Rigging Ballyhoo | Trolling Baits | In The Spread Fishing
The ballyhoo or garfish, as they are known in some parts of the world, is fished more than any other bait worldwide for billfish. They are also used for trolling nearshore waters for a variety of gamefish species and even deep dropped for swordfish. This super versatile baitfish is one that you really need to know how to rig. Not every angler is into rigging ballyhoo on their own and would rather buy their baits from a tackle shop.
If you are the type of fisherman that wants to know the ins and outs of rigging ballyhoo, In The Spread has answers for you. As the standard on most charter, tournament and any high level fishing boats, knowing how to rig ballyhoo will only benefit your overall fishing knowledge. Even if you are a weekend warrior or occasional fisherman that spends any amount of time trolling baits, you really need to know a one solid method for rigging ballyhoo or multiple rigging methods, if that is your desire.
I am not going to kid you, the best way to learn tips and techniques for rigging ballyhoo is to watch pros do it. Teaching you how to rig ballyhoo one way, much less several ways, is not the easiest thing to do with the written word. What In The Spread can offer you is a number of high level instructional videos that go into great detail on rigging ballyhoo. This article will help you think through the tools and tackle you will need, when you are ready to start. The instructors we do offer in our videos have been rigging baits for years at the competition level. That means they have rigged thousands of baits and know every nuance that someone eager to learn would need to know. We also feature fishermen from different corners of the world, so you can get a breadth of perspective. Hey, not everyone rigs the same way. The one common thread is catching fish.
Catching lots of fish with baits comes down to the quality of your baits and rigs. Rigging ballyhoo may involve several steps, but is not that hard. Sure, there are some garfish rigs that are more technical, but you can easily master a few good rigs for different applications. Before you start rigging, you need to know a bit more about the tools and tackle you will need and how to select good baits to rig.
Depending on the species you are targeting, the precise tackle can vary. With that said, you can learn more about the particulars in our videos. The first thing you will need are hooks. You will need J Hooks and circle hooks in the 7/0 - 9/0 size range. The size of your ballyhoo and the gamefish you are fishing for is a factor with the hooks. A file to sharpen you hooks should be handy. Swivels, o-rings, stainless rigging wire and waxed floss should be in your kit. 30 lb swivels are good. Consider having 35 lb and 50 lb floss. The bigger the ballyhoo, the bigger the rigging floss you will need. Leads are widely used, so having 1/8, ¼ and ½ ounce leads is important. The faster you troll, the heavier your lead will need to be. You should also have an assortment of skirting materials. Squid skirts, Moldcraft chugger heads and flatheads, mylar, sea fans and sea witches should also be apart of your arsenal. Your baits may need to get dressed up for the party. Fluorocarbon in the 30-80 lb range is good to have, as well as 150 lb monofilament.
Your tackle kit should be adorned with flat pliers, needle nose pliers, crimping pliers, a pair of dikes and mono cutters. These are pretty standard items to have. A set of rigging needles is required. A closed eye needle is best for rigging ballyhoo. Another interesting tool to have is a section of hunting arrow. Huh! Yep. This is a great tool for removing the eyes.
Rigging your baits well is obvious. You must rig right if you want to get tight. Sloppy bait rigs will not serve you well. One of the biggest factors in well rigged baits is the actual bait itself. You need to start with the absolute best quality ballyhoo that you can get your hands on. When you find good bait, stock up on it, if you fish a lot.
So, what should you look for when selecting ballyhoo? There are few critical observations you should make when examining the baits. The bait should have a blue green hue on its back. If the garfish is too blue, it will not hold up when trolling. The tail fins should have an orange coloration. The eyes should be clear and not foggy. The stomach area should be firm. The beak of the ballyhoo should be intact and not broken. You want a full beak. One consideration to keep in mind, as the weather heats up the quality of the bait diminishes. That is why you want to stock up when good bait is plentiful. These guys store very well in the freezer. To reiterate, when picking ballyhoo, whether small, medium, select or horse, pick the best. Look at the color, scales, bill and tail of the fish.
If you want the step-by-step procedures for rigging ballyhoo, please check out Rigging Ballyhoo Aussie Style to learn how to rig general purpose trolling ballyhoo with a snub leaders for quick change out after a bite. For a more in-depth presentation on how to rig ballyhoo eight different ways you can watch Rigging Ballyhoo for Offshore Fishing. You will see the swivel rig ballyhoo for circle hook, the o-ring ballyhoo rig for circle hook, the floss rig ballyhoo for circle hook, the 0-ring ballyhoo for circle hook with mylar, the Hooker style ballyhoo bait, the split bill swimming ballyhoo with J Hook, the pin rig ballyhoo skipping bait and the double hooked ballyhoo with pin rig. There is so much detail in these videos. You will learn more than you probably will ever need from these videos, but you will be well in your way to tournament level bait rigging and some great fishing.
As with any kind of bait rigging, practice makes perfect. We have brought you some of the best fishermen from around the world to show you how to rig ballyhoo their way. Our goal, as always, is to provide you with the very best information, so you can become the very best fishermen possible. Learning is fundamental to growth.