Ballyhoo Pin Rig

Trolling bigger ballyhoo on a pin rig will catch larger pelagic predators
Trolling bigger ballyhoo on a pin rig will catch larger pelagic predators. In the past few years, I have used this one for winter bluefin tuna off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, spring bluefins off the mid-Atlantic states, canyon yellowfin and bigeyes. This easy rig can be fished naked or with skirts. When fished under an Ilander or Hawaiian Eye, it trolls for hours without washing out, and fish tend to grab it and hold on rather than making the hit-and-run typical with plastic trolling lures. The Perfect Pin Rig can be crafted with medium, large or horse ballyhoo, but the hook and sinker size must be matched to the bait. It works with leader material up to 300-pound-test and can be fished over and over if you just replace the bait, which can be done in about 30 seconds. Just be sure to check the leader for nicks or chafing and retire it if you see any signs of weakness. Make a bunch on your workbench and coil them so they are ready to be put into use when you hit the fishing grounds. COMPONENTS & TOOLS
Mono leader material; 12, 34- or 1-ounce egg sinker; 7/0, 8/0 or 9/0 hook; rigging springs; No. 12 stainless-steel trolling wire; nylon tubing; crimping sleeves; loop protector, or ring and grommet; mono cutters; and a hand or bench swager. A skirt or lure is optional.
Gary Caputi


Prep the ballyhoo first. The eyes can be left in for this rig. Cut 10 inches of leader material and 1 inch of nylon tubing. Pass the tubing through the eye of the hook and the leader material through the tubing, leaving about 5 inches of tag. Cut 2 inches of stainless wire and bend it 90 degrees in the middle. Pass both the tag and the main line through a crimp, push the crimp down toward the hook so the tubing is tight against both and compress with a bench or hand swager. The tubing serves two functions: It protects the leader from chafing, and it makes the hook a semi-stiff rig that lies straight inside the ballyhoo. Gary Caputi


Slip the egg sinker on the tag end and a second crimp over the tag and main line. Then slip one end of the stainless wire into the crimp so it forms a pin facing the opposite direction of the bend of the hook and compress it. Gary Caputi


Slip a rigging spring onto the line, and if you plan to use a skirt or lure, add that too. Then finish the rig by crimping a loop protector or ring and grommet in position to create a connection point at the other end. Gary Caputi


To mount a ballyhoo, lay it alongside the rig, with the pin under the lower jaw, note where the hook falls and mark the belly. Then insert the hook point under a gill plate, push it back through the stomach cavity, bending the ballyhoo as necessary until the point reaches your mark, and push it out the bottom of the fish. Ideally, the hook should exit a third to half the length of the bait from the head. Gary Caputi


Position the egg sinker under the gills and push the pin up through the bottom jaw and out the top. Slide the rigging spring into position and wind it down on the pin until tight. Gary Caputi


If using a skirt, slide it into position. Check the bait to make sure it is limber so it will swim nicely under the skirt, then go fishing. Gary Caputi