Pulling Lures - How To Select the right lure for your application

Fishing Equipment and Accessories

Boat Accessories - Fishing Equipment


part II | (By Ryan Willliamson)

Choosing the right lure for your application

Parts of this Issues - SKI-BOAT

start enjoying the art of pulling lures




This is one of the original styles of marlin lures that were imported into our country during the early 1960s long before I was born. Whether or not they caught fish is debatable, but in today's world they wouldn't stay in any spread for long.


This lure was ostensibly designed in Hawaii, as its name sug- gests. for targeting the big blue marlin off these islands. They had a heavy cone-shaped head with a lot of lead embedded in clear GRP. sporting a concave or flat chisel-head face.

The idea was to make this Jure dive like today s bibbed lures and then break its dive by exerting excessive tension which would get it to come shooting out of the water. It was said that this simulated small bonito. darting and diving on the ocean's surface. It caught some good fish but was not an easy lure to troll and has lost popularity.

Modern styles

of lures

That was in the old days. The newer styles of lures shown below have not only proven themselves in the hottest marlin fishing grounds of the world, but have worked equally well in South African waters.


- Tracks very straight and can be trolled at higher speeds.
- Constant, straight bubble trail.
- Flat-heads tend to dive deeper.
- Should pop or "breathe" every three to four seconds for best results.
- Can be trolled in rough to moderate sea conditions.


- Fulled from an off-centre point, which creates a very dis- tinctive, almost erratic action with lots of commotion.
- Throws a "crab-walk" bubble trail.
- Imitates smaller baitfish species due to the erratic move- ment in water.
- Does not dive as deep as other lures, and spends most of its time on the surface.
- Suited for trolling in calm to moderate sea conditions.
- Also effective at lower speeds.


-Makes a wide bubble trail due to its 45 degree slanted head.
-Sprays water to the sides as well as into the air.
-Attracts bigger marlin due to the pronounced bubble trail.
-Breaks the surface in a breathing motion, then dives under to shake and smoke, throwing spray each time it resurfaces.
-It is known to go from side-to-side, but is not as erratic as an off-centre lure.
-Can be trolled in calm to moderate sea conditions.


- This type will track dead-straight due to its unique shape and balance.
- Dives deeper than any slanted or off-centre head.
- The concave head creates a massive bubble trail as it dives deep down, shaking and compressing the trapped air in its head before resurfacing to breathe again.
- Effective in all sea conditions.
- Easy to setup as it performs well in all positions.

- Natural feel when a fish strikes the lure, which entices the fish to come back again and again.
- Fish can bite harder onto these lures, thus increasing penetration of the hook, resulting in higher hookup ratios.
- Use of the highest quality materials results in unbelievably clear and durable heads. The genuine abalone inserts visi- ble inside the clear head contribute to the lifelike appearance in saltwater.


- Available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- They are quite heavy, so can therefore be trolled at much higher speeds.
- Perform well in rough sea conditions.
- The high-quality chrome finish with resultant "flash" attracts wahoo and tuna.
- The lure's large mouth allows for air and water to enter. The water and air are then compressed and expelled from the small outlets at the rear of the lure.


part III


The best lure to pull from the flat line is the off-centre lure. As this lure is being pulled from an off-centre point on the front of the lure, it has a very erratic action, both laterally and vertically. It dives below the water's surface, only to then rush to the surface where it pops out as if gasping for air before shaking violently and recommencing its erratic swing. It is vital that a lot of pressure or drag is placed on this lure during its lateral zigzag motion, before being jerked to the surface to once again continue on its zigzag path. This lure's behaviour should be corelated with the "one ... two pop" counted fairly slowly by the skipper. This will result in this style of lure popping out of the water every four or five seconds, which is ideal for this lure. If this is not hap- pening. you must either adjust your speed or lower the angle of your Hat line by using an elastic band to make the line run from the rod tip down to the reel handle and then to the lure. This lure is particularly effective at slower troll speeds and in calm to moderate seas.


