When it comes to creating the perfect spread there are two schools of thought. Option A is what is referred to as “carpet bombing”, which is to create an entire spread of just one color. Option B is the opposite: One of every color and start adding more of the same color as the fish show a preference.
Carpet Bomb Spread
The whole concept of the carpet bomb is to have matching lures to simulate a school of bait. This method works best with an 8-rod spread, but if you only have 6 rods, it will work too. Even if you are using different lure types, you match all the colors closely with the exception of one contrasting off color lure, which is often the one to get hit.
Pros: The carpet bomb looks very real. So real, that even if the fish are feeding on something entirely different, you may have enough critical mass to create your own feed, even if it’s against the grain.
Cons: Sometimes they are “off” on a particular color. If you’re using that color, you are out of luck!
This spread is for the commitment-phobe. Basically you’re hedging your bet on a color. There are two strategies here:
1. If you catch a fish on one color, you put the same spread back out. If you catch another fish on the same color, you take out one other color and add one more bait to the “catch color” and keep up with the progressive system as you catch fish.
2. You’ll hear captain’s talk about the “integrity of the spread” and they keep the spread unchanged with the idea that the combination is working, so don’t mess with it.
Pros: Bet’s are hedged.
Cons: Spread doesn’t look as natural as it is unlikely to ever see a school of mixed baitfish.
Hogy’s 6 Rod Spread
First of all, I am a carpet bomber. I always start with green, then switch to rainbow, then switch to pink. Green is my confidence color. I tend to hedge with shade of color. For example, I may have light green, traditional green and dark green all in one spread.
Flat-Line Port: Single Green Machine.
Inner short rigger Port: 32” Pocket Squid Bar.
Flat-Line Starboard: Cedar chain, always go starboard with it because I’m superstitious. It works!
Inner Short Rigger Starboard: Bulb Squid Daisy Chain with matching bird.
Outer long rigger Starboard: Blue Max or skirted ballyhoo, off contrasting color
Hogy’s 8 Rod Spread
Short Center: Blue Max or skirted ballyhoo, matching head color, just behind the two spreader bars.
Long Center (Way-Way Back): Jet Head. Leaves a smoke trail that draws fish to the spread.
Lure placement: People often talk about which wake, length etc. I’m very informal in this regard. I go with what looks good and what’s working. Basically your goal is to fill out the spread so there’s an offering at any angle if the fish approaches the spread. Some trips, fish like the spread close, others farther back.
Speed: Range is 4 to 6 knots. I always say go the speed that looks best, meaning my lures are swimming correctly and this is usually around 5 knots. Slower in rough seas, faster in calm seas.
Weed: Check often. It’s easy to get lazy. I like to check every 15 to 20 minutes if I have enough sleep in me!
Outriggers: They are worth the investment but not essential. Fish the 6-rod spread if you don’t have them, keeping your “inner short rigger” very close, maybe 30 feet back, flat line 10 or 15 feet back and your long rigger much farther and whatever length looks best.
Baits: Sometimes tipping your bait with a soft plastic or pork rind can be the difference between catching fish or not. Tip a few lures in the spread and work from there.