With the majority of the fishing done from trailer boats, pulling teasers also plays a crucial role in the ability to raise fish consistently. One recent teaser invention that certainly made a big difference here is the dredge teaser. After seeing the effectiveness of dredges on white marlin, I tried them here, and they have proven just as deadly on our striped marlin.
A basic strip model or artificial squid dredge seems to be the most suited to our fishing here because they are lightweight, easy to deploy and do not need any bait to use. Finding suitable bait can be difficult here — none of the commercially available bait can hold up to long hours of trolling.
The other effective teaser I use consists of a daisy chain of large lures. I get a good reaction from the combination of the pulling the dredge down deep and the daisy chain splashing on the surface.
These teasers also allow me to run lures that are just too big to run on conventional tackle, and they add great contrast to the smaller lures I am running with hooks in them. This can create some spectacular switch bites on the small lures when the fish come in hot on the daisy chain teasers that run in front of my two closest lures.
Big fish in the 300-pound range call for heavier tackle, but that doesn’t mean you need to use bigger lures and hooks.
Once I’ve been lucky enough to find a fish and hook it, I immediately put the boat into a turn on the same side that the fish is on. This allows me to keep fishing for a little longer with the baits on the outside of the turn, which gives me a better chance of hooking multiple fish and lets me chase the fish at the same time.
One of the advantages that I’ve found in going down to lighter line classes is that fish behavior tends to change. I found that with less drag on the fish they tend not to dive deep as quickly in the fight, staying up on the surface and allowing you to catch them very quickly.
I first saw this technique work extremely well when I was running Happy Hooker in Cape Verde with mate Stephen Hall running the deck. His ability to coach anglers and determine their drag management made all the difference between a long, deep, drawn-out fight or a short, spectacular surface fight.
These same techniques work on our striped marlin. Not only does the lighter drag on the fish help keep the fish on the surface, it reduces the amount of pulled hooks. The other great factor is that it allows the angler to increase the drag pressure if the fish decides to go down.