In a typical day's fishing you check and change out your bait or lures dozens of times. When pulling big lures on heavy tackle, this constant checking can wear you out in a hurry. Anything short of stopping the boat to help ease this chore is a benefit. We find that having a second person hold the rod tip steady during the retrieve helps immensely. By holding the rod, you keep the tip from bouncing, which prevents the line from wrapping around the rod tip when the baits skip out of the water.
Almost any natural bait used for trolling could use a dash of salt. Adding salt toughens baits and helps them last longer in the spread, which means they spend more time looking good in the water and less time being changed out in the cockpit. I keep a box of salt handy at all times, and the elements usually end up destroying the container and its contents long before the salt has run out. I've found that a small, inexpensive plastic container with a large threaded cap and snap-open lid works best to keep your salt ready to pour on the next batch of soft-bellied baits.
Here's method No. 1,001 for making hook sets for offshore trolling lures. Whether you prefer single- or double-hook rigs, this technique for binding your rigs is the most durable and secure way to go. Encasing the double-hook set in heat-shrink plastic tubing makes the entire package semi-rigid, yet still flexible enough to give under pressure. The tubing also keeps the hooks in your preferred alignment, whether your favorite angle for the two hooks is 90 degrees, 180, or something in between. On single-hook rigs, the plastic tubing acts as a perfect spacer.
Clutter is everywhere, but it doesn't have to be on your outrigger halyard. Most outrigger clips come with stainless-steel loops or rings at each end for attaching to your outrigger halyard. This requires that your halyard have a set of snaps to attach to these rings. To prevent twists, most people choose snaps with swivels attached. These snap swivels must be crimped onto the halyard monofilament with an aluminum sleeve.
When raising and lowering the outrigger halyard release clip on your boat starts to become a two-handed struggle, there are several things you can do to free things up. First and foremost, examine your halyard material and replace with a fresh piece if it's rough and worn. Since monofilament seems to be the material of choice for most fishing boats, changing the halyard line is both quick and inexpensive. Next, check the tension of the halyards themselves to ensure that they are not too tight and causing unnecessary friction.
It's the moment of truth for you as a crewman - whether professional or amateur - when that big fish comes to the boat ready for you to wire it for release or gaff it for supper. No more worry about flex of the rod or the amount of belly in the line.
How many times have you picked up a big outfit with a fish screaming off line, and headed for the chair, only to get there and struggle with getting the rod butt into the chair gimbal? At this moment, you don't have time to fuss with a free-swinging gimbal that keeps jumping out of the way before the rod butt has a chance to lock in place.
When fish are snapping, it's very advantageous to be able to get a bait in the water and back to its proper position in the trolling spread as quickly as possible. Putting out baits while making a turn or on a rough day can make the bait stay submerged for quite a while before it pops back up to the surface, allowing you to check its position. Instead of holding the rod and making sure that bait has reached the correct spot, it's better to just drop back to a section of marked line and move on to other chores.
After a direct hit and severe pounding by the wind and rain of slow-moving Hurricane Wilma, the island of Isla Mujeres in Mexico is rapidly undergoing repairs and renovations.