dredge pulley setup in the spread fishing
Dec 28, 2020

Dredge Pulley Setup

The thing about dredge fishing that fishermen struggle with the most is the dredge pulley setup. This is what allows you to deploy and retrieve your dredges without applying undue stress to your tackle. If you take a look at the picture above, you will see the basics of how the dredge pulley system works. Once you have a chance to see the pulley system diagram and then fish it, it will make a lot more sense and become easy to utilize.

If you are interested in fishing with dredges or already are, then you know fishing dredges have revolutionized how you fish for billfish, like no other innovation. From sailfish to blue marlin, black marlin, white marlin, striped marlin and even tuna, dredges are being pulled behind boats around the world. Dredges are giant teasers meant to mimic a bait school.

Being a giant teaser, you do not want a fish to attack it. You want to attract a billfish with the dredge, but then switch the fish off of the dredge to a hooked bait. The process for moving a single dredge or multiple dredges is key to managing your spread. You sure as hell don't want to do this by hand. You need dedicated dredge rods and reels. The best way is to utilize electric reels with lines run through outriggers. To decrease the amount of drag on your reels and outriggers is to incorporate pulleys.

Modern dredges are made of stainless steel or titanium and pull all sorts of artificial lures, rigged dead baits or a combination of both. You can have up to four dozen baits or more on a dredge. With all these components and baits combined to create the impression a bait school comes weight and resistance in the water. The by-product and problem you run into is the amount of drag exerted on your tackle by pulling these bigger more sophisticated dredges behind your boat. How you get them out of the water when a fish comes up in the spread is the concern.

If you understand how pulleys work to decrease load, you will understand why using them with your dredge setup will dramatically improve your ability to move your fishing dredges. A pulley is just a simple machine that can be used to change the direction of applied forces and move heavy objects. The powerful mechanical advantages of using a multiple-pulley system to deploy and retrieve dredges greatly diminishes the amount of exerted force on your dredge reels and rods.

What you are doing with your dredge pulley setup, if you follow the diagram at the top, is running the line from your electric dredge reel through a pulley on your outrigger to another pulley that is attached to the dredge and back to your outrigger. This allows you to move the dredge with far less pressure on the reel. You can tease fish closer to the boat for the switch off to your hooked bait. An electric reel is by far your best option, as you can hit the retrieve button and quickly manipulate the position of the dredge. Drop it back, pull it forward. The process becomes a lot easier once you see it in action. If you want to see how this works, watch our dredge fishing video. You can also see Bill Pino of Squidnation, a leader in dredge fishing, talk dredges and more in our Dredge Fishing for Sailfish video. Explaining this in an article can be confusing. The diagrams help, but seeing the setup in operation will really help you understand how all the moving pieces work together.

Seth Horne


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