The basics of using teasers while trolling
One of the most frequently asked questions by recreational anglers is, “Should I use teasers while trolling?” The answer is not as simple as you think.
When trolling, the boat is the biggest fish attractor in the water. Fish are often curious about the commotion that the boat is making as it moves along.
Adding teasers to a simple spread of baits or lures increases the sensory profile of the entire spread, giving fish more targets to attack. Active teasers close to the boat often trigger aggressive behavior from predators that may not initially be excited by the baits and lures. Baiting these aggressive fish with pitch baits, or by reeling up flat lines to the teasers, affords anglers greater control of the bite and increases hook-up ratios.
For these reasons, the answer to the question will be “yes,” but it is beneficial to understand some basics before you add teasers to your trolling arsenal.
Daisy Chains – Daisy chain teasers are one of the oldest, simplest and easiest types of teaser to use effectively. The most popular daisy chain is a squid chain consisting of six to ten rubber squid strung together in line with spacing dependent upon the size of the squid.
Small, six-inch squid should be closer together (six to eight inches apart) while large, 18-inch squid should be farther apart (18 to 24 inches). Be sure to have at least two or three feet of mono at the lead end of the chain before the first squid, which will help the lead squid stay in the water and distance it from the swivel attached to your teaser line.
You can use egg sinkers as stoppers for each squid to help keep them in the water and running true. Use heavier sinkers in the lead squid and decrease the sinker size as you add squid to the chain. It is also popular to begin the chain with a bird lure or to crimp a snap swivel to the very end to add a natural bait like opelu or a cupped face artificial lure. The idea is to make your daisy chain look as enticing as possible.
Lure Teasers – A lure teaser is another basic teaser type and is simply a lure rigged without a hook or hook set.
To keep the mono from pulling through the lure head, string a stainless steel washer and a plastic bead onto a five-foot monofilament leader between the back of the lure and a crimped loop.
Lures with some size and weight to them are the best choices because they swim effectively close to the boat. Choose lures that leave a heavy bubble trail and make commotion in the water. Because lure teasers will pull with greater resistance and will take more effort to retrieve, it is recommended that you have some type of manual teaser reel set-up.
Deployment & Use – Although teasers can be fished anywhere in your spread, start with the basics and fish them close to the boat. A good basic distance is 30 to 50 feet behind the boat. Having two teasers is best if you have the proper set-up.
If you have outriggers, run your teaser lines through a pulley or glass ring attached to a point on the rigger even with your T-top when the riggers are deployed. This will get your teasers out of the white water immediately behind the boat and widen your spread.
If you decide to fish teasers, you must have a plan to take advantage of their use. Always have at least one pitch bait outfit ready to be deployed. When a fish appears on the teaser, drop the pitch bait back to the teaser position while a fellow crewmember reels the teaser away from the fish.
If you don’t have a pitch bait outfit, be prepared to reel flat line baits or lures up to the teaser position to take advantage of aggressive behavior. Effective use of teasers can be a real game-changer and will increase the number of fish you raise and catch.