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Tips for rigging live bait for sailfish

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Old 01-11-2018, 02:16 PM
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Default Tips for rigging live bait for sailfish

Hello Gents:

I know there are plenty of You Tube videos on the subject, but thought I would ask for pointers from this group. Am headed out of PE this weekend with live bait for the first time. Bought a 19 quart Engel cooler today so am ready. What are the best methods to rig live hoo, pilchards and goggs? Have always trolled dead bait with skirts and or naked, so this is new to me. WIll be heading south towards Haulover as that seems to be wherethe action. Really appreciate the help. Have never caught a sail!!!!
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Old 01-11-2018, 02:22 PM
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Bridle on kites,drift live, look for the usual suspects ,color changes rips,birds , you may get lucky and see a flopper or one cutting bait,in that case keep a pitch ready!!bump trolling live baits with a dredge can be effective as well. Good luck.


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Old 01-11-2018, 02:24 PM
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Thank you sir, your pictures make me so envious!!! Recent pictures?
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Old 01-11-2018, 04:39 PM
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Ya, we have a good group sails this year, dont know numbers off the top of my head but tourney circuit guys are seeing atleast 10 fish a day to capatilize on!Outriggers have been stacked with flags! Again key in on those areas . Enjoy and remember have fun had many days that saw em,couldn't get em to chew ,i think the most successful guys dont sweat short strikes and fish spitting baits,1 thousand 1 to 3 lock em up,if he's not taking drag you need to be gaining,any tail wrapped fish i circle in on an quick for healthy release!
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:30 PM
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I will pay attention to the above thanks. Still need some help on rigging!! Thanks.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:56 PM
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What are you looking for with regard to rigging? Hook plcement in the bait? General setup?

Generally, it sounds like you aren’t kite fishing so plan on bump trolling (slow trolling live baits by bumping the boat in and out of gear) or just drifting between 90-250’.

10-12’ 40-50 lb leaders, and 5/0 -7/0 circle hooks (I use 6/0 VMC non-offsets for gogs and 5/0s for large pilchards / ballyhoo).

For drifting or slow trolling hook pilchards and gogs through the soft spot in the nose (or nostrils).

There are a million ways to make this more complicated but I’d start with the above while you learn and slowly add detail.

Last thing - are you planning on using the 19 qt cooler for a live well? If so, you may struggle to keep active baits like the ones you mentioned alive for any length of time.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:07 PM
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Keeping many baits alive in a cooler is going to take quite an effort, they need fresh, oxygen filled water, and lots of it. Most of us have live wells that circulate enough water thru them to sink a boat in short order.
As for rigging, I prefer to use a small rubber band to attach the bait to a circle hook, unless it is a quick pitch bait then I just nose hook them. I wish I could easily explain how I do it but I feel trying to do it with words would just confuse you, but I will try anyhow.
Start with the small rubber band, and the hook. Lay the rubber band down on the table, lay the hook across the rubber band. Pick up one side of the rubber band and pass it thru the other and pull it tight. Now you have a rubber band attached to the hook, and a loop end coming off the hook. Get a small open eye rigging needle, attach it to the loop end of the rubber band, pass it thru the nose of the bait, if slow/bump trolling, then spin the needle like 5-6 times, this will put twists in the rubber band. Pass the loop of the band that is on the eye of the needle over the hook point and past the barb then remove the needle. You end up with a quickly bridled bait. The key is keeping your drag set loose enough that the rubber band does not break when the bait is first picked up, give it time to eat, then just tighten the drag till you come tight on your fish.
I tried to make this as easy to understand as possible, obviously you do not need to lay it on the table to do it but it makes understanding easier. With a little practice once the band is on the hook you can rig a bait in just a few seconds and it is a secure connection. If you are kite fishing you can do the same, just pass the rubber band through your desired spot, usually just behind or in front of the dorsal fin, it works just the same.
As for the rubber bands, you can buy the little bags at the tackle store for a pretty good $, or you can visit the local beauty supply store and get a mega bag for just a few dollars. I prefer the clear ones, but they have black and probably every other color under the rainbow these days.
Good luck and be sure to post a report.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ameristrat View Post
What are you looking for with regard to rigging? Hook plcement in the bait? General setup?

