Lure selection and hook rig setup

Lure selection and hook rig setup

Postby Machann » Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:18 pm

I found this information very insightful and would like to share it with guys .As per Jack Tullius from Black Bart.

Lure Spreads and Positions

I guess the best way to look at this is with one of my favorite saying, “The beauty of fishing is that there is really no right or wrong, there are however some methods that have proven to be more effective than others. The most important thing is what you believe and have confidence in.”

The first thing that needs to happen is attracting the attention of the fish! If you think about the biggest “teaser” you have is your boat and the profile or shadow it casts in the water as the fish looks up. Have you ever been outside on a bright day and had a airplane passed over you, what happens? You see this shadow and the first thing you do is look up to see what it is, the airplane got your attention! Your boat is the attention getter and all we are trying to do is set the stage around the boat to get that fish to move in closer for a look, then get so excited about all the commotion caused by your baits. So if I put my baits way back away from the boat (teaser) so do I lose some advantage? I believe so, however there are times in areas that are heavily fished that the fish (I find this more true with tuna) become spooked and will stay a little deeper and yes, I think by maybe putting “one” back a little further can work well, but am I willing to risk all by putting the whole spread way back? “The beauty of fishing is”… you know the rest.

So we are trying to get the fish excited and peak it’s natural instinct or prey drive. Think of it like playing with a cat, you have a toy that consists of a stick with a piece of string with a little feather or mock mouse attached to the end of the string. You set the mouse next to the cat and the cat is interest as it eyeballs the mouse. You start to slowly pull the toy along the floor and the cat gets more interest, maybe even paws the toy but rarely does the cat jump all over it until you start move it quickly, jerking the toy around the cat just can’t help but go ballistic and attack, it’s a beautiful thing… prey drive!

By combining your boats (teaser) profile and selecting your lures wisely you can tip the odds in your favor, raise more fish to your spread which will give you shots that equals more fish to the boat. So here some basic terms to best describe the spread layout and a few ways to make your spread the best it can be.

Pressure Wave: The wave created behind the boat as it passed thru the water, the distance between pressure waves varies depending on sea conditions. A good average distance on a 3-5 ft day is say around 15 feet so lure placement on the on the second wave would be around 30 ft in this example. Note: do not count the wave that comes directly off the corner of the transom, the wave behind that is #1.

Lure Placement: Should be on the lower third of the wave like a surfer going down a wave face. The lure should be running briskly thru the water, but NOT jumping or skidding across the surface on a regular basis. We are looking for a pretty consistent lure dive then surface pop normally around 4-5 second intervals is a good tempo. You will have to make some fine adjustments and this can be done by adjusting the lure placement on the wave. If you’re getting a slight skid try take a turn on the reel to move the lure lower on the face of the wave.

Boat Speed: Let the head design work, too slow and it’s like pulling the toy slowing in front of the cat it maybe interest and paw but the brisk movement kicks that prey drive in high gear. How fast you ask? The average speed is somewhere between 7-10 knots depending on conditions. Slower on rough days, faster on calm days as a general rule. A good trick to learn how fast is to set short positions first then adjust the speed of the boat to those lures. You can see the shorts better and by using them as your tuning fork you will get the speed right just about every time.

Fine Adjustments: How you adjust accomplish these will depend on a few variables. Of course we have to consider the sea condition and how that effects the boat we are in. Also you have to look at the degree of angle we are pulling the lure from particularly in heavier seas. If your having trouble keeping a lure running correctly from a outrigger position consider lowering the halyard to flatten the angle of pull. Slight adjustments maybe 6-10 inches at a time can have a big effect on how the lure swims.

Lure Positions: I start my 1st lure on the left side of our boat and alternate back and forth in these positions.

Short Corner: closest to the boat, starts 2nd or 3rd pressure wave behind the boat you be the judge for these examples I will start on 2. I like this lure to be an angle faced lure and always the largest most aggressive of my hooked baits. The fish is interested in the boat all you are doing is setting the stage around it. Choosing which angle depends on what your targeting smaller fish smaller angles and so forth. There will be times that sea conditions will force you to run a jet or flat faced lure, the angle just won’t stay in the water without jumping or skidding.

