Switch n' Pitch

Hooking marlin at the boat (versus far back on a trolled lure) raises excitement and shortens fight times.Jessica Haydahl Richardson
Good teasers, great bait and well-honed procedures help hook big marlin.Jessica Haydahl
A small tuna pitch bait goes flying at the strike of a big marlin.Jessica Haydahl Richardson
Mackerel ready to toss over; note how wire coils just beneath the hook neatly secure it to the bridle.John Ashley
A rubber band secures the leader and quick-release plastic tubes for fast deployment.John Ashley
A modified baitwell uses two tubes in which pitch baits can be kept, lively and ready.John Ashley
Circle hooks are rigged with a length of copper wire used to secure the bridle on the hook.John Ashley
One favorite live bait is the Atlantic chub mackerel and the similar slimy mackerel in the Pacific.Phillip Colla / SeaPics.com
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
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