How To: J-Hook Ballyhoo Rig

Target trophy mahimahi with this proven classic

July 25, 2016

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G-Fly Sucker Lure in Blue Boy: $11.50 click here
Malin Monel Tie Wire: $15.95 – $24.95 click here
Mustad 7/0 3407SSD Double Strength (5 pack): $1.80 click here
Sea Striker 1.0 Double Sleeves: $4.95 click here
Ande 80-Pound Pink Leader Material (50 yards): $4.95 click here

While many anglers have shifted to using circle hooks for billfish, j-hooks remain a popular choice, especially when targeting big mahimahi. Ballyhoo, combined with either a chugger head or small lure like the G-Fly Sucker lure shown in the video, proves irresistible to dolphin.

Start by prepping the ballyhoo. They should be thawed in sea water, never fresh water, which will draw out the salt and turn the baits mushy. Once completely thawed, remove the bait’s eyes using a wooden dowel or other tool. This makes rigging much easier. Clip the bait’s pectoral fins with scissors or a sharp knife and then remove the bait’s intestinal contents by gently pushing from the belly down to the vent. The ballyhoo is now ready to rig.


Insert the hook into the bait’s gills, gently bending the ballyhoo as the hook curves through the belly and then pokes out, making sure the hook exits in the center of the bait. Then run the pin (piece of wire) on the rig upward through the lower and upper jaws of the bait, again taking care that the pin is centered. This will help keep the bait from spinning. Enlarge the exit hole for the hook with a small knife if necessary so the hook has plenty of room to move freely and the bait pulls from the head.

Wrap the monel rigging wire through the eye sockets, behind the pin and then in front of the pin, wrapping down the bill to close the bait’s mouth. Finish by gently snapping off the bait’s bill and sliding a lure down over the rig. Finish the rig by crimping a loop on the terminal end of the leader or by tying a loop knot of your choice to connect to a snap swivel. This deadly rig is now ready to fish.


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