.e your tip on your rod and if u get a strong pull with drag set, the fish will less likely drop bait,  as a fixed rig you have resistance from lead and rod tip which is a good reason for a fish thats not feeding hard to let go and drop the bait .

I believe if anglers used more running rigs there catch rate would go up its worth testing it out . my moneys on a running rig”

Larks ?


I’ve had some great sport locally on the hounds using this rig last month.

It’s worth experimenting with snood lengths but longer the better when it comes to Ray and Bass, and you can afford to go light on the lead line even down to 15-20 pound line with a rotten bottom granny knot near the weight if its snaggy , remember the hook length is taking the load in the cast, I use minimum 60 pound hook length on the open coast and go up to 80 or 100 in certain situations, remember to always use strong hooks , you never know what your going to catch…

I challenge you to give it a go on one rod for a month and see if it works for you…

Bassman ???