March 2015 and the NSW mid-north coast experiencing its best mackerel run in years:
Only downside being, with the number of predators around, live bait is really hard to find.
But bait is just so deadly, on mackerel.
Almost always way better, than lures:
Around February I noticed sales of our Head Start lures were picking up fast. Checking with some of the clients making purchases I found they were the answer to the problem of finding live bait. With a Head Start you can pretty much replicate the appeal and scent of bait but also have the attention-grabbing benefit of a trolled lure. If you haven’t seen them in operation, check out this video? As you’ll see below, Head Starts are deadly:
I find the best way to use them is – just like so much other tackle that needs special rigging – to do as much as you can at home. I keep my eye out at the local fish store (Hornsby Seafoods) for whenever quality fresh garfish are in stock:
You don’t have to buy many. Just enough for the Head Starts you have, but maybe a couple of spares. So, six or eight. Here’s how to rig them.
You’ll need a knife or braid scissors, a fresh garfish, yellowtail or slimy mackerel, Head Starts, a bait needle, and some Ziploc or cryovac bags.
My bait needle’s made from a plain wire coat hanger. Just cut the long side of the coat hanger with side cutters, and bend one end to form an open eye:That’s like two minutes work with a pair of pliers, not hard at all. Here’s how:
Another item that’s handy is half a bucket of water, to wash your hands. Here’s how to proceed:
Cut the beak off the garfish, and check that the ring on the bead chain fits into the hook on the needle:
Pass the hook end of the needle through the bait’s mouth and feel your way so it exits through the vent. Hook up the bead chain and draw it back through and out the mouth:
Drop the end of the bead chain through the hole in the hard plastic head. This will be the tow point. Then, push the pin through the eye socket. In the pic below, the yellow plastic pin can be seen in the eye socket. This will lock into the Head Start cover:
Slide the larger cover part of the Head Start over the smaller first part, dropping the end of the bead chain through the gap. The tag end of the bead chain is attached to your line, wire, or snap swivel:
I usually do mine in a batch of four:
When they’re done, pack them in a Ziploc bag (or better, cryovac bag) and freeze them for future use:
It's fast and easy:
Recently (April 2015) we found that Pacific Sauris make a really good alternative when quality garfish are hard to find. Sauris are a true bluewater species and a prime food source for Bluefin and Yellowfin tuna, as well as albacore and marlin.
Head Starts are absolutely deadly on spanish and spotted mackerel. Check out this feedback from clients.
Here’s Alan Goggin, at Coffs Harbour:
"Hi Andrew, another fish on the board for the headstarts on Friday morning! This time it was a Spotty on the blue one and while i was dealing with it yakside i threw out a pilly on a set of ganghooks and picked up the Spanish. Exciting fight on 20lb leader and no wire"
He took the kayak out from Coffs and trolled dead garfish on two Head Starts. Of course he hooked up to two mackerel at the same time. The camera recorded what happened next, just so good:
I put together a little vid of the double hook up. Unfortunately the ratchet on my TLD gave in before the double hook up. It’s just not the same fighting a fish when the drag is making no noise.
Brad Plummer’s extra cute daughter impressed with his Spaniard:
"Hey Andy the head starts are working a treat up here at Coffs Harbour, can't wait for my next delivery, got two hits for two fish on them and lost another on a chin weighted Sauri"
Keep in mind these can be trolled at 7 knots, so a good addition to the marlin lure spread? Here’s Lachlan’s mahi:
"Hi Andrew, thanks for the Headstarts.....
first trip out and got this nice Dollie on the black one with a Gar.....
they swim the Gar perfectly! Thanks again...."
You’re very welcome, Lachlan! Karl Houseman’s mahi taken on a Head Start too:
More client reviews to be added soon. Please call or email with any questions whatsoever and thanks for reading,