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March 30, 2007

Portable Poker

A drugstore tool pokes a tiny, clean hole in the ballyhoo's lip and will accommodate even the most mutilated piece of bent copper wire

After spending nearly 30 years making ballyhoo rigs, I've managed to wear a nice groove between my two front teeth from constantly passing lengths of bent copper wire through my teeth in an effort to straighten out the kinks. Attempting to pass a bent piece of wire through the "sweet spot" in the hinge of the ballyhoo's mouth while trying to close it can be a frustrating exercise in futility. After about the third or fourth attempt, I usually end up trying to poke a small hole with the tip of my bait knife, but invariably end up massacring the bait and starting all over again with a fresh one.

A better solution is to poke the wire through from above, then pull it back out and rig it from below as you normally would. But even though you can see what you're doing a lot better this way, you can still run into problems when pushing the soft wire through the hinge.

I discovered a neat little tool that pokes a tiny, clean hole in the ballyhoo's lip and that will accommodate even the most mutilated piece of bent copper wire. A Traveler's dental pick (from $0.75 at amazon.com) works wonderfully for this job. The small but sturdy pick is sharp enough to penetrate the ballyhoo with ease, yet is tiny enough not to tear the ballyhoo apart.

I usually push the pick up through the bottom jaw and out of the lip hinge, but you can just as easily poke it through the top and go down. Either way, using the pick will be a lot cheaper than a new set of front teeth.

Walker Holcomb
Maitland, Florida