Re: Circle Hooks for Marlin Pitch Bait
I'll show you next Wednesday when I get to El Sal if you like. But, I'm going to call FOUL if I hear you beat us on blue marlin by pitching baits. Don't think we aren't already carrying a dead pitch bait each year though already on Paco's boat.
For a circle hook on blues, I use a 10/0 Eagle Claw 2004 circle hook which is a perfect size for El Salvador blues and most of the typical size blues we raise in Cabo while pulling lures and teasers.
Two ways to rig a blue marlin pitch bait that work very well. One with a Mold Craft Little Super Chugger ahead of the bait or similar style soft chugger brand (I like the old Sevenstrand Soft Tops - they don't make anymore for some reason?). Second would be no lure in front and the bait rigged naked.
The chugger / lure ahead of the bait helps in getting bites as it makes the bait more visible to both the marlin and maybe as important the angler. It allows the pitch bait to be easier to control, especially in-experienced switch baiting anglers and works well in rougher water conditions or getting a switch with an armed lure spread versus clean teasers.
Chugger lure circle hook rig:
With the chugger, rig with 65 lb. heavy wax line. Loop the wax line and tie the doubled piece of wax line to the bend of the hook up from the center towards the eye so the hook sits at a 90 degree angle. Insert the two lengths of wax line from the hook thru a 3" piece of plastic coffee stirring tube or Teflon tube. Slide the chugger up the tube so it sites against the hook now while rigging the bait. Next put the tube opposite side of the hook into the center of the mackerel's mouth and thread the wax line thru the top of the baits mouth, back thru the eye sockets, around the bottom of the gills and then cross back both pieces to the front of the mouth and secure and lock the mouth closed and tube center coming out of the mouth. Last slide the chugger down the tube and over the mackerel's head. The tube provides spacing between the chugger and hook to allow the hook to rotate and set correctly. I like to use softer plastic tube as a spacer on bridled live tuna as well with a circle hook for the same reason.
For a naked mackerel rig:
Rig as you would with an old "j" hook belly rig, except don't add the circle hook where you normally would in a "J" hook belly rig. Use an ice pick and put a hole dead center in the mackerel's head thru the bottom jaw. Then using 20" or so of 150 - 200 lb. leader, insert the mono thru the baits head and add a crimp to snug your first crimp so it rests snug against the tip of the mackerel's mouth. Take one of the mono stands feeding out of the crimp at the bait's mouth and loop it around the shank of the circle hook and crimp tight to the hook. Spacing between the hook loop and bait's mouth should have the two crimps almost touching end to end. This provides space between the bait and hook to allow the hook to rotate clean and free without the bait blocking the hook gap. To finish it off, I then wrap the leader / crimps with electrical tape and glue the ends down the ends of the electrical tape with a drop of super glue. The tape keeps the space clean and a smooth surface between the hook and bait to aid in the hook staying in position for the best bite.
Take Care JC!
Last edited by David Brackmann; 11-06-2014 at 02:25 PM.
Reason: I have a habit of making spell errors when I type fast and felt like correcting them this time