Galapagos 2012 - Plugging Lure Preparation
It is that special that time of year when I start getting ready for my annual trip to the Galapagos This year I am heading down at the end of February and fishing for three weeks or so. Several different groups of friends will be coming in and out while I am there.
I need to get all my gear squared away before I leave and last year we learned a valuable lesson while throwing plugs at big yellowfin tuna, pargo, and black jacks. Sooner or later, every plug we threw had the hooks bent or the split rings opened. This was a problem even when using a loose drag as the strikes were so violent and the fish pulled so hard during the fight. Several times a plug that was hanging out of a a hooked fishes mouth was struck again by another fish.
Popping Plug Choices
We prefer only the largest plugs. Last year the best plugs were largest Yo-Zuri Surface Cruisers and big Guides Choice Pencil Poppers and M-80 Poppers. We are using rods only 6ft in length and 60-80lb braided line. This can reduce casting distances, so a heavy popping plug is required. The fish are big and not shy about hitting these big plugs. The large body size easily accommodates big trebles.
Popping Plug Preparation
We replaced all the hooks with 3/0, 4/0, and 5/0 Mustad 3X (extra strong) 3561D-DT trebles. We purposely chose hooks with a closed eye. These hooks are also available with an open eye, but when using split rings, the closed eye is preferable. We also replaced the split rings with #6 and #8 extra heavy duty rings. The ONLY way to attach these is to use split ring pliers.
Once all the plugs were re-rigged we also added several sets of replacement trebles (with split rings already attached) and a pair of Mustad split ring pliers in the plug box. These will be useful for re-rigging any plugs that are brought aboard by others.
Mama – Lost and Found
I have one big Yo-Zuri Surface Cruiser (the largest they make) that has been with me in numerous trips. I named it “mama” years ago and it now has more teeth marks on it than paint. However, it remains my goto lure when I need a ridiculously long cast. Last year a huge Pargo (well over 10olbs) hit the lure ten feet from the boat and snapped an 80lb leader (drag was too tight). I was devasted. We hung around for a few minutes to see if it would pop up, but it was gone. We headed further offshore and came back to the same spot about four hours later. On our third drift I spotted it in nearly the exact same spot where I lost it. The amazing thing was that the tide was ripping east when we left and west when we returned. The lure had no doubt drifted well away from the spot, but we timed our return perfectly. I snatched the lure up and put it away for the day…it has new hooks this year and I will be sure to fish it on a looser drag!By Capt Andy LoCascio - Host of Northeast Angling TV Share your comments on the Northeast Angling Facebook page