Flat-head or cup-front lures are the best lures to run from the short rigger position. Not only do they track very straight, but they can also be pulled at fairly fast speeds. Both these styles tend to dive just below the water's surface, with the cup-front diving deeper than the flat-head before shooting to the sur- face to breathe. On their run below the water's surface, both lures but particularly the cup-front lure will shake and compress the trapped air, setting up a trail of bubbles. The same theory of the "one .. two .. pop" must also apply to these lures to check if they are working in the spread. If the action is not considered correct, you have two ways to fix this to achieve the desired action. Firstly, you can either marginally pull in or let out the lure running in the short rig- ger position. This will marginally affect the pull-point of the lure, thereby affecting its performance. Secondly, you can leave the lure at the same distance behind your boat especially if you have found a patch of clear water in which to run the lure and simply adjust your pull-point on the lure by raising or lowering the height of the outrigger clip.


The big slant-head lures are the ones to use in this position, traditionally called the long rigger position. As this lure is normally the furthest out (aside from the Hong Kong-positioned lure which is not often used when one is targeting big marlin). it not only has to provide its own action. but also, more importantly, it needs to produce a lot of spray and bubbles to exaggerate the size of the lure. Indeed, it is the big lure throwing a massive envelope of bubbles and spray that generally entices the big mamma mar- lin to attack it. This style of lure, pulled from the long rigger position, has been responsi- ble for hooking most of the really big marlin landed world- wide on lures. From the slope of this lure's head one might initially think it would dive significantly, but that is not the case because a heavy lead keel is built in at the underside of the lure's head. This tends to make the lure troll so that the lip unlike that of a bibbed lure does not pull the lure deep into the water, but rather encourages it to stay on the top. At the same time it shakes its head from side to side as it catches and displaces water, all the while throwing up an enormous bulge of spray and bubbles. It is essential that this slant-headed lure doesn't jump, because by doing that it will break up and perhaps totally rid itself of the bubble trail and the spray it has built up. Correctly positioning the lure by adjusting boat speed, the height of the outrigger clip/tag line to the pull-point and the lure's distance behind the boat will enable you to get these big lures to swim properly.

CENTRE RIGGER - HONG KONG Use this position if you want to have a lure far behind the craft and out of the disturbance and wake created by the boat. This position is generally not used when fishing for big marlin. but is used extensively when fishing for sailfish and striped marlin. The main reason that it is not often used is that when you hook up on a really big fish, clearing the multi- tude of lines becomes a critical operation. This is further complicated if you have to clear the deck of six of the seven lures in the spread. Top charter skippers targeting big blue marlin very often pull no more than four lines two in the short rigger position and two in the long rigger position. Another factor to keep in mind when pulling a lure in the Hong Kong position is that it generally needs to follow a big "bird" ahead of it on the leader. This is used to ensure that the pull-point on the trolled lure is virtually flat on the water, thereby enabling one to pull a jethead or cup-front lure far back and still get it to swim properly. If you were using a flat-head or cup-front far back without the bird, the lure would be pulled from a very high trajectory and would merely bounce along the surface with no action. Consequently, it would be of little use in the spread.


In rough seas, where one's craft is virtually unable to maintain a steady SOW (speed over water) here we are talking wind speeds in excess of 20 knots use a flat-head or cup-front in any position and control the action by altering the craft's speed. Also note that little is achieved pulling lures in very rough seas when trolling directly into the sea or directly with the sea. Use a beam sea course where possible in an attempt to retain a constant SOW. which in turn ensures that the lures will travel through the water at a constant velocity. A free- swimming baitfish never swims with a backward-forward jerk- ing motion, so if your lure does that, no self-respecting marlin will fall for it. Another crucial aspect is deciding where to place the lures in the spread. "Running down the front of the third wake wave" has been the rule of thumb for years. However, if one carefully watches the wake behind the boat, one will notice that in a certain position a "hole" of clear water is pushed to the surface, especially in the flat line and short rig- ger positions. Ideally, one's lures need to be pulled in these holes. Often in strong winds this hole will only manifest on the windward side of the spread. Use it and be prepared for the leeward lures to run in the white water that cannot be helped. When I was fishing Allure a 42ft Bertram with shaft drives I pulled my lures a lot closer than I am doing now that I have Pulsator; a 9m Mallards monohull, powered by outboard motors. I sincerely hope that the information in these articles will help produce more marlin strikes on trolled lures for you in the upcoming marlin season in South Africa.

By Ryan Willliamson

published: in the September/October 2009 issue of SKI-BOAT.

