At Gulf Stream Custom Tackle, we use Zap-A-Gap Black Bart’s rubber grommets on just about everything. The grommets work great to keep the hook sets in our lures tight against the lure head, ensuring a straight running lure that won’t spin. After a bit of thought, we came up with a great idea to give our lure/bait combo rigs the same benefit.
Just about everyone on the East Coast pulls a blue and white Ilander with a horse ballyhoo under its skirt when targeting blue marlin. (This classic combo has probably covered more miles of blue water off the coast of North Carolina than all other lures combined.)
The problem with this combo comes when you don’t have the ballyhoo’s nose trimmed up neatly, or you have a slight rigging problem in the bait that makes it want to spin. Since the lure up front does such a good job of flashing and smoking, sometimes you won’t notice the 360-degree rollover until you’ve spun up the line.
To take all the guesswork out of your ballyhoo rig, install one of Bart’s grommets to the back of your Ilander. Glue the grommet to the back of the lure’s head, and then, using a pair of extremely sharp scissors, trim away the hair on the inner skirt until it’s even with the end of the grommet. This will prevent the inner hair from interfering with the hookup when the lure gets slammed.
To use, leave a little bit of extra beak on your ballyhoo when rigging, and push it up into the grommet. This will keep the bait tight to the lure and running perfectly.