|Tormentor Bird/Bone Head Stinger Chain|
Dredges are basically clusters of either hookless soft plastics or natural baits designed to mimic a baitball. They’re generally slow-trolled below the water’s surface, typically held down by in-line trolling sinkers.
Dredges have become extremely popular, especially in some of the mid-Atlantic billfish events, where Adams says the teasers might be rigged with as many as 70 natural baits each. “They’re taking our $22 Dredge Witches and placing them in front of each natural bait,” he says. “They’ll have invested $1,000 into each dredge, and they drag four simultaneously. They rig enough dredges to be able to change them out every four hours, not counting losses to cutoffs when backing down on a fish. I am certain they have figured out that it is worth doing.”
Of course, most of these dredge applications use natural baits, but elongated soft-plastic stick-style baits can be very effective in their own right when incorporated into a dredge, says Mike Hogan, owner of the Hogy Lure Company. “They’re getting pretty popular,” he says. “There are no tails to vibrate off during a day of trolling.”
And that translates into a much more affordable fishing experience.
The Big Guns
But dredges, daisy chains and spreader bars are just the beginning of the offshore-teaser repertoire. Large splash teasers, such as birds, are often pulled behind a boat, sometimes by themselves and other times in conjunction with different types of teasers, such as bars or chains.
“The term ‘bird’ is a bit of a misnomer,” explains Johnson, whose company manufacturers three different sizes of birds with wingspans of 3, 4 and 6 inches. “It is not intended to mimic a bird; it’s more intended to mimic a baitfish, particularly a flyingfish as it begins to evade a predator.”
Tormentor’s Bowling Pins, especially the large, 13-inch model, can also be dragged by themselves or with chains and bars, and are meant to mimic a tuna or dolphin feeding at the surface.
Then there are large teasers that are pulled in the wash directly from the transom. The diving, darting action of Mold Craft’s Fish Fenders — which are actually made from boat fenders — simulate a feeding tuna that plunges down some 10 feet below the surface. Similarly, Braid’s Dorado Teaser is a 4-pound mirrored plug that emits tremendous vibration in the water
“We rig them on 500-pound mono with four feet of 480-pound cable,” says Braid. “The tow line is only about 30 feet long. You don’t need it too far back in the spread. They’re just designed to get the fish’s attention and keep its attention.”
Just like a good teaser should.
How Much is Enough?
So how many teasers in the spread are enough? That’s a debate that could go on forever (and has gone on forever), but Frank W. Johnson III, vice president and general manager of Mold Craft Products, offers some advice that’s as good as any: “The real question here is how much tackle can your anglers and crew manage without getting tangled, while still maintaining the ability to easily clear lines when a fish is caught?”
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