There are lots of prepared baits and expensive riggingtechniques. Here's a method that has done well for me over the years.
Time Required: 3 minutes
- Use fresh or recently thawed whole ballyhoo - all sizes but the horse variety work well.
- On the eye of your 7/0 or 8/0 O'Shaunesy type hook, wrap a piece of thin copper lashing wire, leaving about 8 to 10 inches of tag end hanging. Do this on every leader you make.
- Holding the 'hoo in one hand and the hook in the other, insert the hook under the gills, into the stomach and down the length of the "hoo as far as it will reach. The "hoo will actually try to bend around the bight of the hook a little.
- Push the point of the hook through the stomach of the 'hoo and line the shank of the hook up under the gill plate next to the mouth. The leader will now be coming out and along the bill of the bait
- Position the hook and leader so that the bait is straight and flat, and the hook is properly exiting the belly.
- Hold the bait in one hand with the hook and leader in proper position and begin wrapping the hanging copper lashing wire around the mouth, leader and bill of the bait.
- Make tight wraps half-way out the length of the bill and back. Break off the outer half of the bill and finish off the wraps.
- Test the bait in the water next to the boat as you troll to insure that it does not twist or twirl. Make adjustments as necessary.
- Set the bait out about 20 or 30 yards behind the prop-wash, skipping the surface, and be prepared to scream "Fish on!".
- When using wire leaders, be prepared to change leaders on a larger fish (mahi mahi). Kinks and bends at the hook make this method more difficult without a straight leader.
- Look for fresh ballyhoo whenever possible.
- Consider keeping your ballyhoo in an icy salt brine overnight prior to fishing and even during the day while you fish. The salt and cold firms them and keeps them "shiny" fresh.