By Tim Barefoot
When fishing for many species, and especially wahoo, eliminating the “short strike” makes the fish box look a lot better back at the dock. There are few things more disappointing than checking a bait in the spread and discovering you have been pulling around a ballyhoo cleanly snipped off right behind the hook.
Older and larger fish are not stupid; this “short strike” right behind the hook is not an accident. Don’t get me wrong… there have been more wahoo, dolphin and tuna caught on pin-rigged ballyhoo than all the other offerings combined. However, there are days when a nice “clean” naked ballyhoo swimming like a snake with an almost invisible stinger hook is the only trick that works.
There are several brands of seven-strand cable that will work just fine, but for this snelled stinger hook, I use American Fishing Wire 175-pound, brown cable. It’s soft and folds into place nicely. And it’s strong when crimped and snelled. In addition to the stinger hook, I like to snell a short piece onto the front end of the ballyhoo to avoid the total bite off.
Snelling cable is no different than snelling mono or fluoro, but with less wraps. With the 175-pound cable, I like to make four wraps on the hook, but try it for yourself and use whatever feels good. Here’s how I do it:
- Thread the end of approximately 18 inches through the inside bite of the hook eye, and make a loop about the size of a baseball. Hold the loop between you left thumb and index finger.
- Make four wraps around the hook shank, from the back of the bend going forward.
- Pull the tag end of the cable with pliers until “snug” on the hook shank, and push the wraps forward toward the eye of the hook before cinching down on the cable.
- Next, make a couple wraps of the cable around one hand and pull hard on the main line and the tag end with pliers at the same time to cinch down tight on the snell.
- The main line end of cable now needs to be cut to the right length and crimped to the proper diameter to fit around the main hook and for the proper length of the ballyhoo.
For a detailed video of this clean and super strong stinger hook and how to apply it, check out the website and click on “Clean (Snelled) Stinger Hook Assembly.” www.barefootcatsandtackle.com.