A tip on teasers
Every time you venture offshore, you’re riding on the best teaser you could ever use. Experienced crews that use both their electronics and polarized sunglasses to spot fish — and especially those that do so from the tower — can all tell stories of what the guys call “prop watchers.”
An observant skipper sometimes sees a marlin following so closely behind the transom that there’s a real fear the fish’s bill is going to hit the props, especially when pulling big baits at slow trolling speeds. But I haven’t heard of that actually happening… yet.
When a fish is first seen very close to the boat, you often have to hand-line or wind up a bait to get any reaction from the marlin, whose attention was fixated on the boat. If the marlin whirls around and bites immediately upon seeing the bait, you can be pretty certain that the fish hadn’t seen the bait before it was pulled up into visual range. You see a similar reaction many times when baiting marlin found tailing, sometimes hundreds of yards away.
Even when fishing high-speed lures, you occasionally spot a marlin underneath the corner of the boat. Although the whitewater generated by the higher trolling speeds used when pulling artificial lures hinders your ability to look down into the water, underneath that thin surface layer, the fish’s vision is unhindered, and many fish come to the boat before they ever become aware of a bait or lure
Many of the “crash” strikes that occur on flat lines surprise the anglers in the cockpit or the skippers who stay on the flybridge. However, a captain or spotter in the tower often sees these fish tracking the bait, or the boat, before they decide to eat.
These fish have to see the boat, or even more likely, the boat’s wake before seeing any baits, lures or teasers. The boat’s wake and low rumbling of inboard diesel engines are probably what draws fish into your spread. Once they come close enough, they home in on your baits.
If you want to catch bigger marlin, forget pulling those big teasers close to the boat. Put something with a hook in it in that position, and you’ll end up catching more big fish.
Why do some boats catch more fish or raise fish better than others? The most common answer is usually because one of the captains possesses a bit more skill and information. And you can find reams of scientific studies that prove this to be true, even over a multitude of different fisheries.
But what about the same captain on the same boat who suddenly gets red-hot or goes stone-cold dead after being king of the fleet. What happened? The most likely answer is, absolutely nothing happened. It is the so-called law of averages catching up over time. The laws of probability are not just good ideas. They are laws, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of data to make any real conclusions.
It is rare to find any fisherman who keeps enough accurate records to really know what is going on. “Luck” is best defined as the occurrence of an unlikely (improbable) event, which can be positive (good luck) or negative (bad luck). Most often you consider yourself merely lucky when doing well against good competition and unlucky when doing poorly.
Your skills or the characteristics of your boat haven’t changed. Only by keeping accurate records over a long period of time can you make any real conclusions.