Author: Bullbuster Team
When the Bullbuster Team purchased the domain for "Big Game Fishing The World" we thought, there is no way that this could be true. This was once a legends website. Well, it turned out to be true and today we have restored some of the works of legendary Capt. Norm Isaac's. We take no credit for what you are about to read but instead insist on honoring a legend who helped shaped our sport.
INSIDE BIG GAME FISHING, HAWAII with Capt. Norm Isaacs
|Information and options are a couple of the most valuable tools the offshore fisherman can have to slant the odds in his or her favor on any given day. If plan "A" falls flat, give plan "B" a shot, or "C". Of course, if you don't have a plan "B" or "C", then they aren't options. We all have a tendency to stick to what we know or what we are the most comfortable with. Often, it's hard to change tactics just because something worked so well a day or two ago or on the last trip out. |
Granted, if pulling purple whomp'em, stomp'ems at 25 knots yesterday caught me a boat load of fish, I'd probably be prone to start off today at 25 knots with a covey of purple whomp'em, stomp'ems out there. It's getting locked into a certain approach and doing the same thing day after day regardless of the results, that can reduce your effectiveness. Some of that hesitancy to vary tactics stems from the fear of failure or wasting a precious day on the ocean not firing the best shot. We caught at 25 knots with the whomp'em, stomp'ems, so we know that will work, at least some of the time, why do anything else? Well, some days are made for Big Mac's and some days the seafood platter at the Mixed Plate are the ticket. We aren't always in the mood for the same thing and neither are the fish. Live Bait is a reliable way to catch marlin, but we've all had days when we've seen fish swim up to frisky bait, check it out and split. The guys dragging lures are getting their rod tips bit off and our live bait is dying of boredom. We have also had just as many days when it was the other way around, the lure guys haven't had a snap but the bait guys can't keep one down long enough to have lunch. The point being, the conditions change, the fish change along with them. The most effective boats out there are the ones that react to what the conditions call for and aren't hesitant to push the envelope of their own experience when it comes to trying out different approaches. One of the tactics that certainly isn't new but that you don't see anywhere close to the frequency of the normal live bait or lure fishing is the "bait and switch". We have been doing a lot of it on the SUNDOWNER over the last couple of years and have had extremely good luck with it. I know of several other boats here on the Kona coast that are also using it with a high degree of success when it comes to billfish. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, let me first define the term "bait and switch". What I'm referring to is the baiting or teasing of a fish to a certain point with a hookless presentation and then subsequently switching the fish off to a different bait or lure for the hook-up. On the SUNDOWNER, we usually use our normal trolling lures for teasers rigged without hooks to get the fish up. Pulling the lure away from the fish and closer to the boat every time he strikes it generally gets the fish really fired up to put his lips on something. Once in a while, the marlin just goes away after the first shot, but an extremely high percentage of the time, because of the absence of hooks stinging them or looping over the bill, they stay right on the teaser until we drop a single hook rigged dead bait of some sort in front of him. The reaction to the dead bait is usually sudden and violent, not much Mickey Mousing around at that point, resulting in a very high hook-up rate. The exact procedure for doing what I just described will vary quite a bit from boat to boat, partially due to personal preference and partially due to differences in how boats themselves are set up in terms of space and rod holders. We like to hedge our bets a little by running the long rigger and the stinger normal, hooks and all. The short rigger, and both corners are run hookless. Frequently after the marlin is teased, if we miss him with the bait, he will go back and pound one of the back two lures with hooks. Because our anglers are often charter customers with experience varying from a lot to zero, we try to simplify things for the angler as much as possible. Rather than expecting them to be able to feed a bait back to a lit up, excited marlin without over-running the reel, we run a drop back on the switch rigs similar to one that's normally used for live bait. Let me clarify that a bit. Before the goodies hit the fan, we drop the switch bait back to where we want it to go when the fish is in the pattern. We then bring the bait back to the boat and put it in a cooler at the transom leaving the line looped out behind the boat. When it's time to feed the marlin, all someone has to do is toss the bait out behind the boat. It will automatically pop up and start skipping in the right spot which is usually next to the short corner teaser. We have just enough drag pressure on the reel to keep the bait where we want it. After the marlin has had it for a couple of seconds we smoothly run the drag up to the strike setting. In my opinion, there is nothing in big game fishing any more exciting than seeing a good sized marlin 30 feet behind the boat, lit up and excited, wolfing a bait. It will burn a memory into your brain that you will never forget. In addition to the excitement factor, which is considerable, there are some other advantages to this type of fishing. You can cover more territory than conventional live baiting and the hook-up to fish raised ratio is generally higher than straight lure fishing, particularly after you've done it a time or two. The ability to match your tackle to the fish is also a plus. By having one bait on heavy gear and a second bait on lighter gear you can select the tackle after you have seen the fish. You can have the fun of fighting fish on lighter gear and still be ready when Mr. Oh-my-gawd shows up for dinner. Now the down side -- actually most of it is between a person's ears. When that 300 pounder shows up on a hookless lure and hammers it, maybe twice, and leaves before you can get a bait back to it or you get the bait back and it leaves anyway. I will guarantee the first thought in everyone's head is that if we had hooks in that lure we would have had him. Anyone that has been out there a time or two knows better, but you will think it just the same. How many times have we all had fish just annihilate a lure carrying a pair of razor sharp hooks and not get stuck? There is also the ones that slap the lure with their bill and get a hook looped over it. That's usually good for a few jumps but the excitement is usually short lived. Unfortunately, nothing works every time and "bait and switch" is no exception, however, even the fish that are missed are fun because you usually get to mess with them a little. It's more than just the snap of a rubber band and it's all over with your charter looking at you thinking, 'boy, wasn't that fun'. If nothing else, it's one more weapon in the arsenal. Modify the procedure to best fit your situation and give it a try.
Tight Lines . . . . . Norm.
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