Small Boat, Big Tease
EFFECTIVE TEASING METHODS PAY BIG DIVIDENDS FOR OFFSHORE CENTER-CONSOLES
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!
SET THE STAGE
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.
DON’T GET BENT
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.
INS AND OUTS
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.
Add a teaser setup to your center-console.
OPTIONS: Any variety of teasers may be deployed to run outside the fishing lines.