How to Rig Offshore Trolling Lures

September 18, 2020
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Rigging offshore trolling lures involves considering design factors like head shape, skirt, and weight. Learners should seek out successful fishermen to learn how to rig lures. Videos can provide a first-person experience and help visualize the multi-step process. By talking to successful fishermen, one can learn how to rig lures and ensure they produce bites.

If you are interested in how to rig offshore trolling lures, well then, let's just say there are a lot of ways to go about it. To answer this, a bit of context is needed. What are you really interested in learning? Do you just want to add hooks to lure, add a skirt to a lure head or both? When I had the very same questions on rigging trolling lures, my natural inclination was to seek out fishermen that absolutely dominate a marlin fishery. I came at all of this from a marlin fishing perspective and ended up learning about that, plus sailfish and tuna. What I am going to address here is rigging lures for billfish, primarily blue marlin.

When I think about “offshore trolling lures”, what comes to mind is a skirted lure that swims based on the head design and skirt. The lure head shape will drive how the lure swims and the skirt helps keep it from blowing out and swimming too erratically. Think of the skirt in the same way that you would a tail attached to a kite. The tail helps add weight and drag, which stabilizes the kite in flight. This is precisely what a lure skirt does. So, you have to take all of these design factors into play when thinking about rigging offshore trolling lures.

I know it is somewhat problematic to learn how to rig offshore trolling lures by reading an article. A visual is far more helpful when it comes to learning. Our videos make it much more conducive for instruction and learning. It gives you a first person experience. You really need to see someone doing the rigging. Being able to visualize this multi-step process is a must. When I learned how to do it decades ago, I sought out guys that had achieved truck loads of success catching marlin. I talk to them. I sat down with them and watched what they were doing and asked questions along the way. Then I went out and bought all the tackle and lures I could and started rigging. Then I fished my lures to see if they would produce bites. They damn sure did.

Rigging trolling lures can seen daunting, at first. It doesn't have to be. In order to help you along your journey of lure rigging discovery, I started In The Spread. Rigging a Joe Yee plunger really was my very first video. Once the fuse was lite, videos started rolling out left and right. In our lure rigging library, you will find several elite big game fishermen discussing lures, head shape designs, how they swim, in what seas you should run them, how to skirt various lure heads, assembling single and double hook rigs, how to add the hook rig and the lure, leaders for different lure sizes, all the terminal tackle and rigs, colors and a ton of knowledge about marling fishing. All the guys I filmed with have had huge success all over the world, so they know a thing or twenty. Needless to say, the amount of lure knowledge on display is unrivaled for a fishing video site. After you watch our lure videos, you will damn near have a PHD in trolling lures and rigging techniques.

The combination of hooks, hook rigs, cable or mono or both, heat shrink tubing, crimps, crimping tools, chafe gear, spacing beads, glue, tooth picks, lure stoppers, not to boot all the various sizes of each of these things make for a long list. What you are fishing for, how big a fish you are after and the size lure you are using are all determinants. The influences are many. But, if you learn sound rigging principles, then you can scale up or down in size of tackle easily.

When you get down to actually preparing to rig, you will need all the lure and all the rigging components handy. In The Spread videos itemize each and every tool you should have on hand to rig and break down which lure shape to run in each position of your spread, based on sea condition. As I stated previously, there are myriad ways to rig lures. What I suggest is watch and learn with our lure rigging videos. To know more about every recommended ingredient for rigging offshore trolling lures, visit our Saltwater Fishing Lures or Marlin Fishing Videos libraries.

Here is a list of rigging tools you need to make the rig:

heat gun

crimping tools

lighter to mushroom the end of the mono

permanent marker

file to sharpen hooks


mono cutters

cable cutters

rigging floss

lubricant to help get you skirts over the lure head

hooks of choice

shrink tube

copper crimps for cable and mono 480, 600, 900 lb

electrical tape

cable in 480, 600 and 900 lb


hook stopper

chafe tubing

variety of skirts in a number of sizes

lure heads

aluminum crimps for monofilament


The size of your lure and specifically the size of the head will determine your hook size. The idea is that your lure head should be relatively the same size as the gape of your hook. If you use the wrong size hook, your lures swimming action and hookup ratio will suffer. One of the more hotly debated aspects of rigging offshore lures has to do with whether you run a single hook rig or a double hook rig. Both are widely used and will catch fish. The double hook rig is a little more dangerous, but handled smartly, there should be few problems. A very important considerations is where you position the hook in the skirt.

The lures that you decide to troll need to be chosen based on the prevailing sea conditions you fish. If you watch our video with either Andy Moyes, David Brackmann or Roddy Hays, you will learn about which lure shapes run best in different sea conditions. One word of advice about buying lures, start with a good lure. Buy designs from folks that know what they are doing. You may pay more, but quality is critical. There are just a shit ton of poorly made lures out there. A few excellent options would be Moyes Big Game Tactical, Aloha Lures, Joe Yee Lures, Black Bart, Marlin Magic and Big T. There are several great designers out there, so do your research and buy wisely. If you want to know how to add or change skirts on lures, you can watch our videos to learn every step of skirting. Skirts and skirting can be tricky, so learning a few pro level tips will help your lures run much better. One of the key things to look for in a skirted lure is over-skirting. What? Yes. Learn about that in our Offshore Fishing for Blue Marlin video with David Brackmann.

In order to teach you how to rig offshore trolling lures with enough specificity, I would have to write an article so long, I would run out of space. This is especially true when you can watch our videos and learn from truly great big game fishermen. Take the time to peruse our videos and you will find a huge amount of knowledge being shared.

Watch Marlin Fishing and Lure Rigging Videos now to become a pro.

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