The Mop Lure

Mop lure from Saltwater Sportsman.JPG (338364 bytes)

Here's a HOOKLESS trolling lure you can make yourself in just a few minutes that'll take the sails and marlins without injury to the fish at all.Just slide a retired two-ounce jig head over some 80 pound test mono leader material, then tie the bitter end of the mono around the middle of a 16-inch-long nylon carpet yarn. That's it.


    From time to time reports have filtered through big-game fishing circles about a hookless lure that can really do  a number on any billfish that takes a whack at it. In the rulebook of the IGFA  the use of any lure that "ensnares a fish" is definitely taboo, but since I was completely ignorant of such a restriction at the time, I was positively delighted to join two Guatemalan friends off the Pacific coastline of their handsome country and watch a lure they call The Mop take giant sailfish after sailfish without doing the fish the slightest harm.
    The Mop is nothing more than several thousand strands of pure white nylon carpet yarn as manufactured by DuPont. Cut in chunks eight inches long with a two-ounce lead-head from a discarded feather jig attached somewhat ingeniously, the lure looks like a big, juicy squid when trolled rapidly.
     Guatemala City radio station owner Paco Maza B. and his buddy Roberto Sanchez, a local dentist, fish it difficult to understand why other members of their fishing club outlaw the lure during annual sailfish tournaments.
    The dozen sails I observed being taken, outside of becoming completely enraged by the presence of the lure clinging to the tip of their bill, suffered no ill effects (except to their dignity maybe) when released.
    A lure is sacrificed when a sail is released (a razor sharp linoleum knife is used to slice quickly through the strands of nylon), but they are cheap and simple to prepare. We made a dozen in two hours.
    The Mop is usually trolled about 150 feet behind the boat and allowed to skip occasionally. The reel is set at striking drag rather than almost free spool as when trolling natural baits. About all it takes is one inquisitive poke of an interested sail's bill and the Mop snares the bill firmly in its grasp and never lets go!
    In my years of pursuing billfish, this was the first time I ever saw sails consistently taken without a lot of bloodshed and possible internal damage to the fish.
    And, so far as The Mop possibly hindering the fighting ability of a sail-no way! Those sails went bananas, and each battle, to put it simply, was far more satisfying than any I can remember. As a catch-and-release angler for many years, it is considered opinion, IGFA rules to the contrary, that taking billfish on this type of lure is far more humane than any other method I have heard or witnessed.

Reprinted from Clifford L. Mekel's article in the Saltwater Sportsman magazine dated December 1989.

    Mang Eddie, my fishing guide as well as other local fishermen from Bolinao use a different variation of this lure.
He doesn't use a lead head but just binds the strands together with ordinary string. He uses a monofilament line and passes it through the middle of the binding.
He also uses a combination of two colored strands consisting of white and pink and mixes it with about 10 to 15 strands of metallic gold reflective string.
I have personally tested this lure and I have caught my first and second sailfish on it.