How to Rig a Bonito Strip Bait

Add this teaser to your spread

Adding a strip bait to a hookless teaser is a great way to catch more billfish, especially sailfish. The strip not only adds motion but it gives the fish a taste of something real and keeps it interested in the teaser. Because of this, a strip bait should be very durable.

Bonito belly makes a great strip bait because of this durability — it will hold up to not only hours of trolling but repeated attacks from sailfish and marlin. Mahimahi belly is also tough enough for this application.

Start by catching a bonito. Small feathers or jigs work well for this. Then remove the tough belly skin from the fish. Cut the bones from the front of the strip and taper it into a v-shape with a sharp knife. Notch the end of the strip for a bit more fish-attracting flutter.

Next, mark the strip bait for the leader loop and make a small incision. Stitch the bait securely to the leader using waxed floss and a rigging needle. Be sure to keep the stitches as tight as possible so the strip stays in place.

Finish by adding a small lure to the front of the strip bait. On calm days, most captains prefer to use a chugger-style lure while rough days may call for a bullet-shaped design. This style of teaser also works well as the last “chase bait” in a squid daisy chain, as it gives the impression of a small predator chasing a school of squid or flying fish across the surface of the water.