Drawing sails and marlin to the transom with teasers is one of the most effective offshore techniques ever devised. But switch-baiting isn’t foolproof, and getting the actual bait to the fish without incurring tangles can be a challenge. Two of my cockpit-savvy friends came up with a switch-baiting tube, which keeps both the pitch bait and the lit-up billfish in the angler’s line of sight, unlike with a cooler or bucket. Filled with ice, the tubes keep rigged trolling baits handy and take up very little room. To make a switch-bait tube, cut a 2′ length of 6″ Schedule 40 PVC pipe. Using PVC adhesive, glue a cap to one end. Drill a 1/2″ hole approximately 6″ from each end. Drill a 1/16″ hole on the opposite side of the tube from each of the 1/2″ holes. Saw the handles off two ordinary toilet plungers (the kind with the red-colored rubber cup work best), leaving an inch or so of wood. Then drill a 1/16″ hole in the center of the remaining handles. Using a screwdriver inserted through each of the larger holes, attach the plungers to the outside of the tube with a pair of 1/8″ stainless screws. Moisten the lip of the plunger cups and force the tube against the smooth surface inside your cockpit. This gadget may slip a little in heavy seas, leaving the lower end resting on the deck. Before beginning construction, measure your cockpit surfaces to tailor the tube’s measurements to your needs.
Steve Kantner, Fort Lauderdale, Florida