Switch n' Pitch

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Hooking marlin at the boat (versus far back on a trolled lure) raises excitement and shortens fight times.Jessica Haydahl Richardson
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Good teasers, great bait and well-honed procedures help hook big marlin.Jessica Haydahl
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A small tuna pitch bait goes flying at the strike of a big marlin.Jessica Haydahl Richardson
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Mackerel ready to toss over; note how wire coils just beneath the hook neatly secure it to the bridle.John Ashley
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A rubber band secures the leader and quick-release plastic tubes for fast deployment.John Ashley
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A modified baitwell uses two tubes in which pitch baits can be kept, lively and ready.John Ashley
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Circle hooks are rigged with a length of copper wire used to secure the bridle on the hook.John Ashley
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One favorite live bait is the Atlantic chub mackerel and the similar slimy mackerel in the Pacific.Phillip Colla / SeaPics.com
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A critical part of switch-baiting is ensuring angler and crew are alert and on deck, watching and waiting. Lying around sleeping or just not paying attention won’t work with this technique.John Ashley
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The challenge of pitch-baiting to big fish is increased when dealing with rough seas, but the rewards — like this big blue marlin caught near the Azores — make it all worthwhile.John Ashley