John Maher: Hi, I am John Maher. Today, I am here with Johnny White, owner of Fishermen’s Outfitter in Gloucester and Plymouth Massachusetts. Today, we are talking about spreader bars for offshore fishing. Welcome, Johnny.
Johnny White: Hi John, how are you?
John: Good, thanks.
John: Let me start off by asking, what are spreader bars?
Johnny: Spreader bars are a number of lures that are used, whether it be in a two foot, three foot or four foot long titanium bars. A group of lures called teasers are rigged off of the bar with the hook bait being in the last one to emulate a school of fish while trolling for any offshore species of fish.
John: You have got the line that is coming off of your rod, and then you have got the bar going across horizontally. On that are strung what? Additional lines?
Johnny: On that are strung additional lines of lures that anywhere from 9 to 15 lures, coming off the bar, in a pattern looking like a school of fish, with the hook bait being the trail lure about four feet behind the bar.
John: What situations do you use spreader bars?
Johnny: All trolling situations, whether it be for tuna, marlin, wahoo, yellow fins, durado. Any time you’re trolling, it’s good to use spreader bars, along with single lures.
John: You mentioned teasers. You’re using these spreader bars as teasers. What does that mean?
Johnny: The teasers would be part of the bar, on a bar that has 15 lures on it, 14 of them have no hook on them. Only one would have the hook, and the others are just splashing across the top of the water to look like a school of fish.
John: So a teaser is a lure that doesn’t have a hook on it. It’s there just to lure the fish in. Tease them, if you will.
Johnny: That’s right.
John: How do you choose whether you have a certain color or a type of lure on them? You said you can have different kinds of lures hooked onto the spreader bars. How do you choose what do you want?
Johnny: You can. You can have squids ranging from 9 inch to 18 inch. You can have all different kinds of lures that are used in trolling to put on a bar. Depending on what your high speed and slow speed trolling ‑‑ slow speed, meaning that you’re fishing for giant blue fin tuna, which you should be fishing two to four knots, whereas, high speed is anywhere from four to eight knots, sometimes nine knots.
The higher speed you go, the smaller the lures, so that they can travel through the water the right way out the spreader bar. If you use too bigger lures, traveling too fast, your bars aren’t going to give you the action on top of the water that you needed to give. The lures would tend to dive down under the water. The faster you go, the smaller the lure.
John Maher: That’s good. Do you also use different colors? Would you use different colors?
Johnny: We do. We have about 12 or 13 different colors of squids. There’s probably different colors of feathers and jets that we use. It depends on where you’re fishing and what species of those fish you’re fishing for.
The yellow fins tend to like a lot of greens and a lot of oranges. The blue fins, especially the giant blue fins, tend to like darker colors, meaning black ‑‑ which is the best color, black and purple, orange and green, dark green.
John: You said there’s squids. Do you also use other types of lures, as well?
Johnny: We do. The squids are a shell squid that are made to be on top of the water. We also use six or eight inch jets, they call them, that has a lure with holes in the top of it that the water pushes through.
We use lures that have a head with feathers on them. We use some imitation ballyhoo that are about nine inches long, and look just like a ballyhoo. We make a spreader bar out of that which looks like a school of a ballyhoo splashing through the water.
John: Do you use different size bars? You have small, medium, and large ones? What are those for?
Johnny: Yes we do. We use different size bars depending on the species of fish that you’re fishing for.
If you’re fishing for yellow fins, dolphin, wahoo, fish that are tend to be on the smaller size ‑‑ smaller, being like 100 pounds and under. You’re trolling faster. You want to use a smaller bar whether it be a two or three foot bar.
Sometimes, a four foot bar but with smaller lures, so you can troll them faster. You use the four foot bar, which is our most popular, for giant blue fin and smaller blue fin, putting anywhere from 9 to 15 squids, all lures, on each bar.
John: I know that they’re something called “A bird,” that you put on the spreader bar, as well. What’s that?
Johnny: The bird is either a 9 or a 13 inch bird that we rig special, at the store. We put a bar through the middle of the bird. The bird has wings on each side.
What that does is it helps the bar float more so that you can let the lures out farther, and also creates commotion because of the wings. That’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to cause commotion in the water to make it look like a school of bait fish on top with the predator chasing it.
John: All right, Johnny White, thank you very much for talking with me.
Johnny: Thank you, John.
John: For more information, you can visit fishermansoutfitter.com, or call Johnny at 1‑800‑500‑TUNA. That’s 1‑800‑500‑TUNA.