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Drift the dredge: teasers designed for trolling bring the fish to a dead boat.

Dredge teasers are a popular tool used by trolling anglers with great success on offshore species like sailfish, marlin, and dolphin. Classically rigged with natural baits such as mullet or ballyhoo, dredge teasers are used by trolling anglers looking to entice predator fish close to their boats and hooked baits by impersonating a swimming school of baitfish. While natural bait dredge teasers are a time-consuming labor of love most closely associated with large sportfishing yachts and professional crews, today more user-friendly artificial dredge teasers are available to all anglers in various styles and configurations.

While fishing in our home waters off Florida's east coast, we spend the majority of our fishing time drifting live baits as opposed to trolling. But that has not stopped us from incorporating artificial dredge teasers into our standard drift fishing presentation. In particular, our favorite type of artificial dredge consists of double laminated holographic fish strips containing reflective mylar fish shaped decals attached behind a six arm umbrella frame dredge from www. strikepointtackle.com. These fish strip dredges have truly revolutionized dredge fishing in general and are ideally suited for drifting. But why?

When pursued by predators, bait fish will ball up into tightly packed bait balls and make erratic directional changes in unison. When viewed underwater, these directional changes act like a mirror reflecting intermittent flashes of light off of the fishes' scales.

Predator fish who come across erratic moving bait balls are often triggered into a feeding mode and it is this feeding response that anglers seek to induce. Fish strip dredges provide us anglers with the most realistic-appearing tool to attract game fish and trigger their feeding response from a drifting boat. This can be accomplished regardless how your particular boat drifts.

On our boat, we prefer to drift beam-to the sea with a drift anchor cleated off amid-ship. This allows us to spread out our lines and fish more rods on the upwind side of the boat. After our live baits are deployed, we position one unweighted fish strip dredge from the bow and another from the stern. For our standard setup, we attach each dredge via a crimped-on ball bearing snap swivel to approximately 50 feet of 300-pound-test monofilament that is stored on a coiler or hand fishing "yo-yo."

The bitter end of the monofilament is cleated off and the dredge is slowly lowered into the water, while ensuring that all of the individual strips are flowing untangled behind the dredge. Each dredge is lowered until all of the monofilament tether is in the water. In addition to using the monofilament hand line method, some people choose to deploy their dredges from a downrigger, an outrigger, or heavy fishing rod depending on their style of boat. For us, the hand line method is simple and gets the job done.

No matter how you deploy it, the key to mimicking a real bait ball is to keep it moving up and down the water column. So once deployed, the dredges are intermittently retrieved back to the boat, checked for tangles, and lowered back again and again while monitoring our rods. Jigging the dredges at various depths and in different jigging patterns creates the illusion of a ball of bait trying to elude predators.

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Title Annotation:FS SEMINA OFFSHORE
Author:Funt, Seth; Grant, Michael
Publication:Florida Sportsman
Date:Mar 1, 2014
Words:542
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