Marlin U How-To: Squid Chains

Your weekly fishing tip, straight from the pros.



Squid chain teasers aren’t just for sailfish anymore — many crews pull a squid chain when pursuing blue or white marlin.

Squid chain teasers first came on the scene many years ago to help raise sailfish into the spread; over time, they became an important marlin teaser as well. Here are a few tips that might help you if you do decide to drag a squid chain for blue marlin.

Keep the chain short. You might think a long chain will attract more fish, but if the chain is too long, you can’t get it out of the water fast enough. A feisty blue just might chase that teaser all the way to the boat. Once the chain comes to a stop and you can’t get it all out of the water in one shot, the fish will either keep crashing it, go away or finally catch it good and rip off your rigger. I found this out the hard way when a new mate in Venezuela re-rigged some chains and made them too long.

The first fish of the day came in hot on the chain teaser; everything was going smooth to make the switch, but the fish didn’t see the flat line bait and kept coming. Even though the chain was just 2 feet too long, once the swivel jammed into the rigger, I had nowhere to go with it, and the fish was not taking no for an answer. The blue piled on again and became entangled in the heavy leader. Needless to say, it ripped off half the line from my teaser reel and a little bit of skin from my hands before finally breaking off. Fortunately, it did not take the rigger with it.

Most crews, including ours, also attach a natural bait to the end of the chain teaser. Just make sure you make a very secure bridle so a hard-crashing blue does not rip that bait off. I like to see the bait stitched about three quarters of the way down the back. If the bait does get torn off, it’s usually game over, so the more stitches the better.

When visibility is compromised, either from weather or by the sun’s glare at the end of the day, I prefer to put a lure at the end of the chain. Marlin seem to like a nice taste of a mackerel or horse ballyhoo at the end of the chain, but the bait won’t do you any good if the fish rips it off and swims away because you can’t see it back there.

— George Sawley, Fort Lauderdale, Florida