Fish Downsea How To Section
Rigging Tips and Techniques for the Fish Downsea Party Hats and Party Skirts
The Party Hats and Party Skirts from Fish DownSea are the first real way to skirt your natural circle hook baits without impairing the hookup of the circle hook. Although the Party Hats and Party Skirts were designed for circle hook fishing for pelagics, they have so many uses from rigging on dredge baits to quickly skirting strip baits for bottom fishing. The opportunities are endless making the DownSea Party Hats and Party Skirts one of the most versatile lures on the market.
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Technique 1: Quick Slip On Rig
This is originally how the Party Hat and Party Skirt were designed to be used. It helps to have your bait rigged so the circle hook point enters the natural bait from front to back so it rides straight up whether you use floss or o-rings (as pictured). Then just add your Party Hat or Skirt by slipping it onto the hook via the hat or skirt's o-ring so it sits on top of your bait. This is a simple, quick, and effective way to add color and flash to your natural bait. You can also use this rigging technique to add a Party Hat or Skirt to your cut strip baits for bottom fishing. Although this technique works best with the Party Hat due to the smaller unobtrusive head, it also works well with the Party Skirt as well (especially on medium-large to horse size ballyhoo). This technique gives your bait that skip-skip-swim-swim action like a J-Hook rigged sea witch or duster normally does. If you prefer more of a swimming action just use a heavier chin weight. 3/8-1/2 ounce chin weights on dinks to small medium ballyhoo and 1/2-1 ounce chin weights on medium-horse ballyhoo will help achieve more swimming action if that is what you desire. Rigging your Party Hats and Skirts this way also gets your lure back on most occasions.
Note: This technique does not work well if you use swivel rigs for rigging your natural circle hook baits.
Technique 2: Wire Direct
This technique works better on the Party Skirt then the Party Hat and secures the skirt atop the bait's head (as shown pictured to the right). Simply take your 14" piece of copper wire or 20-30# monel and directly attach it to the o-ring that comes attached to the Party Skirt. Next, rig your ballyhoo the way you normally would with an O-Ring Rig (CLICK HERE to see a How To Rig with O-Rings Video). Slip
the hook through the o-ring and fire it out in the spread. If you prefer the swivel rigs for circle hooks, you can easily slip your wire straight through the o-ring of the Party Skirt or Hat then rig your ballyhoo the way you normally would with your swivel rig. The Party Hat or Skirt will sit on top of the bait and skirt the ballyhoo. Like Technique 1, this gives your bait the skip-skip-swim-swim action. If you prefer the bait to swim more, just use a heavier chin weight. Rigging your Party Hats and Skirts this way gets you your lure back on some occasions.
Technique 3: Through The Eyes
Start by dipping the Party Hat or Skirt in the water to help bring all of the hair strands together making it easy to pass through the eye cavity of the bait. Pass the hair through the eye cavity and pull it through until you can work the head of the Hat or Skirt into place in the eye cavity of the bait. Then rig your bait the way you normally would rig it with an o-ring or swivel rig making sure you make a pass or two over the head of the Party Hat or Skirt to secure it into place when you make your passes through the eye cavity. For this technique the smaller head of the Party Hat makes it work well on small to medium ballyhoo and the Party Skirt fits well in large-horse ballyhoo and adds eyes to the ballyhoo where there normally is one which looks perfect! The bait swims exceptionally well when rigged this way.
Technique: The Party Dredge
The Party Hats and Party Skirts are a very effective, easy, and inexpensive way to skirt your dredge baits. Whether you use natural baits like mullet or ballyhoo or artificial baits like shad bodies on your dredge, you can quickly and easily skirt your dredge baits with the Downsea Party Hats and Skirts. Simply slip your pin rig into your bait as usual, then slip the o-ring of
the Party Hat or Skirt down onto the pin of the pin rig, then finish securing your bait and Party Hat or Skirt with wire, floss, ballyhoo spring, or rubber band. It is simple as that, and you can use them over and over again.
Technique: Rigging with Wire for Wahoo
The Party Hats and Party Skirts are great for making it easy to add or change colors for most any style of fishing with bait. Of course, for toothy fish, you need to rig with wire. You can easily do this two ways:
1. Rig the Party Hat or Skirt through the eyes like in Technique 3 (pictured top). Rig your ballyhoo on your J Hook wire rig and then follow the steps that are instructed in Technique 3.
2. Rig the Party Hat or Skirt on the pin of your Wire J Hook Pin Rig (pictured bottom - CLICK HERE to see How To Make a Wire Pin Rig). This is very similar to the Party Drege technique above. Just rig your ballyhoo onto your Wire J Hook Pin Rig, slip the Party Hat or Skirt onto the pin and secure it down with your rigging wire, rubber band, or ballyhoo spring.