There are all sorts of lures and baits that appeal to offshore fish. Yet when it comes to natural baits that provoke an extraordinary number of hits and have exceptional hookup-to-fish-box conversion ratios, especially on striking fish like wahoo and kingfish, few can top the stinger-rigged swimming mullet.
There's something magical about trolling a meticulously rigged mullet, which swims in an enticing, pulsating and lifelike fashion. Add in the bait's plump girth - much deeper than a ballyhoo or squid - light-reflecting silver sides and fairly compact body, and it's easy to understand why it's often the hottest bait in the spread.
There are several ways to rig a mullet for offshore trolling. In my opinion, the swimming option is by far the best, especially if you're gunning for trophy-class wahoo or even king mackerel closer to shore. And the swimming mullet can be fished in four fashions: straight off a flat line and just inches under the surface; on a wire-line outfit, from 10 to 30 feet deep; in conjunction with a trolling weight, some five to 10 feet deep; or off a planer or downrigger, the latter allowing you to precisely position the bait in the water column. However, the one denominator, to foil the short-striking antics of wahoo and king mackerel, is a stinger rig.
You'll need No. 10 single-strand wire (127-pound-test), either a 10/0 or 11/0 (based on the size of the mullet) long-shank lead hook, a 9/0 to 10/0 long-shank stinger rear hook, a 300-pound-test barrel swivel, a 6- to 8-ounce egg sinker, a rigging needle, waxed thread, a sharp knife and a fresh mullet that has been brined for at least 12 hours.
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