Lure ‘Em In: Tips and Techniques for Better Lure Fishing
by Capt. Graeme ‘Bonze’ Fleet
I have made it my goal for the past 18 years to investigate and develop trolling lures. This passion/obsession has taken me to some of the best lure fisheries in the world, including Kona, Cape Verde and the Azores just to name a few. I’ve had a chance to fish with and learn from some of the best lure makers and captains in these places and have definitely come a long way, having met different people who have shown me many new techniques. I have then worked to develop my own methods that I have used over many years of fishing. I really feel this attitude and dedication is what makes the difference between good fisherman and great fisherman.
When we look at lure fishing there are a number of things that we can and cannot control. We can control things such as where we fish, what sort of lures we fish with, how we rig the lures and how fast we troll them. Of course, some of these choices are determined by things we cannot control, such as weather and sea conditions. All these factors together determine the way we set up our lures and troll them. The biggest factor however, and one that is often elusive, is how the fish is going to bite. If the fish does not bite aggressively, it becomes very difficult to hook it. Aggressive bites equal more hooked fish. And imagine how much easier it would be to hook a marlin if we didn’t have to deal with that bill in the roof of its mouth! The combination of a bill and a lazy bite often results in a strike that doesn’t hook up.
When I look at setting up a lure spread, I like to break it down into a few separate parts. The first thing I always think of is what it’s going to take to get a bite out of a particular fish, and an aggressive bite at that. This will give me the best chance of hooking it. The second thing I am aware of is what hook rig I use in each particular lure in order to give it the optimum performance first and optimum hook-up rate second. My beliefs, which are the basis for this theory, are the culmination of fishing with a number of top captains around the world and yet the only thing they all had in common was a sharp hook. Therefore, I believe that if I can get my lures running to their optimum performance, they will raise more fish and in turn give me the chance of presenting more sharp hooks to fish.
For each lure in the spread, my approach is to present the lures in contrasting pairs. Contrast is important because it gives the billfish a chance to show you what they want to eat. On some occasions marlin only want to bite splashy, noisy surface lures. On other days, deep diving lures or lazy lures fished out of the center rigger will get the bite. Even if the fish comes up on the splashy lure, it will sometimes fall back to inhale one of the smaller lures in the spread because the smaller, less active lure looks like a comparatively easy meal.
The first pair of lures will be the ones closest to the boat; these are my corner lures and are generally the largest lures in my spread. My pair will consist of… (To continue reading this article click here) You can also subscribe to InTheBite The Magazine to get more industry leading editorial.