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Skirted Lures Vs. Naked Ballyhoo

Skirted Lures Vs. Naked Ballyhoo

When fishing for Marlin, it is often thought that there is a debate about whether Skirted Lures Vs. Naked Ballyhoos are more effective, but truthfully, the debate is more about WHEN each technique is more effective and which is best for your style of fishing.

In this article, I hope to identify the difference in each technique so you can best decide when to go with Naked Ballyhoos or Skirted Lures, or maybe even a mixture of both utilizing the old chugger head.

See also: Marlin Trolling

Skirted Lures

Advantages

  1. Versatility: Skirted lures can be used at various trolling speeds and water conditions.
  2. Durability: Skirted lures are generally more durable than naked ballyhoo, which may need to be replaced more frequently.
  3. Attraction: Skirted lures’ added color and action can be more enticing to marlin.

Disadvantages

  1. Cost: Skirted lures can be more expensive than naked ballyhoo.
  2. Snagging: Lures can get snagged on underwater structures, potentially resulting in lost tackle.

Naked Ballyhoo

Advantages

  1. Natural appearance: Naked ballyhoo closely resembles the natural prey of marlin, increasing the chances of attracting them.
  2. Adaptability: Ballyhoo can be rigged in various ways, allowing for different presentations and swimming actions.

Disadvantages

  1. Fragility: Naked ballyhoo can become damaged or washed out more easily than skirted lures, requiring more frequent replacement.
  2. Rigging complexity: Rigging naked ballyhoo can be more time-consuming and complex compared to attaching a skirted lure.

Chugger Heads on Ballyhoo: A Third Option

In addition to skirted lures and naked ballyhoo, there’s a third option that combines the best of both worlds: chugger heads on ballyhoo. This method involves rigging a ballyhoo with a chugger head, which adds color and action to the bait, making it more enticing to marlin.

Advantages

  1. Added Attraction: Chugger heads can add more color and action to your ballyhoo, making it more enticing to marlin.
  2. Versatility: Chugger heads can be used with different sizes and types of ballyhoo, allowing for a variety of presentations.
  3. Durability: The chugger head can protect the ballyhoo from being washed out or damaged, increasing its longevity in the water.

Disadvantages

  1. Rigging Complexity: Rigging a ballyhoo with a chugger head can be more complex and time-consuming than using a naked ballyhoo or a skirted lure.
  2. Potential for Fouling: If the chugger head’s skirts are too long, they can foul in the circle hook on the bite, potentially resulting in a lost fish. Trimming the skirts to a shorter length is recommended to prevent this issue.

When rigging a ballyhoo with a chugger head, it’s important to treat the bait the same as you would a standard circle-hooked ballyhoo when it comes to the amount of drop-back once a fish strikes. The chugger head adds some splash and color to your ballyhoo, which can be particularly effective when targeting marlin or sailfish.

In conclusion, using chugger heads on ballyhoo offers a unique combination of the natural appearance of a ballyhoo and the added attraction of a skirted lure. While it requires a bit more rigging effort, this method can be highly effective in enticing marlin and enhancing your fishing success.

Making the Choice

In summary, skirted lures offer versatility, durability, and attraction, while naked ballyhoo provides a more natural appearance and adaptability in the rigging.

Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your specific target marlin species, fishing conditions, and personal preferences.

It’s also worth noting that many anglers use a combination of both skirted lures and naked ballyhoo in their trolling spreads to maximize their chances of attracting marlin.

You don’t always know what the fish are finding attractive on a given day, so sometimes variety is the best offering.

Additional Considerations

While both skirted lures and naked ballyhoo have their advantages, it’s important to consider the specific conditions you’ll be fishing in.

For example, skirted lures might be more effective in clear water where their vibrant colors and action can attract marlin from a distance.

On the other hand, in murky water or overcast conditions, the natural appearance and scent of naked ballyhoo could be more enticing to marlin.

Furthermore, the choice between skirted lures and naked ballyhoo might also depend on the specific behavior and diet of the marlin species you’re targeting.

For instance, blue marlin are known to be highly visual predators, often eating their fair share of Mahi, which might make the vibrant colors and action of skirted lures particularly effective.

Conversely, black marlin are known to have a more varied diet and might be more likely to strike at the natural appearance and scent of naked ballyhoo.

FAQ

  • Can I use both skirted lures and naked ballyhoo in the same trolling spread?

    Yes, many anglers use a combination of both skirted lures and naked ballyhoo in their trolling spreads to maximize their chances of attracting marlin.

  • How often should I replace my naked ballyhoo when trolling?

    Naked ballyhoo can become damaged or washed out more easily than skirted lures, so they may need to be replaced more frequently. A good rule of thumb is to replace them every 30 minutes to an hour, or sooner if they become damaged.

  • Can I use chugger heads with other types of bait or only with ballyhoo?

    While chugger heads are commonly used with ballyhoo, they can also be used with other types of bait like mullet or squid.

  • How can I add more action to my skirted lure?

    The action of a skirted lure can be enhanced by adjusting the trolling speed or using a lure with a more aggressive head shape.

  • Can I use scent additives with my skirted lures or naked ballyhoo?

    Yes, scent additives can be used to make your lures or bait more enticing to marlin. However, it’s important to use scents that mimic the natural prey of marlin.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the choice between skirted lures and naked ballyhoo for marlin fishing is not a one-size-fits-all decision. It requires careful consideration of various factors, including the specific marlin species, fishing conditions, and personal preferences. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each, you can make an informed decision that maximizes your chances of success on the water.

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Steve Momot

Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.


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