Long Corner: 3rd wave, again an angle lure, not quit as a aggressive, slightly smaller in size. I want these closer lures to be swimmers darting back and forth, play with the cat.

Short Rigger: 4th wave, if you have outriggers great, if not no worries. I want this lure to be pretty calm and easy to catch. Normally a flat face or jet head is my choice for this spot. If the fish gets excited and misses my short bait, I want any easy target nearby.

Long Rigger: 5th wave, This position would depend on if you’re running 4 or 5 lines. 4 lines: I want an easy target since this is the last lure in my spread. I highly recommend that it is a jet head with 4 line. 5 line spread; Size of this bait should be determined by what I am fishing for but normally I like a small angle, Mini 1656 angle or Pelagic Breakfast are perfect for this spot. With a 5 line spread the thinking is I don’t want the back end of my spread to go to sleep with everything looking the same so spice up your presentation with a small angle.

Center Position: 6th or 7th wave, Ok now is a great time if you want to slip one back you can. This lure need to be the jet, pulls straight and easy to catch. Anything too aggressive, the fish misses the bait keep in mind that the boat is moving ahead at 8-9 knots. This is you last shot make it count.

Hopefully these are some of the answers you are looking for, sorry to be long winded explanations but this will get you going down the right path. There is so much to learn and so many variables and of course this is the beauty fishing.



Hook Sizing and Drag Settings

Folks will do what they have confidence in and that’s fine but there are things that can be done that have been proven thru the test of time that maybe better.

So let me share some thoughts regarding the 1 for 4 on small blues to be placed in the “what’s it’s worth category” and you can see what you think. About 12 years ago we were fishing one of the Bahamas BBC tournament legs and it was early in the season. Typically early season means that you are most likely to see a mix of sailfish, white marlin and small blues, maybe something big, but an abundance of smaller fish than anything else. We were running a nice spread of our larger lures mostly hooked with 10/0 & 11/0 hooksets. We were fishing an area known as “North Bar” long story short …. I missed (6) white marlin in a row and the harassment was raining down from the bridge … rubber hooks … rubber hooks still rings in my ears. Needless to say we ended up in 3rd place but if we would have caught (2) of those (6) whites we would have closed the deal. I was pissed … how and the hell can I miss that many fish that fast??? I guess this is just marlin fishing… 50/50 hookups at best if the truth be told by most of these guys … but then maybe there is a better way.

So got back to the office and started talking with Bart about what can be done to improve the hookup ratio on these smaller fish. For some reason I started to think about catching live bait with a sabiki rig and how when I was knocking the bait off into the live well how easy it was for those small little gold hooks to almost stick to me. Heck I had them caught on my shorts, on my sleeve, even in my arm … don’t know if this ever happen to you but maybe it just me J funny how those small thin hooks just seem hook everything. So this started us down the path of smaller hooks and eventually to fishing lighter drags on the bite. So the next tournament we fished smaller hooks and guess what happened …. Pretty much hooked everything and lead from the tournament from start to finish, got the 1st grand slam in the tournament 15 year history.

We had guys fishing in our area switching from bait to lures, matching our speed and running right next to us pretty much the whole tournament but they just couldn’t hook them like we were. So at the end we had a number of guys ask what lures we were running and of course we don’t have any secrets but before I told them I wanted to see what they were doing first. So as they pulled out each lure guess what I saw … mostly larger baits with big 10/0-12/0 hooksets. Duh …. The light bulb went off and we started down the path of producing more smaller baits that will accommodate the smaller hooks and guess what, folks started catching more fish!!!!! I will even take our larger lures and will downsize (1) hook size than what I think it should be. Hell we have one customer complaining about his hookup ratio with looks and I talked to him about what we do that has been experimenting with 10/0’s in Blue Breakfast and he is crushing everything.

Of course there is a danger using smaller hooks and that is the strength, lots of guys have bent plenty of various brands of stainless hooks, including us and if a big fish shows there is always that chance. So what we did was look at having a custom hook done for us, some thin enough to penetrate without much effort but strong enough to hold the bigger fish and we found the hook makers in Japan that have been doing a great job and we finally got just the hook we have been trying to build for years. Our new Pa’a hooks are a nice strong stainless with a needle eye that we are pretty sure will get the job done like no other.

