Skirted trolling lures have a long history. A long time ago Fishermen, from the pacific island nations, started to drag lures behind canoes and other craft in the tropical oceans and around the shores of islands chasing pelagic fish such as tuna and marlin. A lot of the early skirt material was made from fibre material available at the time, and used everything from the pith of banana trees to teased rope that was bound to a wooden or metal head. We have come a long way!!! The varieties and colours of skirted lures are now plentiful.Generally most local anglers do not use these surface lures very much. Probably due to the lack of exposure to skirted lures and also due to the price of each one, being more than the cost of hard body lures. The following are the types we use which get great results and are reasonably priced.
Straight running heads such as bullet/jet heads, Hex Heads and Tuna Heads have a rounded front section of the head so the water flows over the face of the lure, creating minimal resistance making it swim straight. I like the types with small holes around the outside creating a bubble trail. Straight runners are a weighted lure head, which makes the lure swim a bit deeper in the water. These lures work best when trolled a long way back, and work well in the shotgun position. While they don’t have the action of some of the other head shapes, they are very effective tuna and wahoo lures and catch plenty of marlin as well. Weighted straight runners can be towed slowly to catch mahi mahi or tuna but the big advantage is tolerating increased troll speeds, and can easily be towed at up to 13 knots in calm conditions. This technique is very popular for wahoo as well as covering ground when in between fishing spots. You might remember our last blog post on a full day charter we caught a nice mahi mahi trolling at 8 knots on this 75g fish eagle jet hex head lure that cost $35 from BCF.
These lures are round in profile and when viewed from the front feature a cup shaped front end that pushes and splashes out water when dragged through the water. This type of design has the advantage of being very easy to use, easy to rig and has great versatility. The size of the cup at the front of the lure and the length and weight of the head determines the action of the lure. Large diameter cups generate more water pressure, bigger bubble trails and more action and will hold themselves in position well. These are often very good lures to use in rough conditions as is common off our coastline. This lure can be trolled at speed or quite slowly depending on the target species we find 7or 8 knots for tuna – 10 or 12 knots for mahi mahi or wahoo. The small one below has worked well and bigger versions of this will catch their fair share of marlin. A 6” Williamson dorado catcher variety will set you back about $15 from BCF.
Other varieties include the pear and tube designs and slant faced heads. These designs require a lot of work in rigging and positioning and can be quite expensive. We prefer to use the “K I S S” principle as we are not trolling for long periods of time.
They come in every colour of the rainbow and more. There are even luminous varieties and all work even the white ones though the colourful ones catch more fishermen. The trick to success usually involves having at least one or two lures in your spread with colours resembling the baitfish in the area at the time. We find purple and silver resemble little tuna’s. Green, blue and yellow resemble a little mahi mahi or fusilier and I also like a blue, yellow and pink colour pattern resembling an injured yakka. Remember what works today may not tomorrow so it pays to have a variety of colours and types of lures and a few hex heads and pushers in different colours is a must in anyone’s lure bag.
If you want to come along for a trip and see how inexpensively it can be done head over to our contacts page and give us a call or flick us an email.