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Attention all fish… when you see us sailing by you might as well surrender and jump into our boat.

One of our forays yesterday was to Bass Pro Shop and although our main reason for going there was to pick up some additional gasoline jerry cans, we also acquired some fishing kit. Our plan is to use hand reels, aka Cuban yo-yos, to troll while underway. Having tried this before and finding it difficult to get the lure/bate underwater, we purchased a couple of planers to try to solve this. We have also read that some of the most effective lures are colorful squids so we picked up a few packs of those. Finally, because we’re going to need to know the species of all of the fish we’ll be catching, we picked up the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Tropical Marine Fishes which should hopefully help. With all of this, along with our Cruiser’s Handbook of Fishing, I really do feel that the fish should just make it easy on themselves and surrender.

By the way, the above is obviously all tongue-in-cheek. We have no idea what we’re doing so please don’t take advice from us. A good description of yo-yo fishing can be found on our PDQ friend Drew’s website.


  1. Funny this topic came up…..I am bringing two (2) of my modified rods down on the charter in a few weeks……..I have two modified rods which have been cut down to 2 1/2 feet so they are easy to bring on the plane (with reels) or store on the boat…….I will also bring two (2) rail mounted holders……We will have our lines out the whole time and we plan on eating plenty of mahi, tuna and lobstaaaaa…..Live off the sea and drink off of Pussers Rum!

  2. We have both a rod & reel as well as a yo-yo. It’s been about even on which does best, although the half size rod makes a lot of sense.

    On the yo-yo we use a 1 meter length of surgical tubing, with the inboard end held in place with a clip. When the fish strikes, the tubing SNAPS out of the clip and the yo-yo (lying around a winch with handle in place) starts spinning wildly – panic ensues – and then we usually have a nice tuna or mahi or Caribbean Mackerel (aka barracuda!).

    Fair Winds,

  3. We want to be able to fish when we head to the Bahamas this January but I really hated the thought of having to store fishing poles, so needless to say this whole yo-yo concept really appeals to me.

  4. We’re going to need all the fishing books we can get! We’ve fished a couple of times here in the lake, and we threw the fish back (not many were caught) because we had no idea what we had and if it could be eaten. How bad is that? =) We’ve learned a little bit now (I love redfish so I learned what those look like) but boy we’re in trouble if we have to rely on what we catch. Ya’ll should be pros by the time we catch up!

  5. Fish don’t fear me.

    Please publish your learnings, so that I may eventually make fish at least a little uneasy.


  6. Lure (n). Complex, colourful and shiny object, carefully designed to drive anglers into a frenzy, and to be mildly intriguing to fish.

    Good luck figuring out the yo-yos…. I have a hard enough time getting the scaly guys to bite (or, more accurately, to stay hooked) with a normal rod and reel. My largest catch of the summer was no more than about 400 g, although we did manage to get enough to fill my wife’s aquarium (one each of pumpkinseed and bluegill sunfish, perch, rock bass and brown bullhead catfish). You’ll soon be getting into serious big fish territory- if you snare a marlin or something like that, get some good photos for us before setting it free!

  7. A few thoughts:

    * What I see in the photo is a leader spool, not a yo-yo. A Yo-yo is asymetrical, with one side lower than the other. I’ve used leader spools before, but they dohn’t work well at all.

    * I don’t know that planers work well in saltwater and 4-8 knots speeds. Everyone uses 2-6 oz. of lead to the get the lure down. Let them back about 150-200 feet behind the boat (depends on the fish–Mahi-mahi will hit on the surface, bluefish shallow, Rockfish deep and slow, 4-5 knots).

    * You need a 10- to 20-foot leader between the lure and the sinker.

    * You generally need a swivel in front of the lure; if it spins, it can make a real mess in a few hours!

    * Don’t go nuts when you get a bite; that is a beginers mistake on a yo-yo. Made it a few times myself, and lost a few fish. Because you don’t have a springy rod to keep the slack out of the line, it is best if the fish fights against the 200 feet of stretchy line and the boat speed for a few minutes. Then slow the boat to 3-4 knots, but DO NOT STOP. You want to keep some tension on the fish (it can be a work-out pulling in 200 feet of line under some load, but that should be no problem).

    * Don’t fish near crab pots; you will lose a lot of gear (yup–done that). The lure will snag the line and break off EVERY TIME.

    You are heading south into the middle of the fall bluefish and rockfish season. You’ll catch something! On the other hand, I think it took me longer to learn how the fish than to lear how to sail.

  8. I was wwondering what you use to hold the reel! How on earth can you reel in the fish when you have to use one hand to hold the reel, and keep your fingers out of the way of the line? Do you stick your arm through the center?

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