The next thing we did was lighten up on the bite drag from 18-20 lbs on the bite down to 8 lbs which allowed the fish to take the lure and run with it before we pushed the drag up to say 12-15 lbs. By doing this it created a belly in the line as the fish went out of the spread the more the degree of angle changed the closer the line belly moved to the side of the fish. When the drag was pushed up it pulls the lure “back” into the fishes mouth versus “snatching” it out when we were fishing heavier drags. Once the fish stops I pull the drag back to the lightest possible setting to get a positive turn on the reel and start cranking …. Amazing how many more fish we get to the boat without pulling the hook!!!! Oh the other thing is we haven’t had a hookup ratio under 70% for the last 5 years…. the best year was 2009 we ran 84%... I think it’s working.
Last edited by Machann on Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Machann
 
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Re: Lure selection and hook rig setup - BLack Bart

Postby Fin-S » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:30 pm

Thanks for that, some good stuff there. One of the more important recent advances is in hook design - I can wholly recommend getting proper marlin hooks for your lures - it does make a difference. BB / Pakula / Roddy Hays etc.

Any thoughts on hook positioning and rigging? Single vs double, stiff, semi, 180 etc. Always keen to hear what other guys run.
Thanks
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Re: Lure selection and hook rig setup - BLack Bart

Postby Machann » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:56 pm

Hi Tim

Firstly for me its of no use if you select any hook set but can't keep the hooks in the optimum position. You are targeting the upper bill (biggest area) and lower mouth are (smaller but softwer) and thus would always like my hooks to track vertical. All my lures have hook stops on them as illustrated below:

Image

Some lures have them installed already and if not, i install them myself. This is also of no use if the lure can't keep the hook upright. Yes, as you already commented, thin gauge hooks design for marlin fishing does help with increased hookup ratio given those hard bills.

I myself like to fish semi stiff hooks sets. To date that was a 180 with the front hook facing upward and the back hook facing downward. Back hook is tuna style hook and the front one a J style. Here you can fish direct release, or more productive I would say a drop back release with tight drag.

However the single semi stiff rigs has less influence on the lure, but this is a little more difficult to fish. Drop back with a light drag.

I believe chain gangs is easiest to fish but the chance of that back hook ending up in a eye is big or in the guy removing the hooks. Not my cup of tea and also none of the pro's use it?
Machann
 
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Re: Lure selection and hook rig setup - BLack Bart

Postby backline » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:59 pm

I agree on the chain gang, its a piece of crap. Firstly those Mustad hooks develop hair cracks mid bend and rust, I have lost a 400 at Struis and a 600+ at Baz after fighting both fish for a while and returning with 1/2 a hook! To add insult to injury I placed a further 3 hooks with hair cracks in the vice and broke them with very little effort. I sent the lot back to the agents and was told to "take better care of my tackle (stainless steel) WTF. Secondly Ive seen the chain gang break too.
When I was fishing at Lizard Island the skipper Brazakka Williams was quoted as saying "bring a SS hook on my boat and you will both go over the side". So its mostly Owner for me, however i bought some wicked, fairly thin gauge SS hooks in Rjchards bay and they work a charm altho very pricey. They could be Pakula but I cant remember. As for Black Bart, he comes with a pedigree so his advice is always worth listening to, altho the Aussies think he"s an outspoken yank and they would prefer to listen to their own heroes.
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Re: Lure selection and hook rig setup - BLack Bart

Postby Fin-S » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:54 pm

I fish a very similar double hook rig with 7732'S and 7691 hook typse on all large lures (over 15"). For the smaller ones I am (this season) moving to a semi stiff single, rigged shank down and as far back as legal. Hope to test them next week!
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Re: Lure selection and hook rig setup - BLack Bart

