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August 22, 2008

Outrigger Setup and Maintenance

One of the biggest jobs on the boat, and one that impacts your fishing style the most, is setting up your outrigger/halyard configuration.

I make my living hopping from boat to boat setting up cockpits and making sure the crew has all the right gear on board to fish successfully in the style the owner prefers. One of the biggest jobs on the boat, and one that impacts your fishing style the most, is setting up your outrigger/halyard configuration. One thing is for certain: Since your crew will be operating your halyards continually throughout the day, you want a setup that allows for a quick reset of your lures, baits or teasers every time. Each second a bait is out of position or on the deck works against you.

I get a lot of folks asking me what is the best way to set up their riggers, and I always answer that question with several of my own: What kind of fishing do want to do? Are you going to be fishing with lures only? Do you like to run tag lines with your lures? Do you normally fish with dead baits? Does your owner like to bait-and-switch? And what sizes and species do you target most ? sails, whites or big blue marlin? All of these factors play into what kind of clips to use and whether or not you'll want to include teaser adjusters, tag lines, etc. You even want to ask what kind of halyard material the crew prefers; some like to run heavy mono for its durability, while others prefer heavy Dacron or braided polyester lines that provide a better grip when wet.

There are almost as many configurations to set up your outriggers as there are boats on the water, and I've never rigged two boats exactly the same way. With that said, here's a double-clip system I use for boats with triple-spreader outriggers. It includes single tag lines on each rigger and an extra halyard to retrieve bridge teasers from the cockpit. It's a good all-around setup that should satisfy all but the quirkiest of fishing styles:

After you've taken the outrigger poles off the boat, install all of the Ronstan ball-bearing pulleys on the outrigger pole to the eyebolts at the base of the spreaders. Start with the triple block at the bottom and then attach the bridge teaser single pulley, the short-rigger single pulley and the long-rigger single pulley at the tip. These pulleys attach easily with a shackle that comes with the pulleys.

Run all the halyard lines, including the bridge-teaser line, and crimp on the top half of each clip setup and the ring eye for the teaser. The lineup for the long and short rigger-clip configuration is as follows: stopper ball, 2.3 mm nickel crimp, snap swivel or scissor lock, Trip-Ese release clip, snap swivel, an 8-inch gap, 1.6 single barrel crimp, Black's clip, 1.6 single barrel crimp. (If you're using a tag line, you need to thread the C&H tag-line return on the long-rigger halyard below the Black's clip.) Although the illustration shows the use of snap swivels to attach the Trip-Ese clips, I've recently started using a scissor lock without a swivel here since I've had a couple of snap swivels break at the snap.