and Techniques > Rigging
natural baits > Rigging a ballyhoo
are the mainstay of charter fleets up and down the East coast
of the USA, as well as other spots around the world. They are
readily available, come in a range of sizes suitable for catching
everything from Dorado to Marlin, and they are quick and easy
the standard Ballyhoo ‘Pin rig’ was made with single
strand wire, but monofilament leaders with only the pin made
of wire are becoming more common.
Mono will draw more strikes, but will get bitten through by
toothy fish such as Wahoo. It’s worth learning both ways
and making your choice based on the species available where
you are fishing.
methods can be found in the ‘Tips & Techniques’
rig the Ballyhoo, first break off the bill attached to the lower
jaw by snapping it off downwards. Then run your thumb along
the belly towards the anal vent, emptying the stomach cavity.
Finally flex the bait a few times to loosen it up a little.
Some crews remove the eyes from the bait to stop them bulging
out with the water pressure when trolling.
the hook point under the gill cover and through into the body
cavity. Bring the hook point out through the belly, leaving
the pin under the bait’s head. Push the pin up, to exit
through the top of the head level with the eyes. Some anglers
like to bend the pin back to avoid the sharp spike spooking
a wary fish. I’m not convinced by this, but I guess it
that the bait hangs straight. If it doesn’t, take a sharp
knife and carefully cut a slit where the hook exits the belly
until it moves freely. This is very important, if the pull is
not on the head of the bait it will spin when trolled.
have several choices for securing the bait to the pin. The favourite
among many charter crews is to hook a very small rubber band
over the pin, take it around the bait’s head, and hook
the other end of the rubber band over the pin.
second is to wrap the Ballyhoo to the pin with fine copper wire.
Before attaching the bait to the hook, take 8” –
9” of rigging wire and wrap one end tightly around the
Haywire twist to secure it.
the bait as previously described, then wrap the copper wire
up and around the pin then through the eye socket and out of
the other side.
Pull the wire up tight and take another wrap around and behind
the pin. Finally finish wrapping the wire down the broken off
bill and you’re done.
third method, which many purists sneer at, is to use a product
called a bait spring. It’s simply a tightly wound cone
shaped spring. The wide end faces towards the Ballyhoo and it
is simply wound onto the pin. It really is that straightforward
and it works great.
generally like to add an octopus skirt or a small lure head
such as an Ilander to help protect the bait whilst trolling
and to make it easier to spot the baits from the cockpit.
many things in fishing there is no one right answer. Try them
all and see which method works best for you.