Marlin Lure Spread
What is a marlin lure spread? Is that something you put on a cracker? Joking, of course. How do you set up a proper spread? In what order do you put out your lures and for that matter, what lures should you use in your spread? Let's say you are able to drop a number of lures back and are now dragging them behind your boat, what is the best course of action for fine tuning your marlin lure spread?
Questions, lots of questions arise when discussing how best to manage a group of lures set out to attract blue marlin. What are your first considerations? This is a hotly debated topic and one with more viewpoints than probably necessary. Everybody has different lures they prefer. It is hard to discern who is right and where to start. My approach has always been to pick the brains of fishermen that achieved exalted levels of success catching lots of fish and really big fish. These are the guys that I want to learn from. Because, if you are going to learn from someone, you kind of want to learn from someone that has a proven track record of success.
I have had the fortune of being able to fish a wide variety of outstanding big game fishing destinations around the world with some of the best captains, mates and anglers on the water. My journey has taken me from Madeira to Hawaii, Australia, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and Africa. I don't say that to brag, but rather to substantiate my opinion that the exchange of knowledge is fundamental to ones growth. You need to gather as many viewpoints as possible and then formulate your own perspective. The fishermen that I learned about marlin fishing from are some of the best of the best. I spent countless days on the ocean with them trolling lures in search of giant fish. I wanted to know everything they did and why. Why is the key question. The why provides deeper insight into the wisdom these great fishermen developed catching tons of marlin.
There are a lot of variables that go into a marlin lure spread and it can be a tad daunting trying to figure it all out. That is the primary reason In The Spread exists is to help you achieve a level a clarity with your fishing. I go out and gather the knowledge to share with you, so you then become a smarter or at least more aware angler.
The first place you start in the pursuit of understanding more about marlin fishing is with your boat. What kind of boat do yo have? Do you have a center console or a sport yacht? Are you utilizing outriggers or running your lines from rod holders? What kind of prop wash does your boat create? Where are the lanes of clean water? The questions compile. I have caught big marlin fishing on 30 foot center consoles in Central America and big sport fishing yachts in the Caribbean and eastern Atlantic. You just need to get your spread right and you will catch fish.
Regardless of the boat you have, the fundamentals remain the same. You want to place an assortment of lures behind your boat that closely resembles a bait school on the run. The boat will be the first attractant. The sound of the engines and the harmonic hum of your boats hull will be the first thing that a marlin senses. Now, some boats vibrate at a given level that seems to attract more fish, but hey, we can't all go out and get those boats. Let's deal with what you have. Run your boat and look at the prop wash. See the waves that are created behind it. Those lanes or areas of clean water is where you want you lures.
When selecting lures, be sure to buy lures from the absolute best. Lure craftsmen that spend a lot of time fishing and that are meticulous about their art will serve you best. The lure head shapes you run will be largely determined by the type of seas you will be fishing. Calm water and rough water require a little bit different lure shapes. Of course, it is important to have a selection of lure that will perform in a variety of sea conditions. The best advice I can give you for choosing lure head shapes, aside from just pulling them behind you boat and watching how they swim, is to watch our Marlin Fishing Videos and our Saltwater Fishing Lures videos. They is just a ton of well articulated information at your avail featuring some of the best marlin fishermen from different corners of the world.
Let's take a look at marlin lure spread basics. You have a long and short lure position on each side of your prop wash. I will operate this discussion under the assumption that you are running a five lure spread. The lures are staggered to form a sort of bait school shape behind your boat. Your boat is that primary teaser, then you have two short positions, two long positions and a shotgun position, which is way back down the middle of your spread. The trick is which wave to you place each lure on and where on the given waves do you run the lures.
When you are setting your lures, the first one you want to put out is your closest lure. You can then regulate your speed based on what that lure is doing and then work your spread around the first lure. You will save a lot of time if you get the first lure running right, base on your speed and sea conditions. Another consideration when placing that first lure is where it is swimming on the wave. It is easier for a marlin to eat a lure that is swimming under the water than it is if it is skipping across the surface. Most good lures are design to cycle at a certain rate. What that means is the lure will grab water and dive down for a few seconds and then rise up to the surface and pop water before diving back down. This is the cycle, diving and rising. How long the lure stays down is important. You can see more about this in our Offshore Fishing for Blue Marlin video with David Brackmann. As David explains, the marlin will have a better chance of eating the lure if it can track the lure below the surface.
Where should each bait should go in your marlin lure spread? Well, as we mentioned earlier, the first lure in is your short corner. This will be your biggest lure. You want something dark that will give off a solid profile. This lure will go on wave number two. On the opposite side of the boat will be your long corner on wave three. Back to the side with your short corner will be your short rigger on the fourth wave. On the other side will be your long rigger lure on the fifth wave. Way back on wave seven will be your shotgun lure. You do not want something aggressive here. Something that tracks smoothly through the water is ideal. A bullet head or jet head works well.
The exact lures you use in each position is open to debate. There are many excellent lure manufacturers. Some of the best lures I have fished with come from Andy Moyes and his Big Game Tactical, Joe Yee, Marlin Magic, Big T and Black Bart. You can make your own selections. The general type of lure for each wave will also be influenced by sea conditions. Heavier seas require more aggressive lures to stay in the water. I will layout a basic setup. On the short corner position, a larger, darker lure that stands out in the white water is ideal. For the long corner, you can go with a straight runner. Something with a longer head like a plunger works well. The short rigger is a good spot for an aggressive lure. A lure with a concave face or a pear shaped head that really digs creating lots of sound is a solid choice. You can even use a bigger plunger for the short rigger. Your long rigger gives you a lot more room to maneuver. You do not need to be as selective. You will want something with nice swimming action. Tube shaped lures work really well on the long rigger.
There are a lot of other variables to consider when setting up a marlin lure spread. How you rig your marlin lures is apart of the game. Your leaders and terminal connections need to be right. So, before a lure goes into the water, you need to think through several variables other than just the spread. All of our saltwater fishing lures and marlin fishing videos go into great detail on every aspect of selecting lures, skirting choices, rigging lures, what to fish in different sea conditions, leaders and hooks.
I cannot recommend the Offshore Fishing for Blue Marlin video enough. This will serve as your primer on marlin spreads and how to set one up and manage all the intricacies that go into running them. The desire to achieve more is grounded in obtaining more knowledge. We are here to help in that vein. It all comes down to fishing with confidence. When you are confident in your fishing, you will catch more fish.
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