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How to Rig a Ballyhoo for Dolphin

Why a Ballyhoo?

For those who do not know, Ballyhoo are the small silver fish with a needle nose that swim so fast above the surface that they end up airborne. Some would consider this sight similar to skipping stones. But Ballyhoo do not do this just for their own entertainment, they do it to escape predators. The Ballyhoo’s nature makes them an attractive bait candidate for the saltwater sportsman.

Saltwater sportsmen found that they can mimic this surface skimming technique for trolling purposes. Another reason why Ballyhoo are a great fish to use for bait is that this type of fish usually swims in large schools making it easy to catch for fishermen. Because of the largeness of group size, fishermen can simply catch them by netting or using a sabiki trap.

While there are a lot of techniques and tricks for rigging Ballyhoo, these are three techniques we found that every saltwater sportsman should know.

The Haywire Twist

In this rigging technique, find a hook with a suitable size that can be attached to a haywire twist. When you snap off the wire, you are going to leave a spike to stick up in a vertical way mirroring that of the hook. Insert the hook under the cover of the gill and keep it going through the cavity of the body until it is poking out of the belly. Next, lock the spike with a small elastic band to the head of the Ballyhoo. You can also use copper wire or monel, instead of an elastic band, to wrap over the spike. Take the elastic band or wire and poke it through the eye sockets. Lastly, wrap the wire or band around the head. Before you fish, make sure the hook and head-spike are centered; this will allow for most efficient fishing.

Circle Hook and Skirt

Once you have prepared the Ballyhoo for rigging, find and configure a trailer loop of a 100-300 pound mono. You will need it to be large enough to fit over the head of the Ballyhoo. Next, pull forward on the loop to get it under the gill plates. You will then slide an egg sinker through the eye socket, pull over the legs of the loop and crimp the legs together. This will lock everything into place. Take a lure head or skirt and slip it onto the trailer. You can also thread the mono through the skirt. Finally, crimp the trailer to the bend of the hook. Next, get out into the water!

Short-Shank Rig

This technique is used for skipping, which is best to catch a dolphin or tuna. This will trick larger fish by making the hook of the rig less noticeable as it is placed at the throat of the Ballyhoo. You will need monel or copper wire to scale down the leader diameter. The hook should emerge near the head of the Ballyhoo. When placing the hook near the head, aim closest to the head, more specifically, the throat. Allow the leader tag to pass through both jaws and break off the bill to bind jaws with wire to the leader. Wrap the wire through the eye sockets and clip the leader tag when all is finished.

Get the Freshest Ballyhoo Bait with the Highest Quality

So while fishing can be done a number of ways with many different types of bait, ballyhoo might have you most surprised. Ready to give balllyhoo a try? Order the freshest bait from South Florida’s Badass Ballyhoo. We catch ballyhoo daily and ship them nationwide, ensuring the freshest and hardiest bait for you. Visit for a great fishing experience!

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