Trolling is one of the most popular fishing methods because it allows you to cover a lot of ground, and with the advances in fish-finding technology, anglers do not have to stick around the places where the fish are not. Ballyhoo are widely renowned as some of the best bait around. So trolling and ballyhoo are a perfect match. But when you are doing a lot of trolling, the one thing that can slow you down is fouling up your fishing lines with weeds. Let’s talk about how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling.
The Game Is Rigged
Hop up on the internet and look for ballyhoo. You’ll find that the second sentence of its Wikipedia entry says ballyhoo are commonly used for bait for saltwater anglers. That’s how you know ballyhoo is one of the most popular baitfish around.
Before we go into how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling, it’s important to make the note that this baitfish is best used for sporting purposes, not for catching dinner.
Although just using it as bait might be okay, some folks have reported getting a fish-borne food poisoning. And if you get food poisoning, rigging up some more ballyhoo is gonna be the last thing on your mind. So you might want to do a little bit of reading on all the species of fish that you plan to eat on your fishing adventures.
These days catch and release fishing is one of the most popular methods for sporting anglers; and matching wits with a fish (mismatch in brain size notwithstanding) can be a rewarding pursuit. Part of that is learning how to rig up bait and do it the right way. Your new skill will make sure that you get to spend more time with your bait in the water. Which is what this is all about, right?
The Wide Sargasso Sea
It’s universally known that flotsam, jetsam, and vegetation provide are a favorite hangout of almost all fish, rivaled only by the deep scattering layer around a thousand meters below the surface.
So that makes a sound argument for fishing around sargasso and other sea vegetation. But of course, with that comes the worry of getting your gear all fouled up. So here’s some guidance on how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling.
According to George Poveros’ world of saltware fishing, there are some tried and true methods with a very helpful infographic that will get you out of the weeds. So to speak.
Just Say No to Weeds
This might not be entirely for beginners, so don’t be afraid to do some extra research if there are terms that you’re not familiar with.
For example, this tutorial how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling will require you to know a loop knot is.
Don’t get knotted up: google around for a quick refresher on your fishing vocabulary and that will probably make your life easier. Anyhow: let’s get started on how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling.
Pin It Down
You will make a “ballyhoo pin rig”. You want to join the leader to the eye of the hook with a loop knot. The extra line protruding, (known as the tag) would need to be pointing down, toward the hook, and not up toward the line.
On a traditional pin rig, the tag is often facing up, but since we are tackling how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling, we’re going to need different methods to be successful.
You’ll also need some wire wrapped around the leader, running through the loop with the hook on it that you tied in the previous step. Basic! You got this. Check out the illustrations by clicking the link if necessary.
Octopus, No Garden
In order to get through the weedy vegetation where fish love to hang out, your bait will need some protection. And here’s where you’ll do a little bit of tailoring to make this happen.
Grab your favorite octopus style skirt that you don’t mind experimenting with (you’ll want to have two).
Now cut a hole through the top of head of the octopus so you can slide the skirt on to the lure, providing cover for the hook. This is the barebones set up you want when you’re thinking about how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling.
What’s All the Ballyhoo About
Here’s where the ballyhoo comes in. Some folks like to catch their own ballyhoo (so I’ll give you some quick guidance here.
After all ballyhoo from the store can cost you an arm and a leg and we want you to keep your appendages metaphorical or otherwise.
Start with a cast net (3/4 inch is definitely best), then get your chum and chum bag going. Get yourself some geographical contour (like a reef or a wreck) with some steady current. Get yourself aligned so the ballyhoos are headed toward your transom, and when they’re in netting distance, scoop ‘em up like some Ben n Jerrys.
Okay, back on topic: how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling.
Threading the Hook, Not Needle
This requires a bit of finesse. Get the tip of the hook into the ballyhoo’s throat latch; and don’t stop there. You want the hook all the way through so that the leader, tag, and some of the wire are inside the ballyhoo. Then you’ll want to REVERSE the hook, (pointing back to the fish itself) and hook it into its belly, concealing the point of the hook inside the ballyhoo.
Make it Snappy
So the hook is well positioned. Now you’ll begin to tidy up the ballyhoo. Push the tag, the extra leader that you had facing up toward the hook, through the center of the ballyhoo’s jaws (yes, both of ‘em). With that secured, snap off the ballyhoo beak; you’ll need that space later.
Send the Wire
You’ll take the wire (you probably chose a kind you can easily manipulate, cause you’re smart like that), and run it through the ballyhoo’s eye. Wrap it 3 times BEFORE the tag (closer to the ballyhoo’s head and then wrap it till it terminates on the other side of the tag, till it’s wound up tidily and looks clean.
Tag Em and Bag Em
Snip the tag off, and you’ve got 90% of how to rig weedless ballyhoo covered. Sensational. Grab the aforementioned octopus skirt, and slide that skirt right over the ballyhoo’s where its beak would’ve been.
Put Your Finger on the Scale
You want to make sure that when you get a good bite, that the hook has a chance to set in the fish that strikes it. So carefully de-scale the ballyhoo all around wherever the hook is in the ballyhoo’s belly.
The next thing that you will want to do is get another one of those octopi skirts out. You are going to again cut a hole through the top of it and slide it down, this time over the snap swivel.
Maybe this octopus is a bit smaller than the last one. The genius here, is that while making sure the snap swivel doesn’t foul by protecting it with the octopus skirt, you’re also showing fish the illusion that your ballyhoo is chasing a smaller fish!
For Your Eyes Only
The last trick we’ll tell you here about how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling is to make sure you puncture the eyes of th ballyhoo. At trolling speeds, if you aren’t giving the water pressure somewhere to go, they eyes can bulge, and muck up how the ballyhoo looks when it’s “swimming”. Not cool, after all the work you’ve put into learn how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling.
But with that final step, and equipped with your own imagination, you’ve got a rock-solid start, and you yourself can start giving lessons on how to rig weedless ballyhoo for trolling. Happy fishing!
Although they are no good to eat as some folks have reported