Maximizing Your Teaser Performance
by Ric Burnley
As featured in Volume 13 Edition 5 July/August 2014
I was yanking on the flat line to clear some grass off a dink bait in the cockpit of Capt. Rom Whitaker’s North Carolina-based charterboat Release when something snatched the line right out of my hand. “I got a bite!” I yelled up to the bridge. Since we were dolphin fishing, I left the bait alone and hoped the fish would return.
“Blue marlin on the left teaser,” Whitaker yelled back down. I searched the water under the green squid chain for a dark, blue silhouette but before I could spot the blue one, a white marlin bill popped up behind the Seawitch in the middle of the spread. Whitaker dropped the bait back and next thing I saw, the fish had the purple and white hairball in its throat.
The captain handed the rod down to one of the anglers and the fish went crazy while the rest of the crew cleared the lines and prepared to give chase. Teaser fishing is one of the most exciting ways to catch these fish and effective techniques can give you the edge in a tournament.
The Devil in the Details
Even though most boats pull the same basic spread, small variations in rigging teasers can make a big difference, especially for white marlin. On Whitaker’s charter boat, he prefers a simple spread of skirted ballyhoo, seven-squid teaser chains and a two-tier dredge frame with 24 six-inch shads. “I play around with the colors,” he says, “If I’m fishing in blue water, I like blue and white or black and silver.” In green water he prefers brighter colors like chartreuse and pink. Same with his squid chains. On rough days, he uses an inline chain but when seas are calm he’ll change to a squid chain with the first two squids dangling on a dropper. “I run green on one side and red on the other more than anything,” Whitaker admits, but he likes to mix it up, too. “I probably have every color squid that Moldcraft makes,” he laughs, “and we’ll change them out until we find what the fish like.”
When Whitaker is tournament fishing, he pulls circle hook baits and natural dredges. He employs a 24-bait mullet dredge on one side of the boat and a 24-bait ballyhoo dredge on the other. Half of the dredge baits wear skirts, with dark colors in blue water and lighter skirts in green water. His teaser chain is punctuated with a large ballyhoo or Spanish mackerel behind an Ilander or Express skirt. “I want consistency,” he says, “so every bait is swimming in unison like a school of fish,” he says. That takes an eye for detail. “Each bait should be prepped and rigged like it was going out on a hook and the pins, wires, sinkers and leads should all be the same.” That doesn’t happen overnight. “It takes a lot of experimenting and seeing what they come to,” Whitaker says.
For Capt. Jimmy Bayne on the Sniper out of Virginia Beach, experimenting with dredges and baits has resulted in a reliable system with proven results. “I do pretty much…….(To continue reading this article click here) You can also subscribe to InTheBite The Magazine to enjoy more industry leading editorial.