Postby backline » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:49 pm

Fin-S, I am going to try the semi stiff single hook rig on 2 lures and 180 deg double hook semi stiff on 2 alternating, to try and form a better understanding of what works better.
I always run yellowtail os skipjack bellyshine on 6-8'' softies for stripeys with almost 100% hookup rate, fishing soft drags and a 5 second dropback. I would like to keep in touch with your results and compare notes. Good luck.
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Re: Lure selection and hook rig setup - BLack Bart

Postby Machann » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:45 am

Dave, I personally think the biggest part of your success is the soft drag and 5 second dropback. The same as described in the last paragraph by Jack. The reason for me behind it is that the fish is much calmer when you are setting the hook and has also in most cases turned, increasing the hookup area. I think that this is the most productive strike setup for bill fish, the light clips and 5-7 second dropback, but you need a little but of experience on the boat to fish this given the chaos and adrenalin when that fish starts stripping line as well as insuring that the lines doesn't get wrapped around the rod tip.

I would rank the dropback, light clips, heavy drag as the next most productive strike setup and also the setup I would recommend for beginners, given that the fish hooks itself. This setup gives the fish a little more chance to turn and increased hookup area. Lastly, although some people swear by it (including Peter Pakula), is the direct (using tag lines on your riggers) setup with heavy drag, and if possible tight clips out of the rigger. I both of these instances, I would use a semi stiff rig with the front hook facing upwards and the back hook facing downwards.

In all three instances I would fish as stuff as possible outriggers.

The guys in Kenya also uses the same setup for sailfish that you use Dave, light drag, 5 second dropback with strip baits. We fished there when Stuart Simpson just started there and got back from NZ and he was only single hook, single hook. But I believe after a few seasons has changed over to double hook setup as illustrated below as well. Group pressure given that all the other captains use it or does it really work better? I don't know. Also note how thin these hooks are and how long the points are. They were developed and is also been made by Ali Al-harazi, in Kenia.

Image

The nice thing about stripe marlin is that they are relatively aggressive and don't need much to get them to feed and strike. In this case stripe baits and softies with less action will and works fine and I also though that this was the answer to Struisbaai. But the recent amount of reported black marlin as well as blues has had me thinking over the last year. Do you just swim strip baited lures and hope the black and blues are aggressive enough that day that they will feed on the strip softies as well or do change over to normal lures without strip baits for the action to excite the blacks and blues, that will also catch blacks and sails. I suppose the best will be a spread with a combination of both? perhaps the answer would be to fish normal lure on the corners and long rigger for their actions and strip baits on the short rigger and shotgun?

backline wrote:As for Black Bart, he comes with a pedigree so his advice is always worth listening to, altho the Aussies think he"s an outspoken yank and they would prefer to listen to their own heroes.

The funny thing is that one of their biggest heroes is Peter Pakula, but a read somewhere that Bart Miller helped him and gave input to his lure designs and that Peter thinks of him highly. The one advantage of Peter over Bart is that Peter fishes much the some type of water and boats that we do and he has some good advice as well. The other advantage is that both of these guys is that both of them are willing to listen and respond to your questions and they both publish a lot of tips and do a a lot of R&D to improve their product and share this information openly with you. I believe they both have very good lures (up ther in the top end lure range), but the one thing that sets Black Bart apart is amount of world wide experience that they draw on and incorporate into their design as well as the way in which you don't have to buy a new lure and hookset to get a different color, you just swap the skirts. One lure I would however buy without any thoughts of changing the skirts is a Pakulo Lumo meduim Sprocket on the short Rigger.
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Re: Lure selection and hook rig setup

Postby backline » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:05 pm

Ruan , have a look at Peter Pakula's 180 deg shackle rig its a gem. you can shackle different hooks to individual lures and u can use maybe 5 sets of hooks for 20 konas saving R50 per hook x 2 per Kona. and the unshackled konas dont tangle. If anyone wants to start out Marlin fishing I would suggest reading anything and everything Peter has written. I make all my own kona's with varying success and have just completed one which breathes every 3 secs at 5.5 kn which is too slow for marlin but great for tuna. Cant wait to try it at Struis as its a battle to get konas to swim properly at strip bait speed.
Also a lot of marlin are caught on squid/bird combos so I'll be pulling that one too.
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Re: Lure selection and hook rig setup

Postby Machann » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:53 am

Dave, I must give two books to read if, don't have them already, by Jim Rizzuto which I think you will enjoy on Kona lure making. Would love to see some of your lures at one point in time.

