Wahoo Ballyhoo Rigging The San Sal Ballyhoo Rig

bait rigging

There are almost as many ways to rig a ballyhoo as there are to skin a cat, and the “San Sal” rig is a great way to put a second hook in a ballyhoo when you are wahoo fishing.  The “San Sal” reference is because San Salvador Island in the Bahamas is famous for giant winter-time wahoo and this is a rig built for that.  The double hook rig will work for wahoo in any location and this method does not require a bead chain or flimsy connections to the second hook. The second hook is set back in the bait to eliminate that missed cut-off that wahoo are famous for. I will say it is slightly more advanced than a normal ballyhoo rig, but so are the results.

Here are my tips for prepping your ballyhoo for rigging.  These steps remain the same for all of my ballyhoo rigging.

Ballyhoo Prep

Eyeball Removal

Parasite Removal

I’ve taken lots of pictures of each little step, so you can practice at home.  Just don’t get ballyhoo juice on the computer!

rigging tips

First we have to make the double hook connection.  The hook size needs to match the size of the bait.  Normally we are using large or horse ballyhoo.

offshore rigging

I’m opening the eye on a Mustad 3407 Super Strong 9/0 with a pair of side cutters.  Only open it enough to pass the other hook point through.

fishing tips

Pass the second hook through the opened eye so that the hooks are opposing each other.  Then squeeze the eye back to normal with a vise or heavy-duty pliers.

wahoo rig

Now put a haywire twist to the leading hook and use a generous tag.  Normally I will be using heavy wire like number 10 or 12 single strand wire leader.

ballyhoo rig

Use needle nose pliers to bend a 90-degree  into the tag for the sinker to slide on.

how to

Add the 1/2 to 1-ounce egg sinker and then bend another 90-degree turn back towards the main leader.

wahoo fishing

Now make some simple barrel wraps with the tag end and trim to a half-inch. Add a copper wire. (get the heavier, longer version for big ballyhoo)

bait fishing

Next lay the rig alongside the ballyhoo and mark the spots on the belly with a hook point where each hook will exit the belly.  (this ballyhoo is almost too small, but its what I had)

trolling rigs

Hold your thumb on the spot where the back hook exits and mark with a hook point.

wahoo fishing

Then lay the rig back out and mark the spot for the front hook to enter. Be precise, it matters!

tips rigging

Now take the rear hook and enter in the hole you made for the forward hook.

bait tips

Exit the rear hook through the rear mark near the tail.

rigging tip

Take a knife and slightly enlarge the forward opening. Keep it minimal because water will force in while trolling and reduce the life of the bait.

ballyhoo wahoo

This is the tricky part.  Turn the front hook backwards and work the point into the opening.

two hook

Start turning the hook back forward to its normal position concentrating on keeping the point from poking through the side of the bait.

fishing tips

Here is the desired position. You are now ready to secure the head.

wahoo tricks

Push the pin upward through the mouth and wrap tightly with the copper wire.  Take some of your wraps through the eye cavity to anchor the head. Finish the wrap up the bill making sure the wire is centered underneath.

fishing how-toSlide your favorite lure in front and go catch big wahoo or anything else for that matter.  The back hook can pivot on the front hook, so the bait can still swim, and the chin weight helps the bait to swim upright.

Go Get Em’!

Other Wahoo tips:

High Speed Wahoo Rig

Early Season Wahoo

Capt. Scott Goodwin
Capt. Scott Goodwin started fishing in the lakes of Kentucky where he grew up. A move to Florida, however, brought him into a whole new realm of fishing. After receiving a bachelor's degree in biology from Eckerd College, he decided that he liked catching fish more than studying them and thus began ...