Modified Balloon Rig

Discussion in 'San Diego Long Range Fishing' started by Tunaslayer, Nov 20, 2012.

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  1. Tunaslayer

    Been noticing that whenever a helium balloon is used, the balloon is tied directly to the line (using rubber band or string) so that it doesn't move. Was thinking that it might be better to allow it to slide along the line to more easily control the depth of the bait. The kite rig uses this sliding method so that you can adjust using the bait rod without moving the kite.

    The rig I was thinking of uses the 200 or 300lb escape proof swivel. The ring on those is pretty big. The ring would work just like the release clip on the kite. The only difference is that it wouldn't release. The swivel just slides down towards the hook for retrieval once the fish is unhooked. I don't see friction being an issue since during the fight the swivel is sliding towards the fish underwater. The only snafu I see is that bits of balloon and rubber band might foul the swivels progress down the line. Unlikely considering the size of the ring but any other good reason why this won't work?

    P.S. This would be done off a private boat fishing caballitos as bait.
  2. offshore6

    Part of the purpose of a kite or helium balloon rig is to keep the bait right on the surface. You don't want them diving below nor hanging in the air.

    With a balloon properly inflated to match the size (weight) of the bait, it will keep the bait on the surface but is not strong enough to lift it into the air. If the fish does swim below the surface, the lift of the balloon will eventually pull it back to the surface, where you want it.

    Allowing the balloon to slide on the line would be counter-productive, in my opinion.
  3. Bill W

    You can try anything off a private boat. Like to hear how it works for you, save the balloon for another fish.
  4. Tunaslayer

    Thanks for the replies. My concern is having to match the lift of the balloon perfectly to the weight of the bait to maximize the time it spends splashing on top. With different bait sizes, wind, current, etc. affecting this, I'm looking to eliminate the need to repeatedly re-inflate or deflate. Even if everything remains constant, the temp changes of the balloon will causes lift properties to change.

    I was hoping this rig would eliminate the need to retrieve, adjust, and re-deploy repeatedly thereby wasting time and killing baits. I really need to know if this introduces more complications than it solves? I also am considering the balloon sliding too far down the line towards the bait or not enough. Figured more or less line out would resolve that in theory. Open to throwing out the whole idea if I've engineered a cluster waiting to happen. Thanks again in advance for the feedback.
  5. tpeach

    I would imagine that it would be hard to keep the balloon in the right place on the line. Like said previously the idea is to keep the bait on the surface. Once the bait takes a dive and moves the balloon up the line or you let slack into the line the balloon will move up further. If you are on a private boat then why use the helium balloon at all when you can use a kite and attach more than one line/rod to the kite string. That would be more manageable. I have fished as many as 3 kites for Sails off of West Palm Beach, FL at a time with 2 rods fished on each kite. Yes a lot of work with a jumping Sailfish but we did not necessarily clear all the lines upon a hookup. With a sounding tuna probably would not have to clear any.
  6. Tunaslayer

    Makes sense. I was thinking a balloon could be fished in closer than the kite or when the wind is weak. We'll be fishing the kite too so I could double up. Seems like the balloon might float at a different angle than the kite to cover more water. There was also concern that the wind spinning the balloon could twist and tangle the spectra around the ring of the swivel. I'll probably just direct tie the rubber band and adjust lift as needed. Thanks for all the input
  7. Tim Turis

    Decide what size balloon you want to use; often a 24" works well under most conditions.

    Use a small to medium small bait; less weight for the balloon to lift.

    Adjust the leader length (again weight) by where you attach the balloon to the leader. If the the bait is lifted out of the water for the first 50-75', by the time it gets further away from the boat it should be splashing nicely across the surface...
  8. Tunaslayer

    Great advice. I'll mess with it boatside. Didn't remember that the extra line would weigh the balloon down so low flying baits near the boat will automatically touch down farther out.
  9. snordo

  10. Tunaslayer

    I bought some 36 in latex ones at party city. Got a pack of white and a pack of light blue. Any reason for red? I figured white or blue would blend in better against a cloudy or clear sky. Was going to add a small piece of bright orange flagging tape right below the balloon for my visibility. Would have thought a clear balloon was even better? Is color a factor?