How to make a Mahi Mahi lure onboard a sailing yacht.

lure On our recent crossing of the Atlantic from Europe to Barbados, we had a particularly bad run with losing fishing equipment, including one entire Rig (Rod, reel, line, lure – the friggin lot gone!!). Some of it I blame on myself, some of it is simply low quality equipment that fails and the majority is just part and parcel of trawling lines behind us for over 10,000 Nautical Miles in the past 9 months.

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Simon holding up a decent Mahi Mahi caught some 300 Nautical Miles off the coast of Mauritania, West Africa.

Leaving Italy in September, we dragged our lines behind Squander religiously from dawn till dusk every single day catching countless Tuna and Dorado (aka Mahi Mahi or Dolphin fish) that kept us fed and entertained.

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Albacore or “long Fin’” Tuna caught off the coast of Sardegna in the Mediterranean.

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Michelle getting in on the action, this Bonito caught off Morocco’s coast.

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Tuna Sashimi and Sushi, freshly made

We also hooked a decent size Marlin about 600 miles west of Cape Verde but after a 10 min struggle and a couple of impressive leaps, the line broke and with it went our last ‘lucky’ lure…. so we set about trying to make our own contraptions, partly to keep ourselves entertained as we still had some 1500 NM to go (10 days) and partly to try and catch dinner… We had a few well documented misfires before finally making a lure that caught us dinner…

By the way, we have found the Williamson Lures to be the best all around for price, quality and effectiveness.

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The hook was too far forward, something had a good chomp on the ‘skirt’

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Then we discovered Oreo biscuits… The “O” made a perfect eye!

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Andy resorted to sending threatening messages to the fish on his lure

We all had differing methods and I’m sure they could be easily further evolved, but as a starting point here’s how I made the lure that ended up being part of the team that got us a Triple hook up when we sailed through a school of Mahi Mahi some 1000 Nautical Miles from land in the middle of the Atlantic!

I call this Lure “Descupa” (sorry in Portuguese) or “the Shcoopa”  because of it’s great scooping action in the water.

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What you will need:

- Some strong, reflective packaging (Corn Chip packets, coffee packets, Oreo biscuit wrappers)
- An inch of hose
- A Small sinker
- A hook
- A leader line (strong monofilament)
- Something you can use as spacers between the hook and the head of the lure (not in picture above)
- A cable tie
- Some electrical tape
- Scissors & wire cutters
- A lighter
- Some blu tak or chewing gum

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Start by warming up the hose and Squeezing the sinker into it.
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this forms the head of the lure

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Next take your line and attach it to the hook

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Make sure it’s a good knot, towing a 4-8Kg fish at 7 knots puts a lot of pressure on your gear.
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Next thread your spacers and decide on how long you want your lure to be. The hook should finish about 1 cm from the end of the lure.
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Now decorate your head with eyes… I choose “Oreo eyes” :-) …. then thread the line through the head.

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Find a good bit of foil (I find silver works well) but we played with all sorts of colours and attach it to the head using an elastic band.

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Make sure you don’t obscure the eyes!!

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Now it’s time to make the skirt… cut strips as per the pic below
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And then add additional threads of Gold or other colours to make it eve more aLUREing…

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Once you’re happy with the skirt it’s time to secure the whole lot, firstly with some Electrical tape and then with a cable tie to hold i all in place.

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The final step involves creating the scoop – I Plugged the hose with Blu-Tak but you could use chewing gum, Silicon gel, Sica flex or whatever else you happen to have on the boat.

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The idea of the scooper is to push back water and create a “Smoke Trail” of bubbles – this one was producing a 2-3 metre trail once submerged. The scoop also causes the lure to surface and jump every 3-5 seconds.

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A strong swivel finishes off the job.

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The finished product ready for some field testing.
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The lure seen here after we caught a 2.5 KG Mahi Mahi seen in  the picture below – middle fish. the lure survived surprisingly well, some of the skirt was missing and it was creased up but otherwise ready to fight again!

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Tripkle Hook up – all three lines (2 rods and a hand line went off at once) we kept all of them and filleted them straight into the freezer ready for xmas lunch!

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