Its the south island east coast salmon fisher here.
I spoke to you and said I was keen to trailer my boat to Tutukaka , Northland, NZ.
Well after 24hrs of driving we made it to Toots. I was there for just under a month but only had 9 or so days on the water due to big seas and terrible weather. I followed exactly what you told me to in your chat session and in your videos. For the 9 days we had 2 hook ups and caught and released 2 striped marlin. For a rank beginner I was stoked. many thanks.
Please make sure Peter reads this. Took my witch doctor and the rest of the lures I purchased from you and ran them as recommended. I was very critical about their exact position. My wife and I along with my captain fished no more than 30 miles from La Paz, BCS. We fished very hard and steady and in 8 days had recorded these results which can be verified by photos. We raised 20+ stripe marlin. Coming into the spread in 1-4 at a time with several double hookups. We eventually were able to catch and release 17. More importantly in an area that has not been friendly over the past 5 years. In addition we raised about 12-15 blue marlin. We hooked and brought to the boat 8. Smallest estimated weight of 125 lbs and the largest was a measured weight of 441 lbs., which was tail wrapped and died prior to betting it in. All others were successfully releases with no injuries to them or us. Most were in about 250 lbs with two others being big at an estimated of over 350 and the other slightly larger at possibly 400. We ran all of the lures, colors and position as you recommended. We did include the Mexican Patrolero out of respect for my captain who was in the state of shock when after 3 days it did not get a hit. It was being run in the shotgun position and even I was surprised. My wife didn't care...she was reading her book and only responded when summoned to clear lines and the witchdoctor. We also won a small tournament that included 8 pangas and had a blast. Never have we done this good. I just wanted to let you know that the lures worked flawlessly and out performed everything else. I have no less than 100 lures on the boat and only used 7. I will be ordering the shredder today if for no other reason than I don't have one. This is not a fishing story and if you would like some photos of the lumo sprocket on the big blue send me your email address. People were actually following us around and I even have photos of that. Thanks so much. Take care. 3MJ
Whoever receives this please forward it to Peter.
I have been fishing the Sea of Cortez between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas for the past 15-20 years. I currently own a 58 Donzi sports fisher. I don’t claim to be an expert like yourself but have caught my share of marlin. I have good fishing equipment, wear good sun glasses and cheap clothing.
For the past 6 years I have taken my two youngest grandsons fishing to Mexico. Just grandpa and two grandsons…no one else allowed. It’s obviously a highlight I love, as do they. Now that they are 12 and 13 years old they are able to help with the fishing.
I have never written to anyone regarding their product either pro or con. I am sending you this letter in hopes it puts a smile on your face knowing that you contributed to a grandpa and two grandkids having a very successful annual fishing trip using your lures and suggestions.
My boat is loaded down with the standard fishing equipment i.e. rods, reels, fishing line, lures, teasers, dredges, and other must have necessary equipment. (My wife of 45 years just doesn’t understand…but has given up)
I’m not sure how, but one day while using the internet I came across a film of you explaining the “Witch Doctor”. (I am a huge fan of teasers). I also liked the way you made up your hooks. Simple, yet very practical. Not sure I fully understand the 60 degree offset of the hooks but I’ll figure it out. I of course ordered the Witch Doctor directly from you rather than a copycat version, along with a host of other much needed equipment. My wife had to help me as I have never placed an on line order in my life.
About a week or so later your stuff arrived and I packed it up and headed south to my boat with both grandsons. Hurricane Blanca was passing through and so the ports were closed and we kept busy with preparation until they opened on Tuesday.
Overall fishing was slow so we headed south. On June 11, while fishing near the south end of Island Cerralvo, with the Witch Doctor and other lures of yours, along with two proven teasers and the infamous Mexican Petrolero lure that is probably number one in our collection. My Captain and I witnessed two stripe Marlin come into the pattern and come between the witch Doctor and the rear of the boat. They circled the Witch Doctor as if trying to figure it out! Reminded me of curious porpoise. It was obvious to anyone and everyone that they were checking out the Witch Doctor!!! One of the marlin eventually hit on your famous green lumo sprokett. My Mexican Captain was in complete shock and his feelings were hurt as the marlin had bypassed his Mexican Petrolero. On June 12 this exact same thing happened once again! The marlin did not appear to be attacking the Witch Doctor but only curious…..again they passed up the infamous Mexican Petrolero for the green lumo sprokett. ( side note…not the same two marlin). Obviously the witch doctor drew them into the pattern. Fortunately for them we are a catch and release gang.
In all my years, I have never seen marlin so curious about anything. Thank you.
