Fish Stories: Drop-Dead Beautiful

How to Attract More Pelagics to Your Boat

It's tournament time and you want to crush the competition. But how do you attract more pelagics to your boat? Pull out all the stops and give 110 percent. These techniques will make bluewater trolling spreads look like an apex predator's wet dream.

  • A dredge with real dead baits will draw fish up from the deep. Sure, artificial dredges work, but the pros will tell you that nothing attracts big fish like little fish - real ones, that is. Rig at least two dozen split-tail mullet or ballyhoo per dredge, and put several in tandem for maximum effect. Weigh it down with sash weights and run it 30' back, 15' below the surface. Cluster flat line and short rigger baits around and above it.
  • Run a surface teaser to complement the dredge and excite blue marlin. Choose one that makes a big disturbance, like a bowling pin or chugger. Bobbing and weaving is good; splashing is even better.
  • Too much turbulence in your wake? Cut a 2'-wide piece of carpet long enough to match the beam of your boat, punch eyes in two corners, and tow it from your aft cleats to eliminate the white water. Also remember to pull up your trim tabs, which will cause turbulence and create bubbles when left down.
  • If you're trolling in a relatively tight area, toss chunks of cut bait overboard every minute or so. It won't take the fish long to figure out where that free food is coming from.
  • Rig a drip-bag filled with menhaden oil to your anchor pulpit. Everywhere you go, you'll leave a fishy slick behind. If you set it to drip fast enough, the oil will help reduce surface ripples behind the boat, increasing the visibility of your baits.