All About the Ballyhoo
By Rolando Cordoba
Magazine Editor of TROLEO (Mexico) and FISHINGTRIPS (Website)
The Ballyhoo – a fish frequently used as cut bait and for trolling purposes by saltwater sportsmen -- can swim so fast that it flies when driven out of the water. Ballyhoo can be seen above the waters skimming the surface to escape from their predators. The appearance is similar to skipping stones on the water.
Their diet is largely herbivorous, mostly plant debris suspended by currents, some species of zooplankton, and they occasionally attack small larval organisms. The ballyhoo has a thin, bright and elongated beak with an orange spot at the end.
The ballyhoo (Hemiramphus brasiliensis) belongs to the family Hemiramphidae. Its streamlined body with bulging eyes can measure up to 50 cms (20 inches) long. Its common name: "bayihyo" is a term native of Brazil, composed of two words in Tupi and Guarani language, meaning "penis fish."
The ballyhoo's well-developed caudal fin and aerodynamic body allows it to reach high speeds in very short time, and to alert its senses of any predator that swims around. Although often used as live bait, it is most common in blue-water trolling, arranged only with a hook and some weight to keep it submerged. It is also used with a plastic skirt as a teaser, which is the most often used and effective arrangement for catching gamefish such as: sailfish, wahoo, marlin, dorado and tuna.
The ballyhoo typically swims in large schools and can be caught with netting or sabiki rigs.
Once captured there are those who keep them in nurseries for use as is, while others prefer them frozen. Fishermen prepare them in arrangements that in many cases may include immersion in a "secret" formula to maintain appearance and shine longer. Try to find time to share with an experienced angler when he's trolling how to fix a ballyhoo; it can make for good learning.In each region according to the taste of each fisherman, they are fixed differently. But no matter which method you use, the ballyhoo is one of the best baits to catch any species in the open, deep blue waters of the world.