How To Make TrollTrue Rigs

Offshore Fishing

Success with TrollTrue: MAKING THE RIGS

This article describes how to make the rigging for use with TrollTrue lures.  The design is based on live baits rigs commonly used in many offshore fishing situations.  These instructions will work equally well for making rigs for use with or without the TrollTrue lures.

Your TrollTrue lures are designed to help you quickly and easily rig dead baits such as ballyhoo and cigar minnows. They can be used with other baitfish as well. Baitfish that are a minimum of 5” long and have a head shaped such that it will fit into the TrollTrue lures can be used. Other baitfish that have been successfully used include herring and ribbonfish. Mullet will not work. Their head is too wide to fit the lures.

Rigging is a critical component for successfully using TrollTrue lures. There are two options for the rigging. TrollTrue offers the recommended rigging for sale. All of our rigs are hand-tied using only the highest quality materials listed below.

The second option is to make your own rigs.  The rigs are easy to make.  Many anglers will recognize the rigs as a live bait rig commonly used for king mackerel fishing.  If anglers choose not to order the TrollTrue rigs, we will include a complimentary rig with each order to use as an example for making additional rigs.  

Whether you decide to purchase or make your rigs, the following components are recommended/used:

·     Nose hook- The nose hook is a 4/0 live bait hook. The purpose of this hook is only to hold the baitfish. Rarely will a fish be hooked on this hook. The size of the hook is important because that is what will fit the TrollTrue lures. Our recommendation is a Mustad 94151 O'Shaughnessy Hook Size 4/0.

·     Trailer hook- Obviously the trailer hook is a critical component of the rig. It will account for virtually all the hook-ups. There are a variety of options that can be used as a trailer hook based on angler preference. J-hooks, circle hooks, and treble hooks can all be used. Our recommendation is a Size 2, 4X strong treble hook. It will provide optimal results in 95%+ situations. Larger treble hooks can also be used based on angler preference.

Let me discuss trailer hook size for a minute. We occasionally get questions from anglers about trailer hook size. I mentioned previously that the rig design is based on a king mackerel live bait rig. The traditional trailer hook size for those rigs is a Size 4 hook (one size smaller than the TrollTrue rigs). I believe a Size 2 hook represents a good balance between big enough for large offshore species and small enough not to impede the action of the bait.

TrollTrue rigs use VMC 9626 hooks. They are a high quality 4X strong hook and I can buy them in bulk (vs Mustad hooks). Alternatively, Mustad 3599C hooks can be used.

·     Leader material- There are several options for leader material depending on the fishing situation. Viable alternatives include monofilament, wire, and fluorocarbon. Monofilament and wire are standard options and fluorocarbon is available on request. Some species, including tuna, are notoriously leader-shy. In those situations, fluorocarbon is the recommended option. For 90% of fishing situations, monofilament is the recommended option. When intentionally targeting “toothy” species including king mackerel and wahoo, wire leader is the best option. I would still recommend monofilament even in situations where you “might” encounter a king mackerel or wahoo. Often those one-off catches will be lip hooked and will be landed even on monofilament.

TrollTrue rigs are constructed from 60 lb test leader material regardless of the leader material. This size leader produces a quality rig that is aesthetically pleasing. Heavy leader material does not tie as well using the method we will be describing.

Monofilament- BerkleyTrilene Big Game monofilament

Wire- American Fishing Wire (AFW) Surfstand 1x7 stainless steel leader wire (Uncoated- Bare) Camo color


TrollTrue rigs are made by snelling two hooks onto a 6’ piece of continuous leader material in the following steps:

  • Start with a 6’ length of the preferred leader material (mono, wire, or flouro).

  • Insert one end of the leader through the eye of the trailer treble hook.  The leader should extend along the entire hook shank.

Saltwater Trolling
  • Use your thumb to hold the leader along the hook shank.

Saltwater Trolling
  •  Wrap 4-5 turns of leader around hook shank starting at the hook eye and extending down the shank.  The wraps should be even and tight.

Saltwater Trolling
  • Wrap two wraps back up the hook shank and out through the eye again.

Saltwater Trolling
  • Insert the leader through the eye of the nose hook and leave 4” of leader between the two hooks.  A 4” spacing will accommodate medium ballyhoo and cigar minnows. The trailer hook is placed optimally to maximize hook-ups and not impede the action of the bait. The hook distance can be increased to accommodate larger baits.

Saltwater Trolling
  • Snell the nose hook onto the leader using the same step described above.

Saltwater Trolling

Additional treble hooks can be snelled onto longer leader material for use with ribbonfish.

TrollTrue rigs come with plain ends to allow for trolling skirts to be added as desired. With or without a trolling skirt, the rig can be completed with a surgeon’s loop knot. 

The combination of TrollTrue lures and rigging provides a fast, easy, and consistent way to rig dead baits and troll them in the most natural way possible.