Trolling Techniques: Mastering the Art of Rigging Ribbon Fish for Success

The Ultimate Guide: How to Rig Ribbon Fish for Trolling like a Pro

Introduction: The Art of Trolling and the Versatile Ribbon Fish

If you’re an avid angler looking to master the art of trolling, look no further than rigging ribbon fish. Known for their realistic swimming action and irresistible appeal to predatory fish, ribbon fish are considered one of the most effective baitfish in offshore fishing. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to rig ribbon fish for trolling like a pro.

Gearing Up: Essential Equipment and Tools

Before diving into the rigging process, let’s ensure you have all the necessary equipment:

1. Ribbon Fish: Purchase fresh or frozen whole ribbon fish from reputable tackle shops or seafood markets.
2. Trolling Rod and Reel Combo: Choose a sturdy rod with medium-heavy power paired with a high-quality conventional reel capable of handling large gamefish.
3. Braided Line: Opt for 50-80lb braided line as it provides excellent strength and sensitivity required when targeting big game species.
4. Lure Hooks: Select strong hooks suitable for saltwater fishing (6/0 – 9/0) depending on your target species.
5. Lure Leader Material: Use durable monofilament or fluorocarbon leader material with a test range between 40-60lbs.
6. Crimping Pliers: Invest in high-quality crimping pliers to securely fasten hooks onto leader material.
7. Snap Swivels: Include snap swivels of appropriate size (around #4) which allow easy lure changes while preventing line twist.

Rigging Ribbon Fish: Step-by-Step Instructions

Now let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of rigging ribbon fish for trolling:

Step 1: Preparing the Ribbon Fish:
Start by thawing or purchasing fresh whole ribbon fish. Ensure they are clean and free from any scales, slime, or debris. Cut off the head and tail while keeping the body intact.

Step 2: Installing Lure Hooks:
Using your chosen lure hooks, determine where you want them placed along the ribbon fish body. Insert the hook point just below its upper jaw and bring it out through its back, ensuring a secure hook hold. Repeat this step to install additional hooks as desired.

Step 3: Adding Weight (Optional):
If targeting deeper water species or desiring extra stability during trolling, consider using small weights attached to your leader material a few inches above the ribbon fish’s head. This helps keep it submerged at your desired depth.

Step 4: Attaching Leader Material:
Take your pre-measured monofilament or fluorocarbon leader material (approximately twice as long as your rod length) and attach one end securely to your mainline using an appropriate knot such as an improved clinch knot.

Step 5: Crimping Snap Swivel:
Slide a crimp onto the other end of the leader material before attaching a snap swivel with open ends facing opposite directions. Make sure both ends pass through their respective holes smoothly but cannot slide freely once crimped.

Fine-Tuning Your Rig for Optimal Performance

While following these steps will get you rigging ribbon fish like a professional angler, here are some additional tips to fine-tune your setup:

1. Determining Trolling Speed: Experiment with trolling speeds between 2-6 knots and adjust based on the reaction of target species.
2. Adding Attractants: Enhance your ribbon fish’s appeal by applying scent attractants or using skirts, rubber squids, or flashy teaser lures to create more enticing action.
3. Varying Leader Lengths: Test different leader lengths to find what works best for your local fishing conditions and target species.

The Bottom Line

Rigging ribbon fish for trolling is an essential skill every serious angler should master. By following our step-by-step instructions, utilizing suitable gear, and fine-tuning your setup as needed, you’ll be well on your way to landing impressive catches in no time! Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep refining your technique while enjoying the thrill of offshore fishing with rigged ribbon fish bait. Happy angling!