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October 26, 2001

Rubber-Band Ballyhoo Rig

I've nailed 60-plus-pound wahoo and dolphin with this fast ballyhoo rig.

My fast and simple ballyhoo rig has been working well for years in South Carolina, where I've nailed 60-plus-pound wahoo and dolphin with it. On a recent trip to Venezuela, we released over 30 billfish using this rig.
First, make a standard double-hook pin rig with both hooks facing up. I prefer 7/0 or 8/0 hooks and use a needle-eye model as the lead hook because the narrow eye easily threads through the eye of the rear hook. (Or you could clamp an open-eye hook over the bend of the lead hook.) Position the lead hook under the ballyhoo's gill plate and push the pin up through the jaws as you normally would, but don't run the hook through the body and out the belly. Just let the hooks lie alongside the bait. Use a small (orthodontic) rubber band to secure the bait's nose behind the pin and two #8 rubber bands to hold the hooks to the flanks.
This rig remains fairly weedless and won't spin or wash out because no hooks puncture the bait.
Capt. Stephen Ross
Reel Affair
Charleston, South Carolina