March 16, 2006, by Steve "Bad Dog" Ross:
Here's a unique rod holder and cleat set up. People who walk by my boat invariably ask, "What is this all about?"
The cleat is for rockcod fishing. When you are stuck on the bottom, put the reel in free spool, simply wrap the main line around the cleat, and let 15-thousand pounds of boat pull it off the bottom instead of burning your fingers off trying to clamp down on the reel.
The rod holder is what is called a "side mount rod holder." I use it for trolling short flat-lines. This I have named "Shotgun Fishing."
You insert your rod into the holder, connect the harness lugs on the reel to a well-embedded, through-bolted eye pad on the gunwale with a custom made safety line, and voila, the rod is pointing at the fish like a shotgun.
Flat lines are created in various ways with rubber bands on reel handles, fabricated booms, outrigger clips on cords attached to transoms, and a few more ideas I suppose.
But my shotguns rule, with rod holders on the starboard and port sides. The shotgun lures run a few inches deeper than other trolling techniques, which gives the jig more time in the water for a better target.
Every other technique gives the fish slack before the line comes tight during jig strikes, but with my shotguns it's "instant burn," digging the hook in deep and hard at full drag pressure immediately. It is the ultimate hard core, full penetration, show-no-mercy jig strike set-up and it's gotta hurt bad.
One bigeye tuna got hit so hard off a Penn 50 wide with 25 pounds of drag that he took a few seconds to recover from the impact and gulped before his run for his life. Marlin get set up right now with perfect hook sets and albacore get drilled so hard that the point of the hook is always protruding between his eyes.
• Steve Ross has been fishing off Southern California and Baja California, Mexico, for more than 50 years. He runs his sportfisher, Bad Dog, out of Marina Coral in Ensenada, Baja California.
(Related Mexico articles and reports may be found at Mexfish.com's main Mexico information page. See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the Mexico area in "Mexico Fishing News.")