As sailfish season rolls back into South Florida, the term "dredge fishing" will begin to come up over and over. For anglers new to the offshore fishing world, "dredge fishing" is the perfected art of deadbait trolling for sails while pulling a large multiple arm teaser (or dredge) with numerous hookless baits on it to create a "school of baitfish". A hooked bait is fished just behind the dredge to give the look of a wounded bait that has fallen off from the school and is an easy target.
Dredges come in numerous sizes, styles, and prices, with the three most common being:
1. "Strip Teaser" Style Dredge (Pictured)- Great for beginners; easy to rig, most economical, easiest to store.
2. Artificial Bait Dredge- Often built with plastic swimming shads, plastic ballyhoo, or other fake "swimming" baits. More swimming action than a strip style teaser, less time consuming than a natural teaser, and longer lasting.
3. Natural Dredge- Rigged with swimming mullet or ballyhoo (May or may not have lure or teaser over baits, and may also contain a few plastic swimming baits). very time consuming, most expensive, but also most effective! When a fish comes into a natural dredge it is going to stick around.
When dredge fishing try to always do the following:
1. Keep the dredge a few feet below the surface. Add some lead or slow down, but be sure to keep the dredge swimming and not popping up and breaking the surface.
2. Keep an eye on the dredge. When a fish shows itself, be ready to have a bait in his face!
3. Secure it! Dredges are expensive (even less expensive options aren't cheap), make sure they are connected well!