Since I have purchased the Witch Doctor and other stuff from you I have noticed similar products being sold elsewhere. Before passing away my Dad told me the best form of flattery is to be copied. However, It does become upsetting at times to see others make a profit from something you have developed and sincerely believe in. Some people will buy the copied version and maybe it is good. I don’t know and I don’t care…I’ll pay the extra to support the right people.
Just thought I would let you know.
Pakula lure wow and wow again. Love using these skirt. The take the reel spinning. The fight wow
Hey mate I'm Michael Lassen from the SCGFC and I joined half way through the season and I have a pakula addiction. There the only skirts I run in my spread. The quality and results are incredible. My total for this season finished on total from when i joined last season: blacks: 21 sails: 6 Dolly's: 12 spainards: 11 yellow fin : 8 wahoo; 4 and 90% of that was on your skirts. The boys are teaching me a bit of live baiting these days and I'm really keen to keep improving my fishing. But just letting you know how great your skirts are and really impressed with your product. I got first billfish for the club this season and I'm going to enter my first tournament in October. If around you should come up.
Adam Voss - Fiji
Bula to the Pakula team. I think you have done a great job with the new web site. I have just made another on line order and it is a much improved experience. Again well done and keep up the great tackle and service.
Kevin Harrison - Texas
I'm new to fishing the Gulf of Mexico, been a bay fisherman. A friend of mine asked a friend of his, who has won tournaments all over the world, what kind of lures I should use. He said the only lure I need is the Lumo Sprocket head. Sure enough the first time I went out, I muddled around trying to figure out what I was doing and they worked great. Thanks again, Kevin
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Hook point alignment in skirted trolling lure rigs.
Peter Pakula 17th January 2015
Busting, straightening and bending hooks has been a very common problem for some, and totally non-existent for others. Hopefully this article will go some way to explain that the choice really is yours, whether to get a clean hook up rate or break points or bend and break hooks trying to get them into what is often a pretty solid mass of bone.
Keep in mind, every fish you've ever caught was because the hooks set well or the fish was tangled up somehow. It’s not the successful ones we are dealing with here. It’s the ones you didn’t hook in the first place or lost during the battle.
There are many factors involved in getting a great hook up rate, each of which needs examining. In this article we are just looking at one tiny, but important aspect, the alignment of the hook point.
Firstly we need to create some terminology which hasn’t existed as far as I know, no-one has looked at this topic in this manner. Terms like hook points, types of points, barbs, gape, stiff, loose rigs are around, but for a better explanation of getting a greater understanding of how hooks and rigs function, we need to add a few more terms.
The ‘Direction of Pull’ is the direction the force on the hook is coming from, i.e. the drag setting on the reel, water pressure on the line and (if the fish is running) the pressure of the lure being pulled backwards.
The ‘Point Angle’ is the angle of the hooks point direction relative to the hooks shank (the part of the hook below the eye).
The ‘Fulcrum’ is where the hook pivots when pressure is applied to the point. In the case of rigs where to hook is on a loose loop the fulcrum is the hook eye. In the case of stiffer rigs, the fulcrum is somewhere above the hook eye depending on how stiff the rig is, but in most cases it’s the upper end of the crimp next to the hook.
The ‘Point to Fulcrum’ angle is the difference between the direction the point is facing and the direct line from the hook point to the fulcrum. The ideal situation is that the point and fulcrum are directly in line which is also the direction of pull, meaning the hook point is being pulled directly in line with the direction of pull. However, a hook with that shape would have a very small gape for its size and the weight of such a hook would detrimentally affect lure action.
Stiff Hook Rigs
The images show common hook shapes stiff rigged, which is where the crimp on the wire butts up tightly to the hook eye to make the rig more rigid. Often heat shrink or tape is used to support and stiffen the stiffness of the rig.
As you can see, none of the points are even close to being in line with the fulcrum. Many of the points are close to being parallel to the direction of pull, but being parallel is very different to being in line as we’ll see later. Rig 3 is the closest to having the point in line with the direction of pull however the angle of 25O is far from ideal. Anyone who has tried to hit a nail that’s at 250 into a piece of wood knows that’s it’s going to bend or snap. Hooks will also bend or snap if they hit something hard like bone at that angle.
It is assumed that what you see out of the water remains the case during a hook up. To do that the rig would have to remain rigid under the load of the drag, which is rarely the case.
The image shows common hook types on what is commonly called the stiff rig under a load of 14 ounces or 400 grams which is much less than any drag setting used trolling lures.
