How to Build Three Ballyhoo Drift Rigs

Fish three different adjustable stinger rigs to cover the entire water column.
Steve Kantner
These one-size-fits-all drift-fishing rigs are easy to build and highly-productive when targeting a number of species at once. One deployment technique involves fishing three lines at different depths with the goal of covering the entire water column from top to bottom. These adjustable rigs will also fit any sized ballyhoo, which makes rigging ahead and changing baits on the fly much easier.
MATERIALS: 6/0 Mustad forged needle-eye hook; 5/0 hooks; small, heavy-duty black swivels; #8 wire; 1.5-ounce and 2- to 4-ounce skirted jig heads; pliers.
For the surface drift rig, attach the 6/0 hook and swivel onto either end of a 7-inch length of wire with haywire twists. Thread the swivel onto a second 24-inch length of wire then attach a 5/0 ring-eye hook with a haywire twist. The ring-eye hook keeps the swivel from slipping off the leader.
Break off the ballyhoo's bill and force the lead hook up through its skull just ahead of the eyes.
The stronger stinger hook is placed through a pinch of skin alongside the ballyhoo's dorsal fin.
To carry your second bait deeper, replace the lead hook with a 1.5-ounce skirted jig head. This bait will ideally drift at a depth of 20 or 30 feet. These first two rigs are usually fished on heavy spinning tackle.
Hook the stinger hook through the back just ahead of the dorsal fin on the second rig.
The third, or deep line, uses a 2- to 4-ounce jig head and is typically fished on conventional tackle. The jig head should be heavy enough to keep the ballyhoo near the bottom in 80 to 140 feet of water along the outer edge of a reef or other structure. This bottom rig will wreak havoc on snapper, grouper and, under a hot midday sun, lethargic king mackerel.

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