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Attaching the Ballyhoo

 After making a sufficient number of rigs, it's time to start arming them with baits. This step is actually very easy and with just a little practice, you can make every ballyhoo swim perfectly every time. All three versions on the split-bill rigs are armed in basically the same manner. For the purpose of simplicity, I will outline how to rig the chin-weighted version, then discuss the minute differences in rigging the other two versions.

 First, clip off the ballyhoo's bill with wire cutters, leaving about an inch from the mouth.

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 Then split the remaining bill down the middle with a knife or your finger nail, but don't split the bill all the way to the mouth. Next, thread the hook point in between the gill plates and out the center of the belly. Take the rigging wire and go in between the gill plates and into the eye socket and out the side of the socket. Pull up firmly on the rigging wire to set the eye of the hook in the gill plates.

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 Position the chin weight between the gill plates and wrap the rigging wire two or three times through the eye sockets and around the gill plates, behind the chin weight. This holds the gills closed and forms a keel which will help the bait track straight. Pull the rigging wire to the front of the chin weight then around the chin weight and through the eye sockets again. Push the rigging wire straight up through the bottom of the ballyhoo's chin and through the hinge joint in the upper lip. Pull straight up on the wire to snug the chin weight , then wrap around the leader and mouth two or three times to hold the mouth closed. Next, pull the monofilament leader up into the split in the bill and wrap the rigging wire under your leader and around and down the bill just tight enough to close the split. Make sure the chin weight and hook are centered and the hook isn't pulling on the belly.

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 The monofilament rig is done in exactly the same manner, except a chin weight isn't used. The wire rig is the same except for the pin. Insert the pin up through the chin and upper lip, then wrap the rigging wire behind it twice, then down and around the bill, underneath the leader.

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 These rigs can be further customized for specific fishing situations, but overall, these are three excellent swimming ballyhoo rigs. One final word of caution. Split-bill rigging does not lend itself to using a lure over the nose of the bait like a Hawaiian Eye or a little Mold Craft chugger. A lure over the top of this rig will cause the ballyhoo to swim sideways because of the angle of the leader through the bill and will also defeat the purpose of the rig altogether.

 Keep in mind, the split-bill trolls effectively at considerably slower speeds than straight-rigged ballyhoo and lends itself to situations where dropping the speed and adding more action attracts more hits. Add it to your repertoire and see if it doesn't increase your trolling success. If you've got any questions, give us a call at Baitmasters, 800.639.2248, and we'll do our best to help.