Bait Wars: Flying Fish

Mission Objective INVESTIGATE & REVEAL

FSF Staff May 15, 2017

With countless natural and artificial offerings available to Florida anglers, and numerous different baits effective for various species across a wide array of venues, we wanted to take a closer look at the options and share the benefits of each offering in a head-to-head competition. As Bait Wars progresses, readers may be surprised to learn there are scenarios when an artificial lure is favored over natural bait for its versatility and availability, while on other occasions nothing seals the deal like the real thing.

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Photo: iStock

Flying Fish

Specs
Length: 3- to 14-in.
Weight: N/A
MSRP: $8.50 (5-pack, unrigged0
Website: baitmasters.com, bionicbait.com

Best Rigging Method
– Rigged with a J-hook, flying fish make great pitch baits around weedlines and floating debris
– Trolling baits are often rigged with double J-hooks, with the first hook turned inward for a more weedless presentation
– Bridling a flyer to skip under a kite takes a bit more rigging imagination to keep the bait hanging level, with copper wire used to pin out the wings for the most lifelike appearance

Standout Features
– Enlarged pelvic fins enable flying fish to evade predation by gliding above the water’s surface
– Live flying fish take flight by gaining speed underwater and rapidly beating their extended tail lobe
– Flying fish have been recorded making consecutive glides spanning distances over 1,000 feet, although typical flights are much shorter

Availability
– There are more than four-dozen flying fish species worldwide, with several common in Florida waters
– Flying fish gather in large concentrations to spawn in Barbados where they are commercially harvested with nets in open water
– Unfortunately, unless a flying fish happens to jump into your boat, it’s highly unlikely you’ll catch your own
– Rigged and unrigged flying fish are avail-able at select tackle shops and leading bait distributors like Bionic Bait (bionicbait.com) and Baitmasters (baitmasters.com)

Durability
– Similar to other natural baits, flying fish are susceptible to wash out and the soft flesh requires constant monitoring
– If you are lucky enough to somehow acquire a live flying fish, they don’t fare well in a livewell and should be used ASAP where the nearest game fish will readily engulf them

Fishability
– For a pitch bait insert a 7/0 to 9/0 J-hook under the chin and push it out the top of the head between the eyes
– Can be trolled naked or with the addition of a small skirt to assist in preventing wash out
– Flying fish also make for inviting offerings when targeting large mutton snapper and prized grouper in the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Carolina Lures Yummee Flying Fish

Specs
Length: 4-, 7-, 9-in.
Weight: N/A
MSRP: $2.39 – $19.99/ea.
Website: carolinalures.com

Best Rigging Method
Yummee Flying Fish can be rigged with or without hooks as a standalone lure, daisy chain or spreader bar
To imitate a predator-prey interaction, mates also rig fake flyers as an inline bird teaser with a snap swivel in the tail and hooked natural bait or lure trailing behind
– Innovative anglers rig fake flyers to dangle and skip beneath a kite with incredible results

Standout Features
– Yummee Flying Fish are available with molded out-facing wings that ski along the surface and also rear-facing wings that provide a smoother skimming action
– Line bore in nose and hook slots in back and belly make for numerous rigging options
– Large eyes with moving pupils
– Made in the USA with custom lure molding technology and specially engineered plastics

Availability
– Three size options (4-,7-,9-in.)
– Available in various color combinations with multiple wing configurations
– Readily available at local tackle shops, big box retailers, online tackle catalogs and factory direct at carolinalures.com

Durability
– One-piece body molded with high-quality injection process withstands multiple attacks from tuna and dolphinfish, but worth the sacrifice when attacked by a toothy wahoo or king
– Imitation flying fish require no brining, no freezing and never wash out

Fishability
– In the Northeast and West Coast, anglers routinely catch yellowfin tuna eclipsing 100 pounds on 9” Yummee Flying Fish trolled in a traditional spread or slow trolled and skipped beneath a kite
– Florida anglers rig the 4” flyer weedless to make initial casts upon arriving at floating sargassum mats offshore
– Flying fish teasers create an irresistible surface commotion no matter the application and presentation

Overall Rating: 9/10

The Winner:

Carolina Lures Yummee Flying Fish
Flying fish are preyed upon by nearly every predator in the ocean and although they’ve developed a unique escape, they are no match for marlin, bull dolphin and big tuna. While fake flying fish don’t have the scent, scales or taste of the real deal, because they’re more convenient to store and hardly ever need replacement the winner of this battle for airspace is the Carolina Lures Yummee Flying Fish. Freshly rigged or live flying fish are specialty baits that work wonders, but they’re delicate and not as easy to get your hands on as ballyhoo or other proven trolling baits. Available in multiple sizes and wing configurations to suit a host of blue water presentations the series of lifelike Yummee Flying Fish from Carolina Lures deserve ultimate consideration and add a unique dimension to any offshore spread.

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