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October 26, 2001

High-Speed Tuna/Marlin Rig

Take your trolled ballyhoo up to 10 knots with this bait rig.

Here's a bulletproof ballyhoo bait for tuna or marlin that can be trolled up to 10 knots.

8 feet, 130-pound Momoi fluorocarbon leader
Mustad #7731, 8/0 weld-eye hook
X-Long, 20-pound-test Monel rigging wire
2 Sevenstrand S-1 stainless-steel springs
#1.5 Momoi crimp
1/2- to 1-ounce cast-net lead
Calcutta "Select" ballyhoo
1.5-inch, #9 wire "pin" (for tuna only)

To rig a bait leader for tuna, start by inserting the end of the fluorocarbon leader through the crimp. Cut one stainless spring to 1/4-inch in length and slide it over the tag end of the mono. Add the hook and return the tag end of the mono back through the crimp. Carefully melt the tag end of the mono to form a flattened ball to keep the end from sliding back through the crimp.
Insert one end of the Monel and the short end (1/2 inch) of the bent wire pin into the upper end of the crimp. Position the crimp in a crimper with the hook point down and the pin pointing up. Pull the mono tight to cinch mono and spring together around the eye of the hook, then crimp.
To complete the pre-made rig, slide the cast-net lead and the second spring, full length, onto the leader. The spring will rest under the ballyhoo's chin to limit short-strike cutoffs. When adding the ballyhoo to the rig, slide the lead forward, out of the way.
Break off the first quarter of the ballyhoo's bill. Thread the point of the hook through the gill plate and out the bottom of the ballyhoo as usual. Push the pin up through the center of the skull.
Insert the free end of the Monel through the top of the eyes and wrap behind the pin. Next, wrap around the pin, then down the bill and the spring-covered leader. Wrap three times around the broken end of the bill, then back up to the pin, finishing with a security wrap around the pin. Always keep constant pressure on the Monel. Screw the cast net lead down over the ballyhoo's beak and mouth.
For marlin or sailfish, make the same rig, but without the "pin." Instead, rig the ballyhoo through the skull with a rigging needle.
Fish the high-speed ballyhoo naked or dressed with an Iland Tracker - and remember to salt the defrosted baits heavily.
- Walker Holcomb,
Orlando, Florida