Generally, it sounds like you aren’t kite fishing so plan on bump trolling (slow trolling live baits by bumping the boat in and out of gear) or just drifting between 90-250’.

10-12’ 40-50 lb leaders, and 5/0 -7/0 circle hooks (I use 6/0 VMC non-offsets for gogs and 5/0s for large pilchards / ballyhoo).

For drifting or slow trolling hook pilchards and gogs through the soft spot in the nose (or nostrils).

There are a million ways to make this more complicated but I’d start with the above while you learn and slowly add detail.

Last thing - are you planning on using the 19 qt cooler for a live well? If so, you may struggle to keep active baits like the ones you mentioned alive for any length of time.
This advice is pretty spot on. Personally I like to use a lighter leader #20 fluro for me.

The 19qt cooler livewell is going to make your day short. I would only get pilchards if this is the only option, no way gogs are going to live more than an hour or so.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Rundeep View Post
Bridle on kites,drift live, look for the usual suspects ,color changes rips,birds , you may get lucky and see a flopper or one cutting bait,in that case keep a pitch ready!!bump trolling live baits with a dredge can be effective as well. Good luck.


Not sure if it's the camera angle but that's a lot of heat on that fish!
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:37 AM
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Pelican Yacht club tournament going on right now. 230 releases in 2 days of fishing, 4 rods Dead Bait.
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:42 AM
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hook pilchard in soft plastic part in noze
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:28 AM
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Many many thanks for the input here, really appreciate it. Since the cooler I bought is not correct for goggles, what would you guys suggest I get? There is a five gallon one I have seen, looks like a bucket made by Marine Metal?
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:38 AM
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For a livewel you need lots of water circulation, so some kind of pump and drain system. It can be as easy as a 5 gallon bucket with a pump and hose inlet. Bring the water into the bucket and turn it 90 degrees, so it sets up a circular flow of water. You can simply drill a hole in the bucket and let the water drain out as it over flows. Round or oval is always a better shape, baits will run into square corners and it will stress them to death. Personally I would strive for something larger than a 5 gallon bucket, but you can always adapt to something larger later. Depending on your boat you may need the drain to drain into a hose that you can put over the side of the boat, or you may be able to just let it drain on the deck and run out the Scuppers. IF you can get one of the 15 gallon oil drums that is clean they make great portable livewells. Even a garbage can works well, just depends on your size limits and requirements. I would also want some way of putting a lid on it, so baits can't jump out. Good luck
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by johnr710 View Post
Many many thanks for the input here, really appreciate it. Since the cooler I bought is not correct for goggles, what would you guys suggest I get? There is a five gallon one I have seen, looks like a bucket made by Marine Metal?
You are going to waste a lot of time and money trying the live bait route without a raw water live bait system in the tune of a minimum of 30 gallons. No way a cooler or 5 gallon bucket is going to keep you live baiting.

I suggest you study up on dead bait trolling.

100 bucks worth of gogs in a 5 gallon bucket sounds painful.
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:44 AM
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100 bucks worth of gogs in a 5 gallon bucket sounds painful.
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:54 AM
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One thing I've found with the smaller baits, pilchards and sardines while bump trolling or slow drifitng. If you use a 5/0-6/0 circle hook and hook from under the front jaw and come out through nose they swim better, and the mouth will not open and drown them.

Food for thought
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:57 PM
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We have room for another person on Sunday, gladly show you the ropes call me 9543481651
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:14 PM
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We have room for another person on Sunday, gladly show you the ropes call me 9543481651
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Capt. Skipper Gentry View Post
We have room for another person on Sunday, gladly show you the ropes call me 9543481651
^^^^^ take this offer worth a million bucks in hands on training, easier shown than explained and again there is hundreds of ways to rig.
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Old 01-13-2018, 03:28 PM
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Gogs in a 5 gallon bucket??

Sounds like it would go from live bait fishing to dead bait fishing in less than 15 minutes...
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