Read the full story of PULLING LURES/Ski-Boat Magazine parts 2 and 3 >>

Secrets of FLORIDA'S Sailfish Pros

Tournament-Winning Tactics for Your Next Competition

BY STEVE WATERS (SportFishingMag - www.sportfishingmag.com)

The clock was counting down in the Cheeca Presi- dential Sailfish Tournament, and the Wound Up fishing team needed to catch some sailfish to have a chance at winning the prestigious Florida Keys event. It had been a slow clay for the battle- tested Miami team, but Capt. John Louie Dudas and his crew never gave up hope as they fished in the midst of the tourna- ment fleet. Suddenly, Dudas noticed that a boat away from the pack was hooked up. He immediately hit the throttles, which sent his crew scrambling to reel in the lines. "We ran to where we thought the fish would be," Dudas says. "Within three or four minutes, we had four sailfish up and caught three. Then, we moved again, thinking that the fish were going west. A few minutes later we got a triple-header and caught all three."


Wound Up caught and released eight sailfish in a 90-minute span to win the tournament. "That's the way it can happen,'' Dudas says. "We never feel like we're out of it till it's over." Whether you're out to win your club's sailfish tournament or just out to show a friend or relative a good time, know that persistence truly matters in the success that Dudas and other top sailfish- tournament captains enjoy - especially when hooking two, three or more sailfish at a time can change your tally within a few frenzied minutes. Dudas, who has won countless tourna- ments and hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money, says he learned early on to stay focused and try hard no matter what the task. "We're constantly thinking all day and never letting up," he says. "You can hear people throw in the towel [on the VHF radio]. If you keep trying, most of the time good things are going to happen to you."


To persistence, add hard work as an element key to the consistent tournament- winning strategy of top teams. The hard work starts before a tournament when captains make sure they get the test bait possible.

For those who use live bait, that means stockpiling a variety of baitfish in pens. For those who fish in tournaments that allow only dead bait, that means getting the freshest bait possible. "We fish all fresh mullet and ballyhoo." says capt. Glenn Cameron of Fort Pierce, Florida, whose boat, Floridian, has domi- nated Treasure Coast sailfish tournaments for the past several years. "The fresher, the better. The better live-bait tournament crews have the freshest bait, and it's the same with the dead-bait guys.

"A lot of anglers think 'fresh mullet' means cutting one out of a freezer pack. Our idea is a mullet that just came out of a creek." Cameron says he has friends who catch bait for him each night of a tournament. They handle those baits with extra care.

"When they catch a mullet, it goes right into a salty brine rather than lying on the deck," he says. "We put salt and baking soda in the brine so the baits retain their color and scales. Rather than putting hun- dreds of mullet into one big cooler, they go into smaller coolers. "Once we get the bait, we don't slosh it around in coolers. Everything is separated and broken down into smaller lots. From start to finish, it's just a couple of notches more [effort]."

Live-bait aficionados want baits that have been caught on sabiki or gold-hook rigs rather than in cast nets, which can injure them. They unhook baits with dehookers, too, so the fish are never touched by someone's hands. The less a mate handles a bait, the longer it will last and the better it will swim.

Cameron takes a similar meticulous approach with his dead baits. He pulls two dredges as teasers, rigging each with 30 mullet so they look like a school of the real thing to a hungry sailfish. The sailfish eat ballyhoo drifted behind the dredges.

More flathead tips

When fishing for flathead, search for sandy areas, with nearby broken ground, which can consist of rock, weed or reef material such as shellfish and kelp. Also, try fishing the mouths of local creeks - no matter how dirty. Recently, a 5lb flathead was caught in the mouth of Kannanook Creek near Frankston using a clouser, cast into the mouth of the creek. Clouser's hit the bottom and run along the sand, which stirs up a lot of interest. The best time to fish creeks is on falling tides, when water is running out. This stimulates the fish into a feeding frenzy

Bibbed Lures

Fishing small bibbed lures on light lines and light rods is a very effective and enjoyable way to catch trout from the shore. The growing popularity of catching bream and trout on these lures has seen rod and reel manufacturers come up with rods and reels specifically designed to cast these ultra lightweight lures.

Fishing Rods and Equipment: Rods such as these are also used for soft plastics, which gives the angler a very good combination to cover fish at all depths. These rods are rated for lines with low breaking strains to allow long casts and to be capable of absorbing the power from a large fish without breaking the line when the drag is set correctly. Atypical rod would be between 6 and 7 foot long and rated between 2 and 6 pounds. Match this with a nicely balanced reel with a good drag and you are well on your way to regularly catching trout anywhere in the US State.