by Hogy Elite Pro Staffer Capt. Aaron Snell
Hogy Lures make great teasers for both offshore and inshore species. Hogy Softbaits are incredibly life-like in the way that they move, feel and visually appear to game fish. Their natural appearance will draw fish near and keep them within casting range for the eager fly rodder.
Alternative to Ballyhoo Teasers
Hogy Softbaits are an excellent alternative to the messy, time-consuming process of rigging natural bait, and they will out-tease other artificial lures. Hogy Softbaits come in an assortment of sizes and colors, allowing you to simply match your teasers to the favored prey item.
They can also be rigged to troll or cast in as many different ways as there are species of fish to pursue in the Florida Keys, making them the most versatile lures on the planet.
Offshore Fly Fishing
Fly fishing offshore almost always involves teasing fish to the boat. Teasing fish offshore usually consists of dragging an impressive array of precisely-rigged natural baits that can cost a boat-load of money. Catching bait yourself costs time that could be spent fishing, as well as the painful process of rigging and maintaining the baits.
Winter and springtime sailfish in the Florida Keys can become fixated on ballyhoo, and getting them to eat (or even look at) anything else can be almost impossible.The 10” Hogy Original is similar in shape and size to ballyhoo and they also have the natural bait “feel” needed to keep picky fish interested .As a result, they make perfect teasers for these discriminating fish.
Making Your Own Daisy Chain
I use a combination of whip finishes and crimps to construct my chains. I prefer a chain that is at least 6’ long to create a sufficient presence in the water. For the 10” Hogy Original, I recommend the XL Hogy Baitkeeper.
I run the chain on a high-speed conventional reel down the middle and the singles on high retrieve spinning reels off the corners. It is imperative you use reels with a high rate of retrieve in order to generate enough speed for the tease. I use spinning rods because they are easier to position the teaser, once the fish is up. They can be picked up and cast at fish that are headed in the wrong direction.
Depending on how rough the water is, I will add a trolling weight to the chain to get it down below the surface.
The colors I most commonly use are Bone, Bally Smoke and Pink but my all-time favorite color remains Bone (white). In off-colored water the darker colors such as Bally Smoke and Black seem to work better.
Once everything is in the water, I run the chain a little closer to the boat than the singles, mostly because I want the fish to come up on the corners. When a fish is raised it is then a simple bait and switch procedure.
In the fly fishing world there are some species that can be remarkably hard to feed a fly. Qualifying at the top of this list for the Florida Keys, the barracuda makes an excellent candidate for teasing. Hogy Lures accurately mimic the barracuda’s common prey on the flats; this makes them the perfect choice for the bait-and-switch technique.
Barracuda have incredible eyesight, making it difficult to get the boat within fly rod range. They often see fly line in the air before it even hits the water.
When utilizing a Hogy as a barracuda teaser I use a small trace of single strand wire connected to a Hogy Bait-Keeper screw. Once a fish is located, I like to approach it from a 90-degree angle. Again, I use a high rate of retrieve spinning reel in order to move the bait fast enough for the tease.
Cast the lure beyond the fish so that he doesn’t see it hit the water and bring it past his nose at a medium-fast pace.
Once he sees the Hogy and begins to track it, pick up the speed. Play a game of “keep away” with the fish until it is in fly rod range, then yank the Hogy out of the water. Have the angler put the fly in the water right where the teaser came from and the ‘cuda should nail it.