I just came home from a fishing trip to the Bahamas were we pulled a mixed spread of trolling lures and ballyhoo. Using a mixed spread is ideal when you’re targeting a range of offshore species such as dorado, wahoo and tuna, but mixing baits and lures can also be tough on your baits. Lures oftentimes look better when pulled fast but baits will take a beating when you troll them at higher speeds.
We protect the ballyhoo by adding a small lure head or chugger in front of the bait. This keeps the bait from washing out and helps it run straight and true in the spread. I like to trim the skirt much shorter than you would want the skirt when used on a lure. You don’t want to cover the hook in the ballyhoo with too much rubber or hair from the skirt. You could lose a fish if the hook gets buried in the skirt.
By using the lure head and a short bit of skirt, I get the fish-attracting smoke trail of bubbles and protect the bait from the increased water pressure.
By trimming the skirt I keep the hook exposed to improve the hook up ratio.
The final presentation gives your spread a nice mix of baits and lures to hook just about any offshore game fish that you raise behind the boat.