Get Started With Mojos

The appeal of trolling mojos comes from their simplicity

Get Started With Mojo rigs

Depending on your latitude, trolling a mojo rig is either the hottest new tactic or the oldest trick in the book.

Captains below the Mason Dixon line have been using these super-sized leadheads, skirts, and shads to catch trophy rockfish for decades, but it’s just in the last few years that the lures have caught on in New Jersey and New York, and they are almost unheard of in New England waters.

The appeal of trolling mojos? Their simplicity. No wire line or leadcore, no specialized rods, no worries about finding the right depth or tuning them to swim right; just clip the rig on a heavy conventional outfit and let it swim just above the bottom.

The Reels

A large conventional reel with a lower gear ratio to crank in the heavy jigs and the fish is a must for trolling mojos. Keeping the rod steady when fighting a fish (rather than pumping and winding) will result in fewer lost fish on mojo rigs. A reel should also have a smooth drag and enough line capacity to hold 300-plus yards of 65-pound test.

Tsunami Forged 12

Tsunami Forged 12

  • 4.3:1
  • 350 yards of 65-pound-test braid
  • $199.99
Shimano Torium 20

Shimano Torium 20

  • 6.2:1
  • 375 yards of 65-pound-test braid
  • $239.99
Penn Fathom FTH25LW

Penn Fathom FTH25LW

  • 4.3:1
  • 380 yards of 65-pound-test braid
  • $199.95
Alyssa Madosky
Alyssa Madosky caught this New Jersey striper on a Magic Tails Mojo last December.

The Rods

A medium-heavy conventional setup is perfect for trolling mojos. Though the rigs are heavy, they don’t have as much water resistance as an umbrella rig or even a deep-diving plug, which means you can use slightly lighter tackle.

St. Croix Mojo Salt MSWC70MHF

St. Croix Mojo Salt MSWC70MHF

  • 7’ / Medium-Heavy / 40- to 65-pound test (braid) / $210
Penn Rampage RAMBW2050C70

Penn Rampage RAMBW2050C70

  • 7’ / 20- to 50-pound test / $59.95
Lamiglas Triflex TFX 7240 C

Lamiglas Triflex TFX 7240 C

  • 7’6” / 20- to 40-pound test / $350

The Lures

A mojo is basically a big jig with a swinging hook and a 12 – to 32-ounce leadhead designed to keep the lure deep while trolling. The leadhead is dressed with a skirt and the hook threaded with a large paddle-tail shad. This combination gives the mojo a big bait profile and a pulsing, tail-kicking action. Chartreuse and white are the most popular colors, but mojos are available in a wide range of patterns, including some that are a close match to local baitfish.

S&S Bucktails Rattlin’ Mo

S&S Bucktails Rattlin’ Mo

 
Magic Tails Mojo

Magic Tails Mojo

 
Blue Water Candy Mojo

Blue Water Candy Mojo

 

The Rig

Many captains troll two mojos (one heavier and one lighter) off a three-way swivel, with a 4- to 5-foot length 100-pound test leader to the heavier mojo, and a 6- to 10-foot length of 100-pound-test leader to the lighter mojo. Often, it’s the smaller mojo that draws the bite, as stripers attack the bait that is lagging behind.

These long leaders can make landing fish a challenge, forcing fishermen to grab the leader and handline the bass within landing range. Recently, Nonpareil Fishing Equipment released a “wind-on” mojo rig, called the Y-Knot. This rig the two lengths of leader spliced together in hollow-core braided line, which is attached to the rod via a loop-to-loop connection.

The Mojo Rig diagram

The Technique

With the boat in gear and trolling at a speed of 3 to 4 knots, drop the mojo until you feel it hit bottom, engage the reel, and after a second or two, drop back until it hits bottom again. The idea is to keep the lure just off the bottom. Watch the rod tip to make sure the lure isn’t dragging; if it is, reel up a couple cranks. Occasionally bouncing bottom is fine and can trigger strikes, as long as you’re trolling over sandy bottom.

