When I speak at fishing clubs, I often make a statement that shocks everyone there. I tell them that their teasers will be much more important in catching fish than their favorite lures. By the way, that's coming from a guy that makes a living selling lures. A teaser doesn't have to be some mysterious voodoo do-dad that you purchase from a guy in a black coat at the back door at a tackle show. For the sake of this article, a teaser is anything you troll behind the boat that doesn't have a hook in it.
Why use teasers at all?
You can have the very best lures that were ever made (if there is such a thing) and still not be all that productive! Why? If you can't draw a fish to within the striking range of your lures, you just won't be able to catch them. It is actually quite simple. If you can make a predator think that the dinner bell has been rung, you will have a good chance of catching him.
Fish only have three original thoughts in their entire lives:
- If it's bigger than you...............swim away fast!.
- If it's the same size as you..........swim with it for protection.
- If it's smaller than you..............eat it!
It's a matter of energy expended vs. energy replenished!
Fish have learned through evolution that there is a limited amount of things that they can catch and eat without using too much reserve energy. In order to catch and eat something, they have learned that they will need to expend certain amountsof their energy. If predators are expending too much energy without getting results, they will soon perish. This is a secret to why nearly all lures will eventually catch fish. A predator is constantly on the hunt for an easy meal that will only require a limited amount of energy to catch.
We use teasers to capitalize on this instinct. We want to attract fish by letting them think that there is an available meal that will not take an extreme amount of effort to catch. Just look at it this way. If you were a fish, which boat would you be more attracted to? The one that has a small handful of perfectly running lures smoothly trolling at a swift speed behind it or would you be more attracted to the boat with things flopping all over the place like injured fish during a giant feeding frenzy. For a predator that's an easy pick.
Should you use big teasers or small ones? Does size matter?
Wahoo are often attracted right to the transom with good teasers. As long as you have the maximum action you can comfortably handle within your spread, size really doesn't matter. Small teasers will attract hungry fish directly to them. Really large teasers attract curious fish to see what they perceive as being a fellow predator that might be chasing something. Hopefully, the predator will drop off to your baits. I actually prefer the biggest teasers possible because there is less chance that the fish will hit the teaser itself even though they are still attracted to the spread. Also a bigger teaser is easier for the predator to sense from a distance.
What type of teaser works best?
All teasers tend to help attract fish. Some have different methods of doing it. A mirror teaser creates a huge flashing through the entire water column that can cause a fish to be attracted to the spread. On certain bright days, this can be a very effective method of getting them to look at your lures.
Large teaser type lures, especially the ones that have a very erratic action, tend to look like an excited fish and will definitely bring predators in a hurry to get in on the "frenzy". Pull large teasers hookless and on the lightest leader that you feel comfortable with in order to get the most of the action that was designed into that lure.
Strings of small flashing spinners or small lures all in a row look very much like a school of baitfish. When you mix this with a lot of other activity within a spread, this can look very inviting to a hungry cruising predator looking for a quick lunch.
Artificial "birds" that wobble and splash on the surface tend to tell the fish that something is going on right in this immediate area. They usually determine that it's worth the effort for them to investigate further.
Large brightly colored boards cut in the shape of a fish and boat fenders painted up to look like a fish all do one important thing. They tell predators that there is currently "life happening" at this location and it is going to be worth expending the energy to check it out.
I had a friend that twenty years ago actually trolled a giant truck hubcap as a teaser. He still swears that it brought up lots of fish. I once used a string of beer cans as a teaser and I can tell you that it worked exceptionally well before they shredded to pieces. Anything that will attract attention can be a great teaser.