Monday, July 16, 2012

A Cuban What!!???

A Cuban Yo-Yo. It is another name for a hand-line reel. We wanted one to take on our trip from Tortola to the Chesapeake to try our hand at catching fish. We had some surgical tubing handy and created an elastic shock absorber for it. Some of the rigs we saw had a line run through the center of the yo-yo, which made it impossible to reel the line back onto the reel without disconnecting it from the boat. So we drilled a small hole in the center and ran the 1/8-inch nylon backing line through it where we tied a loop. We can now easily snap a small ring onto the loop to keep it attached to the boat.

Here's the setup. The surgical tubing is tied into a loop using a water knot. It is attached to the aft cleat. A small snap shackle attaches the tubing to the yo-yo nylon backing cord, so there's no strain on the yo-yo itself. There is a figure-8 knot in the nylon backing line on the lure side of the yo-yo to keep it from deploying itself down the line and into the water. A second line with snap shackle creates an end stop to (hopefully) keep it aboard if something big and solid hits the lure. We wanted the monofillament to break if that were to happen, instead of losing our yo-yo. There is about 50 ft of 1/8 nylon braid tied to 50 ft of 100 lb test monofilament using an Albright knot. A Fisherman's knot is used to tie a ball-bearing swivel to the end of the monofilament for attaching the lure. There's no need for a weight.

With this setup, we can wind the line back onto the yo-yo without disconnecting it from the boat. We won't lose the rig due to fumble fingers or a big fish grabbing the lure while we're pulling it in.

We caught two fish on our trip. A pretty big mahi took the hook while going from Tortola to Turks and Caicos. We had it up to the back steps twice and the second time, it threw the hook and escaped. All we have are memories and pictures.

The second fish was a nice tuna, about 8 pounds. It produced some nice tuna steaks that fed us for three meals.

We read another cruising blog that said that it is better to troll two lines, so we bought another yo-yo at Sailor's Exchange in St. Augustine. (You should stop by Sailor's Exchange if you're in St. Augustine and are looking for some boat parts and don't mind buying some used or excess stock parts.)

The best lure was something called Dolphin Candy, which you can buy at Amazon:
Gee's brother says that the blue lure works best.


Mike Boyd said...

I know this is an older post, but I just picked up a couple Cuban YoYo's. Trying to figure out exactly how I should rig it for ease of use on the boat. I like your setup. Was wondering how this rig was working out for you now that you've had some time with it. Anything you would change?

I like the idea of keeping the reel attached and have decided to use paracord for much of the line instead of monofilament to be easier on the hands (a lot of folks just use 3~400# test line). Do you use a gaff to help land the fish now?

Hope your fishing has continued going well.


Terry said...

Hi Mike,

The rig has been working well for us. We caught two Mahi and a Tuna on our last trip. We stopped fishing once the fridge was stocked.

We wouldn't change anything on a yoyo from what was described in the post. The nylon cord we use is similar to what you're suggesting. See the note about using the Albright knot to connect it to a length of monofilament. You will need to use some monofilament because some fish are sensitive to a visible line. We've not used a gaff. We bring the fish onto the steps and cover it with a towel. This wouldn't work with a large fish.

Here are some additional suggestions:

* Make each line a different length. One of ours is about 25 ft shorter than the other.

* Deploy at least two lines. We deploy one on port and one on starboard.

* Add a small bucktail or jig lure to the ball bearing swivel where the Dolphin Candy lure's leader attaches. This makes it look like a squid chasing a small fish.

* Carry spare lures. We've had a big fish take our lure on three occasions. The swivel is often damaged and must also be replaced.

* You can often get two Mahi hooked at the same time because they travel in schools. We've heard this from others and had it happen on two occasions.

* We could really use a better system to inform us of a hooked fish, perhaps a small bell. We currently rely on watching for a fish or hearing the snap shackle rattle against the hand rail.

* Fish the windward shore in deep water. I'm told that the wind pushes the bait fish into the shore.

* We avoid fishing on the Bahama Banks because we tend to catch Barracuda. We don't eat them due to chance of ciguatera. Some people like to eat small 'cuda (18 inches or less).

Good luck with your fishing.


Mike Boyd said...

Thanks for the update Terry!

Before I saw the idea for using chord, I purchased some 300# test to use as the line for the yoyo (bigger stuff supposedly easier on the hands - why the chord sounded even better). My plan now is to go with 75' of the 550# test paracord, follow that up with 25' of the monofilament. The mono that thick can't really be tied, so the idea is to tie a very heavy snap swivel to the line and crimp a loop in the mono to attach them together. Another loop at the other end of the mono with another snap swivel for attaching leader/lures. Planning on making 2 of them (varying length a bit).

For strike indicators, I've heard of people clipping the fishing line to a lifeline with a clothespin. When the line is pulled free, it indicates fish-on. Might be able to rig up something similar with a clip attached to the pushpit rail. Guess you could even attach a bell to that, but my guess is that boat motion will likely keep the bell ringing.

Still trying to figure out the lure selection to go with, but will have spares regardless. Not a lot of experience with salt water fishing...a lot yet to learn. Thanks for the insight.


Terry said...

I can't imagine a clothes pin making enough noise, so I've not tried it. For an alarm, I said "bell" but was thinking more along the lines of a tin can with a rock or nut inside, clipped to the snap shackle so that when a fish is on, it will make noise. I could see adding a clothes pin to that so that the can drops when a fish takes it.

We have been successful with lures advertised as 'dolphin candy'. They are relatively inexpensive, easily available, and are small enough that we catch 2-4ft Mahi and small tuna, which is great for our needs.

Good luck fishing!

Mike Boyd said...

Yeah, I doubt a clothespin will make much, if any, noise. More of a visual indicator. On my boat a bell might work under sail, but I'd need a cow bell, or gong, if I had an engine running. :-)