White Mojo closeup

Adjust the size of your mojo to the depth and current speed. Rigs of 12 to 20 ounces work well in depths of 25 to 50 feet, while mojos as heavy as 32 ounces can be used in water from 40 to 60-plus feet.
Mojos will draw strikes without any additional input from anglers, but occasionally pulling the boat out of gear to let the rigs sink can also trigger strikes. After a missed hit, some fishermen “jig” the mojo by making a few sweeps of their rods to entice strikes from a following fish. This is also a good way to turn a single hook-up into a double-header. After a rod goes down, without taking the boat out of gear, grab another one and give the mojo some extra action.

Mojos work best in waters deeper than 20 feet that have sandy, snag-free bottoms. With rigs costing as much as $50, you want to limit how many mojos you lose to the rocks.

16 on “Get Started With Mojos

  1. Murray Rapoport

    For a reel I use a Penn 113H with metal spool .I use this reel for Mojo’s,spoons,umbrellas,and wire.Cheap, strong, easy to maintain,and have rings on them to attach safety lines. If you fish from outrodders you want a safety line.

  2. Jim Smith

    Always check the connection of the hook to the lead head. This is the weakest point and the hook wears through ring in the head. Lost a few this way.

  3. Rob Schlank

    I Just bought a few 8oz / 4oz tandems from Blue Water Candy. How does the technique differ for these lighter Mojos?

    1. John Augustine

      No different bro. Just don’t need as rigid a rod. Keeper just off the bottom, 3.2 to 3.6 for speed. Impairative that you can read a drag from a swim….not always as easy as it sounds. Rougher water, harder to set, but our top go to for over a decade.

  4. Jim

    Fished Mojos on our annual Striper trip aboard the Little Hawk out of Atlantic Highlands. We have been fishing Mojos for the last few years with good success rather than Clamming or Bunker Chunking with fish finder rugs. Bait fishing has not been working as well recently, however while productive, I think that reeling in a bass hooked up on a Mojo on a moving boat seems to take some of the fight out of the fishing.

  5. Alex hopper

    Its great article. you explained every think point to point
    thank you for sharing
    I have really enjoy your article

  6. Christopher Hayden

    A friends daughter bought a house boat in Virginia Beach. He was helping her move in and found a bucket with a pile of these rigs and a new 3500 yd spool of 80lb test. He gave it all to me because he doesn’t fish salt water. I had never seen anything like them before. A few were beat up pretty bad but I cleaned them all up, replaced some hooks and they’re ready to go. Heading to Edgartown today for two weeks of fishing ( I retired a month ago) I will give them a solid testing after reading this article and watching some videos. It’s sounds very straight forward

  7. Jeffrey bogert

    who makes the mojo in the 1st image?where can i get them?

  8. Steve C

    I fish out of Indian River Delaware and have used mojos to fish for strippers. I’m wondering if anyone has used mojos to troll for tuna at the inshore grounds, Massy’s canyon, Hot Dog, etc.

  9. Jerramie

    i have been fishing a variation of this rig for the past 30 years. In the 90s I discovered the 3 way buck-tail/sinker in Long Island Sound. however instead of using the plastic shad – I would use something else fleshy on the tail of the bucktail. I would run them in the Race (CT/NY Fishers island to Plum gut) rather than troll i would drift through but ether side of the tide you can drift as fast as a troll in those waters. a few years later I decided to replace the sinker with another rig a few feet longer out and it worked wonders. Its a little bit different variation but I am excited to try this newer innovation. Thanks for the info : )

  10. Sal

    I am just going to start for the 1st time to troll with Mojos and hopefully not a crazy question that nobody seams to ever address . When 1st dropping the rig down to find bottom is boat underway? Then strait trolling after a few cranks or I am assuming the latter to drop when boat is already under way.

      1. Chris

        While the boat is underway let the rig down while holding the spool, you will feel it hit the bottom. When it hits, thumb the spool for a second and then drop it one more time until it hits. Lock the drag and good to go. There is an effective depth ratio of mojo weight/depth. Some will never hit bottom regardless of line let out. If thats the case get a heavier leading mojo.

  11. Jimmy B

    Reeling in a Striper on a moving boat does take the fight out , so stop the boat when you’ve got one . Much more fun.

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