- Posted by Nick Honachefsky
- On February 16, 2017
From Florida to New Jersey to Cabo San Lucas, small-boat anglers can easily be into some reel-screaming speedsters including false albacore, Spanish mackerel, mahi, skipjack tuna, and bonito. It’s easy to rig right to tackle inshore speed demons.
Smaller, large capacity reels are the way to go, matched with lightweight trolling rods such as a Penn Rampage or Penn Ally . Trolling reels such as Penn 525, Penn Squall 30LD or Shimano TLD fit the bill. Spool up with 50-pound braided line, with a 10 foot top shot of 40-pound mono leader via wind on leader or Albright knot, to which a 250-pound snap swivel is attached via offshore knot. The trolling leader and lure is then attached to the snap.
Feathers, cedar plugs, metals, and squid skirts are all choice lures to attract speedster attention. Attractive offerings I use in my spread include 00 Clark Spoons , 4-inch Cedar plugs, Williamson blue/white Dorado Catcher and black/purple Flash Feather. Colors can range all over the board, but for me I’ve found green/yellow usually attracts mahi, blue/white gets skippies, bonito and even small bluefin, black/purple/pink for skippies, albies and bones, and metals for Spanish macks.
On small craft, you can run six lines effectively – two off the flat lines, two in the stern gunnels and two out the rocket launchers on the gunnels. If six lines is overwhelming, a four line spread is easily manageable on a small craft and is just as effective. Cruise at a 5 to 7 knot pace, paying attention when going with and against the tide, adjusting the throttle accordingly and occasionally bumping the engines in and out of gear or turning frequently to shift the depth presentation of the spread in the water column, which many times can encourage a fish that has been following and interested to strike.
Keep the lures just below the surface, sometimes allowing them to break the water’s surface to create some splishing and splashing and work over ledges, reef sites and wrecks where many speedsters congregate. A solid spread will have two lines right in the prop wash, two on the first wake and two on the second wake. Watch the rod tips buckle down, listen for that clicker to scream and hold on tight to some liquid lightning.
Penn RAMBW2040C70LB Rampage Boat Rod
Penn Rampage Boat Rods were designed for charter boats or anglers that need durability in a variety of fishing situations. Constructed with tubular glass blank for extra strength, Penn Rampage also features a solid glass tip that helps keep the rod tip from breaking even when high sticked.
Penn SQL30LD Squall Lever Drag Reel
Penn designed the Squall Lever Drag reels with function and ergonomics at the top of the list. The lever drag does not protrude above the frame of the reel. This means there is no way for the line to loop over and hang up on the lever of the Squall Lever Drag.
Shimano TLD-15 Triton Lever Drag Reel
You don’t need a big boat to catch big fish. In fact, there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t catch a 250-pound thresher shark from your 20-foot center console boat. Unless you left your Shimano TLD at home. If you own a small fishing boat, or you often find yourself elbow-to-elbow with your angling compatriots on the large party boats, you need a reel that’s both nimble and versatile.