How To: Rig a Mullet with Pin Rig for Dredge Fishing

Dredge fishing using natural baits like mullet are the most effective way to attract billfish into your trolling spread.

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Pulling a multi-armed dredge teaser is one of the top tactics on the water for a variety of game fish, but it’s especially effective for sailfish and white marlin. With multiple baits on each arm of the umbrella-shaped dredge, the entire rig resembles a baitball, drawing in hungry billfish from below.

While the choices for dredge baits are numerous and include both artificial and natural baits, the original — and still the best, some would argue — is a silver mullet. These baitfish are shiny and tough enough to withstand hours and even days of trolling, and they’re readily plentiful in most places around the world. As with any natural bait, though, take care in the handling: Be sure to thaw them in seawater only, and keep the mullet in a bait tray on ice, never in direct contact with fresh water.

The dredge mullet rig begins with a wire pin rig that incorporates a lead weight. These are commercially available in a variety of sizes, although the 3-ounce version is probably the most popular. If you intend to add a skirt or lure, be sure to use the pin rigs with the longer wire on the front to accommodate the lure.

Cut several feet of rigging floss and begin behind the bait’s gills. Wrap over the eye and around the pin and the front loop in a figure-eight pattern before crossing back on the other side of the bait’s head, then finishing with an overhand knot. Be sure everything is tight and centered before cinching down the knot.