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Rigs & Knots
Tuna Feather Two Ways
Learn how to rig a tuna feather with or without a ballyhoo.
The tuna feather, or Japanese feather, is a tried-and-true tuna slayer. You can fish tuna feathers all by themselves, or rig one up with a ballyhoo to create a deadly combo bait. To get started you will need a weighted tuna feather, leader (mono or wire), crimps, beads, hook, ballyhoo and a crimper.
Rigging the basic tuna feather is relatively simple. Slide the feather onto the leader, followed by plastic beads to use as spacers, two crimps and your hook.
Make your first crimp up against the hook. Then put a twist in the line and add the second crimp. Trim your tag line.
Slide your beads into place. You can add / remove beads based on the size of the lure. You want the eye of the hook inside the feather skirt.
You can also rig a feather with a ballyhoo, which works great on all pelagics, including wahoo. For that reason, we recommend using a wire leader on this one.
Start by attaching the hook with a haywire twist, leaving a 1-inch section of wire pointing up. Attach a 7-inch piece of copper rigging wire to the eye of the hook. Place the hook against the bait to determine where you want the hook to exit the bait. Make a small incision on the bait where the hook will exit.
Run the hook through the bait, entering through the ballyhoo's gills and coming out where you made the small incision. Push the 1-inch section of wire through the bait's chin so it comes out in the center of the bait's head just in front of the eyes.
Use the copper rigging wire to secure the bait to the hook. Start the wraps in the eye socket and make sure to take a few turns behind and in front of the wire sticking up through the bait's head.
Carefully break the bait's lower jaw / beak. There is a membrane on the bait that will pull off as you slowly remove the beak. Once the membrane is removed you will see a natural channel left behind, which is the ideal spot to place your wire leader.
With the wire leader situated in the channel, use the remaining copper rigging wire to secure everything in place.
Slide your lure into place and make another haywire twist at the opposite end of the leader to attach the rig to your running line. Now you're ready to head out in search of some blue water. Don't forget to check FishTrack's SST charts to find those temp breaks before you leave the dock.
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