Small Boat, Big Tease


Saltwater Sportsman - - Table Of Contents / Departments - GE­ORGE POVEROMO

Ef­fec­tive teas­ing meth­ods pay big div­i­dends for off­shore cen­ter-con­soles

The gen­er­ous tran­soms on large sport-fish­ing boats are ideal for elab­o­rate, teaser-rich trolling spreads. But what about smaller boats, par­tic­u­larly cen­ter-con­soles pro­pelled by twin, triple and quad out­boards? Can they tease as ef­fec­tively as the big bat­tlewag­ons? Sure, they can!


Nu­mer­ous man­u­fac­tur­ers of­fer teaser reels for small and mid­size boats. How­ever, for many trollers, there’s the in­tim­i­da­tion fac­tor to over­come. Lim­ited crews (of­ten just a friend or two) aboard small and mid­size boats must work ex­tra hard at main­tain­ing a five- or six-line trolling spread. Add a pair of teaser reels and that ef­fort in­creases sub­stan­tially, par­tic­u­larly for the per­son clear­ing the spread after ev­ery fish hooked.

Next, ques­tions arise over mount­ing, rig­ging and fish­ing them. Yet de­spite these per­ceived chal­lenges, adding teaser reels to small and mid­size boats isn’t dif­fi­cult.

I’ve been us­ing teaser reels for years aboard my out­board-pow­ered cen­ter-con­soles, more specif­i­cally, Elec-tra-mate’s Teezer Reels, model TR 10. This model, de­signed for a com­pressed in­stal­la­tion be­neath T-tops, hard­tops, radar arches and mar­lin tow­ers, is ma­chined from T6 air­craft alu­minum and then an­odized. The pan­cake-style teaser reels fea­ture a Te­flon drag sys­tem and a clicker for an au­di­ble tipoff, should line be­gin creep­ing out. They’re avail­able in 8- and 10-inch ver­sions, in sil­ver, black or cus­tom col­ors.


Mine mount un­der­neath the T-top’s aft star­board and port sides, where they’re out of the way yet within reach of the helms­man. The line guides aim to­ward the tip of the out­rig­gers.

Based on the top con­struc­tion, the reels should be through-bolted, with a back­ing plate, if nec­es­sary. If the top has un­der­side rails, com­po­nents are avail­able to mount them there.


In or­der to pull large, hook­less mar­lin lures, daisy chains of squid or mul­let, and hook­less spreader bars in the clean wa­ter off both sides of my prop wash, I ran the teaser reel lines through all three guides on my 18-foot Lee Sidewinder out­rig­gers. After pass­ing the teaser line through the far­thest eye, I slip a cork float onto it and then af­fix a snap swivel. The swivel, nat­u­rally, ac­cepts my teaser of choice, and the float pre­vents that swivel from be­ing wound back through the far out­rig­ger eye.

I keep the lead­ers of the ac­tual teasers to 3 feet or less. Should we need to quar­ter a fish for a chase or re­act to one charg­ing to­ward the bow, the re­spec­tive teaser can quickly be reeled clear of the wa­ter, elim­i­nat­ing any risk of foul­ing lines.


The sec­ond ob­jec­tive of a teaser reel (after rais­ing fish) is to pro­tect your pricey out­rig­gers.

I spool 30 to 50 yards of 10- or 15-pound-test mono onto the reels. Next, I join that light line to 150- or 200-pound-test mono and com­pletely fill the reel spool. For vis­i­bil­ity, I spool with a clear mono, which pro­vides a sharp con­trast against the black out­rig­ger cord.

As a teaser is set, ad­just the drag on the reel just firmly enough con­tin­ued

to hold it in po­si­tion. If it slips, the clicker alerts us. The set­ting must also be light enough for the line to pay off the teaser reel with­out ex­ces­sive pres­sure, should a hot fish run off with the teaser. A tight drag set­ting will surely buckle an out­rig­ger pole.

When a de­ter­mined fish takes off with the teaser, the con­nec­tion to the lighter back­ing will usu­ally part au­to­mat­i­cally. If it doesn’t, it can be bro­ken by sim­ply in­creas­ing the teaser reel drag. Gone will be a teaser and some line, but saved will be the out­rig­ger pole.


The snap swivel on each teaser line should stow near the reel. When swing­ing the rig­gers out for trolling du­ties, first loosen the drags on the reels. Once out, re­move each snap swivel from its an­chor, at­tach the teaser, and drop it over­board to swing out and back to track be­hind the tip of the out­rig­ger.

To re­trieve the teasers, take up the trolling baits, stop the boat, and swing the out­rig­gers back to their run­ning po­si­tion. Then reel the teasers in close enough to catch their line with a gaff, loosen the drag on the teaser reel, and pull them into the cock­pit. Re­move the teaser, fas­ten the snap swivels to their an­chor near the reel, tighten the drag, and reel up the slack.


Don’t view teasers as op­tions; they should be an in­te­gral part of the en­tire spread, com­ple­ment­ing the baits. Set the flat line baits 10 to 30 feet be­hind the teasers. Should a fish rise for a closer look, it could very well pick off one of those baits. If a fish locks in on a teaser and ig­nores the baits, reel up one of those baits to re­place the teaser as you reel it up.

Keep pitch baits handy too, to drop back to fish ris­ing to a teaser: a 20-pound out­fit with a bal­ly­hoo for sail­fish, white mar­lin or dol­phin, and a 50 pound out­fit with a mul­let or mack­erel for blue mar­lin.

Teaser reels are tremen­dous as­sets for small and mid­size boats, de­spite the ex­tra la­bor in­volved in set­ting them up and hon­ing your team’s re­ac­tion times and ma­nip­u­la­tion pro­ce­dure. Once you get that down, many more fish will fall vic­tim to your swath of il­lu­sions.

EASY OPS: A teaser reel un­der the T-top makes de­ploy­ment fast and sim­ple.

Ge­orge Poveromo

Add a teaser setup to your cen­ter-con­sole.

OP­TIONS: Any va­ri­ety of teasers may be de­ployed to run out­side the fish­ing lines.

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