FishingFishing GearHow to Fish

Balloon Fisher King

Fishing with balloons is nothing new. As a west coast guy, I’ll use them for a many applications. But, basically it’s the same theory behind them all. Using the balloon as a bobber, the bait will remain at a predetermined distance below the surface. This is important for a few of our local fisheries, and with the introduction of the Balloon Fisher King clip, it just got easier. Before anyone freaks out, Balloon Fisher King balloons are 100 percent bioderadable latex so they won’t harm the environment.

Squid for White Seabass

If you’ve ever tried fishing live squid, you’ll know they don’t cooperate like most fin bait. They are very light and erratic underwater. Using a balloon gives you better control of these unpredictable cephalopods.

When fishing for C-bass on anchor outside a kelp line or other structure, floating squid back into the “bite zone”, usually down current and down wind is made much easier by deploying a balloon. The current and wind will take the balloon towards the desired location, dragging the bait along with it. Additionally, by using multiple set ups with the rig, several baits can be fished at different depths by adjusting the location of the balloon clip on the line.

The balloon can also be fished at different distances from the boat to minimize tangles when the boat is swinging on anchor. Since we often fish white seabass at night, the visibility of the balloon acts as a guide, letting the angler know when and how to adjust lines to maintain a proper fishing spread.

Plunker Bite Tuna

On long drifts and slow pick bites, fishing for yellowfin and bluefin tuna, utilizing a balloon while live baiting with sardines or anchovies is becoming more and more popular. There are two main reasons for this. First of all, it allows for a down-wind bait presentation. Whether fishing on a sport boat or private yacht, fin bait will normally find their way up swell, up wind and up current. This means that everyone on the boat is fishing with their face into the wind and on the same side of the boat. Personally, I like to create unique bait presentation that not only keeps me away from other angler’s baits, but out of potential tangles as well. This is a perfect time to deploy the balloon. Using the balloon clip instead of the typical rubber band allows me to adjust the length of the leader easily and fish a bait on the down wind side of the boat. The wind will use the balloon as a sail and drag with it, the attached fin bait.

Secondly, it offers a way to get the bait away from the boat and control the ultimate distance. In a finicky bite, this can be of utmost importance, and, once again, using the balloon as a visual aid, the bait can be controlled and delivered into the bite zone. This is a great technique to use on those days where long drifts are a must along with long soaks. Often the rewards present themselves by getting bit when others are not.

Much of these same techniques can be used while drift fishing for sharks as well. Setting up balloons at different distances from the boat and depths can cover the water column to create the best opportunity and presentation of a bait to these apex predators.

For more information on the specifics of how the Balloon Fisher King clips work,