FISHING TIP OF THE WEEK: Fishing a Loose vs. a Tight Outrigger Pin
Slow trolling with live bait has become a popular way to fish, especially in the southeast US. Fishing live baits off the outriggers can be quite effective and there are two schools of thought as to how livies should be deployed: a "tight pin" versus a "loose pin." These terms are really misleading because the pin, or outrigger clip, remains the same in either scenario. It’s how you run the line through the clip that changes.
Tight pin (see above)
With a tight pin, you twist the main line seven to 10 times before clipping it into the outrigger pin. This means the line cannot move freely back and forth through the pin, hence the “tight” designation. The tight pin forces the clip to pop open before you can drop back the bait when a fish bites, but tight pin fans think it ensures a more certain bite and that it creates less wear and tear on your line since it’s held firmly in place and therefore can’t saw back and forth on the wire in the pin. With a tight pin, it’s essential to keep light pressure on the release clip so it pops open easily.
The main line simply runs through the clip in a loose pin setup, meaning you can drop back the bait through the clip when a fish bites. After the appropriate drop-back, engage the reel drag while winding and the line will pop from the clip and come tight after the line falls. Critics of the loose pin feel that the slack created during the time after the drop-back and between when you come tight can allow fish to escape, but proponents of this method counter that you can more effectively control the drop-back with a loose pin.
Each method has its merits. Try them both the next time you find yourself live-baiting offshore, to see which works best for you!
John Brownlee is the host of Anglers Journal Television, and the former editor-in-chief of Marlin and Salt Water Sportsman magazines.