Tim Simpson

Fishing Journo And Big Fish Expert

Tim Simpson is the owner and Editor of Bluewater Magazine, Co-author of “The Book Of Lures”, IGFA representative and holds multiple National and World gamefishing records. He’s tagged over 580 marlin, tuna and sharks – so far!

Tim’s Bluewater Minnow Fishing Tips

  • Minnow lures are the perfect option for offshore, bluewater fishing and have caught Tim a ton of fish, including multiple light line records.

  • It’s vital to match the lure to the tackle and that the lure is suitable for offshore trolling. The main attributes are that they need to be capable of being trolled at 6 knots or more, preferably even in excess of 10 knots. They must also be able to handle a large payload (ie suitable hooks, rings and leaders) without it throwing the action off.

  • Lures that are large and dive to between 1 and 5 metres are perfect for bluewater trolling. Those that create minimal drag on the line are ideal when lighter line classes are in play.

  • Tim likes to switch the standard trebles that are fitted to most minnow lures and replace them with larger inline single hooks. Rings should also be replaced with extra strong versions, if necessary. If you can’t get inline hooks, using a second split ring will realign the hook point.
    Hooks must be “Sticky Sharp”, meaning they’ll penetrate and draw blood from a finger with virtually no pressure. This is essential for setting hooks in the hard mouths of most pelagic species.

  • Tim recommends using 1 metre of piano wire as leader when trolling bluewater minnows. He removes the split ring from the nose of the lure and attaches the wire with a haywire twist finished with a small, neat barrel roll. To the other end of the wire he attaches a solid brass or stainless steel ring. A relatively light nylon leader of 10-15 feet is attached to the ring, with second ring at the end for quick lure changes. This rig makes the part of the leader closest to teeth and gills very abrasion proof but the wire is super thin and single strand, so it doesn’t create vibration that spooks fish and allows the lure to get to maximum depth and with maximum action. Once boat-side, the nylon leader allows fish to be led to the gaff or released.

  • The 18cm Rapala Magnum floating minnow was one of Tims original favourites for bluewater fishing, but in recent years he’s switched to the 190mm Halco Laser Pro, finding them to be more durable and less prone to being destroyed by tough offshore fish.

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1 Comment

  1. Rod

    “Sticky sharp” trebles on larger lures (to use with light tackle, < 20lb line) are hard to find in person (on shelves). I am looking for finer gauge sharp replacements up to 4/0 size. Internet searching I've found the Spear-21 SS (up to 5/0), Decoy Y-F33F (up to 4/0). Are they good options to investigate?

    If using the double split ring method to use a standard eye hook for a single replacement, are there preferred hook designs that work better for trolling? Tim mentions he used a fly hook to get the finer gauge – are there certain design features that I need to look for to ensure the hook tracks nicely through the water (i.e. gape design / straight shank etc). Fine gauge inline singles don't tend to come in larger sizes. Thx.


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