As for the 180 deg shackle rig, I also started fishing them for a while on some of my lures but have since moved away from them. I think you biggest advantage reducing the amount of hook steps, either through the shackle system or the by reducing the amount of lures and just changing skirts, is that you can spend more time per hook set when maintaining them and also reduces the amount of rigs that needs maintenance.

I would imagine that the lures will not tangle that much if the hooks are removed. One thing that has worked for me over the years is using a lure bag. I would meticulously go through the entire lure, from the crimps, leader, lure and hooks and if 100% satisfied, put the lure into zip lock bag and then put it into the lure bag. This way you know what lures has been used and only the lures that has been used is exposed to the elements and it also looks neat.

The reason why I moved away from the shackles is based on a few things (please guys, this is personal preference and not law). I firstly like to minimise the amount of things that can go wrong. Well I suppose crimp failure is perhaps more common than shackle failure but for me that is still just more link between the leader and hooks that can fail. Also, for me there is a fine line between tightening that screw just enough ensuring maximum strength (what it is suppose to be), over tightening inducing more strain on the shackle and reducing strength, and under tightening which can potentially cost you a hook set or that big fish.

Dave, perhaps you hookup rate, which is phenomenal, disproves my theory of why I like a hook setup as illustrated below, if you use the shackle rig. If you have a look at bill fish striking a lures, they always "knock" it. The more perpendicular the fish is to the lure and hook tip when they do it, the better and also the reason why I think the 5-7 second dropback is so effective, you have the fish more perpendicular to the lure and hook tip. But when a fish normally comes into the spread, its normally between 0 (straight behind the lure) and 30 degrees when it knocks the lure. Look at the example below. You can also learn a lot from watching videos.

Image

The looser and easier it is for the hook to move, the easier it is for a marlin to knock the hooks down when the bill strikes the hook. The disadvantage is that the hook points gets knock away from the hookup area, please note away and not in all instances out of. One way for me is to make the hook as stiff as possible and more resistant to movement is to connect the hook with the lure. So the hook stops basically not only keeps the hook upright, but also connects the hook to the lure. Even though this is just a little but, it still counts in you favor. For me the shackle rig still has to much play in it that is why I prefer setups like this. This is also just applicable to lures that is true and tracks true in the water with the minimum "rolling" as a result of it being off center or unbalanced.

Image

Talking about hooks, I think one if not thee most important thing with regards to hooks is sharp SHARP hooks! If the hooks doesn't dig into your nail if you rest it on it, it is not sharp enough. Replace or resharpen the hook. Please also remember that pulling a hook through the water reduces it sharpness over time. I would check a hook after each use and sharpen it if required. A trick that work well here is to use a permanent marker to color in the hook tip after sharpening, this way you know what hooks has been sharpened. You can also color in the entire hook, this will help you to identify where the marlin "knocked" knocked the hook if you didn't hook up in some instances.

Perhaps one more tip with regards to the feared snap swivels. Yes, given the right circumstances, they can open when fighting a fish or the most common mistake, the guy connecting lure never closes the clip. The solution is attach a piece of thin copper wire to the clip roughly 120mm long so you can get the wire a few times around the area where the clip hooks onto itself. This not only helps with keeping the clip closed, but it will also force the guy attaching the lure to close the clip. I also further place a a small skirt (+-70mm) on the wind on leader just above the clip. This not only covers and hides the clip when it does track through the water, but also protect the top guide when you do roll the clip into the guide.

Guys, please as already mentioned, this is what works for me (and I'm not a pro) and I would like to thank Dave and Tim as well as the rest of you guys that will also contribute. The best is to learn as much as you can and apply what you are comfortable with.

“The beauty of fishing is that there is really no right or wrong, there are however some methods that have proven to be more effective than others. The most important thing is what you believe and have confidence in.”.
Machann
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:09 pm
Best catch: 43kg Rooisteenbras

Re: Lure selection and hook rig setup

Postby Machann » Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:06 am

Machann
 
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