Wog Heads: Rigging and Fishing Tactics

Posted by Jane McNeil on

Wog heads are one of the most effective and consistent lures for targeting spanish mackerel and other pelagic species. With plenty of recent reports of good spanish being caught locally we thought we'd do a run through of the best tips and tactics for successful application of these amazing lures!

1. The wog head

Throughout the years, we have seen many different iterations of the humble wog head rig and have tried and tested a whole range of options. A few key features have emerged as favourites for us over this time. Firstly, the best heads on the market are chrome plated brass. We find this to have a greater success rate and lifespan than similar lead based heads. Both sizes of head we use for our wogs are machined in Australia! The next key feature on a good wog head is the hooks. We find a ganged pair of 9/0 VMC 9255 to be extremely effective. This rig provides great hookups and fish holding ability and is favoured by us over a three gang rig for these reasons. Finally, our testing throughout the years has seen us land on a 180lb single strand wire for the trace material. This is very resistant to kinking, has a great lifespan and allows easier management of fish at the boatside when the gaff gets left at home! Combine these key features with a expertly crafted skirt, a bait spring and a garfish and you have what we think is the best wog head in Australia!

2. Rigging

Rigging the bait is probably the most contentious part of entire wog head operation, and almost everyone has a different way to do it. Additionally, many people are intimidated by the rigging process and lean away from wog heads for this reason. I think there are two important things to mention here. Firstly, there is no one right way to rig a wog head. Secondly, it doesn't have to be a perfect rig! As long as your wog head tracks well through the water at speed and does not spin, it is very likely to get eaten! While I have just mentioned that there aren't necessarily right or wrong ways to rig a wog head, I will run through what is our favourite (and super easy) way to get your wog heads catching fish! Check out the attached photos for further assistance. When it comes to selecting a bait, five spot garfish are the bee's knees! Lots of people reach for the absolute biggest gars in the packet (which can be awesome), though we find the mid-sized gars to be the most consistent. While the super jumbo five spots swim awesome and often draw those bigger bites, they can also be notorious for tail bite offs and fish missing the hooks, which rarely happens on the slightly smaller gars. To rig one of these gars is easy. First, ensure your gar is fully defrosted and line up the front hook and the nose pin along the body of the gar. Slide the front hook into the gar and allow it to sit in the belly cavity. Do not put the hook deeper into the flesh or spine of the gar! Next, push the wire pin through the bottom and top jaws of the gar and use the bait spring to tension. We prefer to leave the back hook swinging, or have it attached alongside the body of the gar with a rubber band. Once you are happy with the rig, run your thumb down the back of the garfish, pushing every few centimetres to soften up the backbone of the bait (this will get a better swimming action). Now your wog head is ready to go, chuck it over the side and swim it next to the boat to ensure everything is operating as it should be. It should not be spinning and the gar should have a slight shimmying swim action. You are now ready to catch fish!

3. Catching fish

Trolling wog heads is very effective and rewarding, though there are a few tactics to consider when using them. The most important things that you should consider when trolling wog head are: speed, amount of line out, current and depth of fish. These aspects all interact with each other and must all be considered for the best application. Trolling could be separated into two broad classes, targeted and general/prospective. General/prospective trolling involves covering a large area, aiming to intercept active fish, whereas targeted trolling focusses on a small, discrete area such as an active pressure point or school of fish. If covering a larger area via general trolling, we like a speed of around 5-6kt, with a standard wog head around 30-50m behind the boat on the outside corner, and a Deep Dog wog head shorter on the inside corner. The heavier head will run deeper, and boat speed can be varied to increase or decrease depth. When targeting specific points while trolling, speed is particularly important as it directly influences the depth of the wog head. Use your sounder to assess the desired depth and adjust your speed accordingly. Getting your lures in front of the fish is probably the most important aspect to consider when trolling for any species. Mackerel may rise from deeper postions to feed on shallower lures, though often are reluctant to do so, increasing the requirement to get your lures deep! As a relevant local example, spanish mackerel regularly school in ~30 metres of water around the northern points of Satellite and Batt reef. These fish may sit at around 15-20m and can be inconsistent to get to rise to lures running shallower. In this instance, much slower trolling speeds and our heavier Deep Dog wog heads can be utilised to get the maximum depth from your trolling spread. When you hook up to a fish, it can be worth giving the boat a quick rev and keeping it in gear running forward for a few seconds! This will ensure the hooks are well connected to your fish, and keep your other wogs swimming for a possible double hook up.

Hot tip: People who fish with wog heads regularly may notice that bites often occur when out of gear or drifting. This means the fish are biting the wogs while they are falling in the water column. This is not a coincidence and should not be overlooked! It is possible to access extremely deep holding fish by utilising this knowledge. Try taking your boat out of gear while passing over deep fish and allowing your wogs to sink down to the depths the fish are sitting before putting the boat back in gear. This technique has resulted in many fish over the years, often in scenarios where the bite is otherwise tough. This is best done with our heavier Deep Dog wog heads.

The rest of 2022 is looking really good for local macks based on what we are seeing and hearing! Of course, all our wog heads are made locally in Port Douglas and expertly rigged to catch fish straight off the shelf. Don't forget we can do a whole range of custom colours in both sizes! Drop in and see us in the store for a fresh stock up of wog heads, expert advice on rigging and fishing, as well as specific areas and times to try your luck.


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