“Can I pull a dredge off these?” is something we are asked at least weekly by customers. This type of fishing has become popular recently, but there are some considerations you may not have thought of yet.
All our 2022 outrigger models are capable of pulling a subsurface dredge, and we have plenty of older models out on the water that have been dragging everything but the kitchen sink for years. How important a surface teaser or splash teaser actually is or how important a subsurface dredge actually is? – can get you into a fist fight with some captains or mates if you insist on anything but what they know works. We aren’t here to tell you what works and what doesn’t, but we want to make sure our products give you maximum versatility to do whatever it is you may want or need to do! Basically, if you are attempting something with our product that a competitor’s product can do, we expect and demand that ours exceed the comparative performance, always.
“Dredge at all costs,” is what we call a certain mindset customers sometimes have. Running a teaser or dredge is not always optimal. The reason can hold especially true on a smaller boat, which has less space in the rest of its spread for actual baits or lures. The other reality with a small boat is less space and less crew to quickly react and adapt to conditions and what is seen happening in the spread, i.e.: actual fish, direction of seas, captain error (that could never happen, am I right?!), grassed up baits, short strikes, etc. Remember that a teaser or dredge is meant to bring fish into your spread, but they cannot actually catch the fish. The more “things” you’re dragging from a smaller boat, or with a less experienced crew, the more likely your presentation and opportunities to actually hook the fish will directly suffer. There are some days when a dredge or squid chain will bring lazy and hot fish out from under a weedline when a beautifully running spread of skirted ballyhoo just won’t make them even glance as you pass by. There are other days, however, when you could throw a flip flop out off the transom and hook up as soon as it hits the water. It all just depends, but in the case of a dredge off the outrigger, don’t get caught in the dredge-at-all-costs mindset. We have some customers tell us they only pull two baits and a dredge, and we have others who honestly pull 13 baits, a planer bait, a subsurface lure, two dredges, two squid chains, and troll with three of four engines shut off and trimmed up. Most people are in between, but which one do you think is most effective everywhere, all the time, and with any crew? Neither! So, just like we will sometimes laugh when someone says, “longer outriggers are always better,” we will also laugh if someone states, “a dredge off the outrigger is an absolute must.” To each their own, but be honest about the costs and if they’re worth it for you and your boat or not. You’ll be happiest with whatever you’re doing then rather than being disappointed or frustrated.
“Why don’t you sell dredge clamps?” I used to care about who we offended or not, but it seems some of our industry is simply heading in the absolute polar opposite direction from ours. Our approach is quality over quantity, and the only limiting factor to date has been what we could afford. We build the best outriggers possible, and a dredge clamp added after the fact is not the best approach.
To put it as simply as possible, the reason we do not care for an externally attached “clamp” is because we lifetime warranty our products. The exterior coatings we use on our outriggers and our laminate schedules have been improved constantly over time to give maximum durability and structural integrity, even in extreme environmental conditions. Outriggers made of carbon fiber have very little in common with traditional aluminum outriggers, especially with regards to galvanic corrosion, fastener hole areas’ laminate integrity, and exterior surface deterioration and integrity.
Clamps unnecessarily complicate and compromise our design goals, and clamps inarguably add unnecessary weight to the outrigger, considering that they’re only going to be used for a very short time period relative to the lifespan of the outrigger by itself.
Soft attachment is the better answer for us. We encourage use of a removeable soft attachment system. This can be done with many types of materials, and it is nothing extraordinary. We do offer spliced Dyneema for those wanting something that appears less “after the fact” on their outrigger in order pull a surface or subsurface teaser or dredge and useable “out of the box,” specifically for our outriggers. These attach above the lowest joint of any of our outriggers.