What is evident is that in all but one hook shape, it’s the barb that’s entering the target first, rather than the point end. If the barb is sharpened, then it is likely to cut along rather than penetrate.
The fulcrum is now at the end of the crimp away from the hook eye, which means the length of the shank has been extended.
The longer the shank, the more leverage there is on the hook point, the easier it is for the hook to bend.
The only hook that has the point even close to in line with the direction of pull is the centre one, which is in a great position if it survives the initial hammer strike.
To really appreciate what is happening here try the experiment yourself with the rigs you using under the load of the drag you are using.
Loose Hook Rigs
Here we have the same hooks rigged on a loose rig so the hook is able to swing freely on the loop.
Unlike the stiff rig, most of points of the hooks have a negative degree value meaning the points are facing more away than towards the fulcrum and the direction of pull. Only the centre hook has a positive value plus it’s point to fulcrum value is more in line with the direction of pull.
It would seem that all bar hook shapes like the one in the centre shouldn’t be used in loose rigs. However we should wait for more information before we make a final judgement.
Once again the rigs are loaded with 14 ounces or 400 grams.
The stiff rigs are shaded in light blue so we can view the difference. In all cases the fulcrum is now the shortest length, which is the hooks eye.
Also in all cases, the hook is sitting at a greater angle even though the hook points are directly in line with the direction of pull. The points are still in all, but the centre hook is digging in barb side first and the point is not in line with the direction of pull.
Because of the curved shape of the point in the middle rig the point is still in line with the direction of pull. Once again try this exercise with loose looped rigs as shown using the force of your normal drag settings and see the results. Perhaps try more than your normal pressure and also try less and see what happens.
Another factor in rigging is what the hooks and rigs do when they’re being trolled in a lure at 6.5 to 9 knots.
Images from top to bottom show the angle the hook travels at slow speeds down to its angle at high speeds.
If you watch your rod tip you’ll see it bend and straighten as the lure cycles through it breathing and diving. The hook also goes through the angles shown to some extent through the lures working cycle.
If the hook isn’t free to cycle through the angles shown as with a stiff rig, it’s more likely to spin than a loose rig which means its hook point will not be riding up to go around a jaw bone – which is what we want to get a consistently good hook up rate. This regardless of hook-lock systems, tooth picking and other methods of locking the lure rig to the skirted lure in most cases.
So far the news doesn’t look too good for most, which is understandable as most don’t have a great hook up rate, especially targeting marlin on rigged lures.
After you’ve checked your rigs the way you have been using them there are a few things you can try that might just improve things for you.
It’s pretty common to use a hook file to cut down barbs for better penetration through a fish’s jaw and to sharpen points.
We can also bind and or glue keel weights to the hooks to lessen the chances of rigs spinning and maintain the hook point up.
In most cases hooks are sharpened with the points in line with the original hooks shape and the direction of the point which maintains the original angles of the point.
It’s common to use a file to sharpen, or rather reshape points and cut down barbs for easier penetration.
Try a slightly different approach to the way you sharpen your hooks by aiming the point in the direction of the pull and the fulcrum.
The point is aimed, not in line with the hooks shape, but straight at the fulcrum where direction of pull is coming from. The points taper is based on the force applied to the point, which is the drag setting when you are trolling.
You still cut down the barb if needed for better penetration, but don’t sharpen the barb side of the point as you want the point to pivot and dig in rather than let the barb slice across and not into its target.
Your tests will show you whether your points are too fine or too thick. Use materials like pine wood or several layers of cardboard to see how your hooks penetrate. When you do the tests hold onto the leader to pull the hooks in and see if the drag settings will pull the hook in past the barb, or bend the point or if you need to change the point by making it thicker or finer or if you need to cut the barb down a little more.
Try sharpening a hook in this manner and then repeat the exercises mentioned previously. The difference in my tests and subsequent hook up rates certainly improved dramatically from what I considered at the time a great conversion rate.
The way you rig a lure and sharpen hooks is not the magic that will make a huge difference alone. It’s just one of the many things to consider amongst the many other factors like drag settings, hook size, lure choice and positioning that go towards increasing your success.
We can’t expect to have total control over where a hook hits its target or if the fish has a fully closed mouth when the hook hits its target but we can try and understand what the hook is likely to do when it does. We can however, try our best to have the rig do what we want it to when it does hit the target, that is set fully past the barb so that the pressure is on the bend of the hook and not its point.
The hooks used in this article are all commonly used in skirted lure trolling rigs. The hooks in the centre of the rig images are Pakula Dojo Hooks which are specifically designed to give you the best chance of getting a great hook up rate using rigged skirted trolling lures.