The Ebing rig can be a game-changer when targeting blackfin, bluefin or yellowfin tuna worldwide. It’s designed to mimic the movements of  krill, squid, or glass minnows. 

Blackfin, bluefin, and yellowfin tuna are known to be voracious eaters and have a particular fondness for krill. Blackfin tuna on the Marathon Hump go into a feeding frenzy when they find a swarm of these tiny crustaceans. The presence of krill can make tuna so excited and focused that they may ignore other baits or lures you might present.  This behavior is not unique to tuna. Many other pelagic fish, such as mahi mahi, also exhibit this preference when encountering their favorite food source in large quantities. 

In such a situation, where tuna are completely mesmerized by a krill swarm, it might seem like all hope is lost. But here’s where the Ebing rig comes into play. When tuna are in a feeding frenzy over krill, introducing something that fits into that food category can grab their attention.

Ebing Rig for Tuna Fishing History

A technique known as “Ebing.” This ingenious method was conceived by the local fishermen of Okinawa, Japan, and later refined by Daiwa instructor Mr. Seikai Murakoshi.

Now, the term “Ebing” might sound unusual. It comes from the Japanese word “Ebi,” meaning shrimp. Mr. Murakoshi coined the term “Ebing,” meaning “shrimping.” The name is fitting, as it perfectly encapsulates the essence of this method: using a shrimp-looking plastic lure to outsmart large tunas. Tuna love krill(shrimp). 

When the Okinawan fishermen first tried Ebing, it was just for fun. But soon, they discovered its devastating effectiveness, especially for commercial fishing. Despite the variety of tactics traditionally used by Japanese fishermen – remember, they don’t use nets for tuna to avoid damaging their skin, a crucial factor in Japan’s fish market – this little shrimp-looking plastic lure turned out to be a game-changer.

The Ebing Rig Multiverse 

Let me take you back into my fishing “multiverse” to the day when I first came across the Ebing rig. It was during a filming session with YouTuber Ryan Morie. 

On this day, we planned to film a bottom fishing trip for mutton snappers and tuna. What I didn’t expect, however, was to be introduced to a whole new fishing technique. We got our mutton snappers for the film, then headed offshore to the Islamorada Hump.

When I arrived at the Islamorada Hump, it was a parking lot, worst yet no “signs of surface life” or life below on the Garmin. The boat traffic was all over the place; the Islamorada charter boat fleet was dumping in on top of the Islamorada Hump and then ripping out quickly. The chatter on the radio was, “No fish, so we’re out.”

I never believed there were no fish, so I told Ryan we would fish it anyway and see what happens. As we set up, Ryan pulled out this small, shrimp-looking plastic lure attached to a short metal bar that looked like he ripped apart from an umbrella, took the rib part, and then added a 270-gram jig to the center of this crazy-looking steel bar rig. Then I saw the bar had a long-ass leader, a 30 lb. leader attached. I said hey, “WTF is that”? His response was, “An Ebing Rig.” He asked if I was OK with him using it, and my response was, “Send it.” 

Below is the YouTube Video from the Trip

In full disclosure… It looked like a shitty tangled mess that eventually I was going to have to deal with, but hey, I am always willing to try new things. 

Ryan explained how this little lure had been causing quite a stir in the fishing community, especially in Okinawa, Japan, where it was invented. Ryan spent several years in Japan, where he was stationed while serving in the United States military. After a quick search on my phone, I saw the guys in Japan catching big bluefin tunas and yellowfin tuna on this Ebing Rig. I was like, shit, this is going to work. 

So Ryan got this Ebing rig thing going on, a fishing method straight out of Okinawa, Japan. And me? I’m sticking to my trusty high-speed silver flash jig. 

Ryan casts out his Ebing Rig, and I send out my jig. And then, BAM! Before you can say “sushi,” Ryan’s reeling in a jumbo tuna like he’s just picking up groceries. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there, my trusty vertical jig not getting touched. 

Using the Ebing Rig

I like to cast the Ebing Rig away from the boat, just like Ryan showed me. Letting it sink before retrieving it in a jerky manner is a proven method for mimicking the behavior of distressed prey, which is irresistible to predatory fish. 

Tuna Fishing Secrets

The use of a high-speed spinning reel matched with the right rod is a good choice as well. I am use rods by Adrenaline Custom Fishing Rods.  It allows for quick retrieval and maintaining tension on the line, which is crucial when trying to hook and land large, powerful fish like tuna, mutton snappers, and amberjacks. I use a Shimano Stella 8000  for tuna jigging. 

Using a vertical jig or egg sinker as a weight ensures that the line stays taut and prevents tangling. This also helps to keep the lure at the correct depth and increases the chances of attracting fish from a distance.

The show’s star is the small plastic lure that trails behind the jig. By mimicking a shrimp or small fish, it tempts predators into striking. Hooking the plastic lure at the tip ensures it maintains a natural swimming form, making it even more enticing to the fish.

How to Make an Ebing Rig Bar for Tuna Fishing

I don’t know the optimal specifications for making an Ebing Rig. In our video, we utilized a rod that measures around 20 inches, but I couldn’t tell you what material it’s made from. So I contacted my buddy Jeff Perez, a contributor at Good Karma Sportfishing, and asked him to put together a YouTube tutorial on constructing an Ebing Rig.  

Ebing Rig for Tuna Fishing Plastic Lure Tips

The Ebing rig uses a small plastic lure that resembles a krill(shrimp). It’s designed to mimic the movements and looks of these creatures, which share the same ecosystem as krill or squid. The goal is to simulate the behavior and appearance of the krill, glass minnow, or squid. For all you guys that like to fish the Florida Keys bridges, this is the jig you want to use them Florida Keys bridge yellowjacks. 

The Best Tuna Lure

  • Scent:During filming, we used a Pink Daiwa Ebbu DR Stick Lure. Click here to purchase through my Amazon Affiliate link.  When you read the fine print, you will see it is formulated with a unique amino acid scent. Plastic formulated with amino acid scent mimics the prey’s natural scents, making the lure more attractive to fish.   Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, a primary food source for many fish. By incorporating these into the lure, manufacturers aim to trick the fish into thinking the lure is real food. An example is the range of lures from Berkley called Gulp! and PowerBait. These lures are impregnated with a scent formula with amino acids to attract fish. However, not all plastic lures contain amino acids, and the effectiveness of those that do can depend on various factors, including the species of fish and the specific conditions in which you’re fishing.  If you want to know what I am using as a scent to catch mutton snappers on plastics, you can purchase my bonus course by clicking here.
  • Tail Wiggle:Look for a lure with a good “tail wiggle.” This design feature will make the lure move similarly to the real-life movements of a krill or shrimp underwater. If that plastic does not have the right wiggle, it will likely not get a bite. The more realistically your lure moves, the better your chances of attracting tuna. This can be achieved through a good “tail wiggle” in the lure’s design, which imitates how krill move underwater.
  • Buoyancy:Another critical aspect to consider is the buoyancy of the lure. For Ebing, the plastic lure should be neutrally buoyant. This means that when it’s in the water, it neither sinks nor floats but stays suspended at the depth where you place it. This mimics the natural behavior of krill or squid, making the lure more likely to attract a tuna’s attention.
  • Glow:Many companies manufacture glow-in-the-dark lures highly visible in deeper or darker waters. For instance, Berkley’s Gulp Alive Shrimp comes in a Glow color designed to attract fish in low-light conditions.
  • Pink Colored Lures:Pink is also a standard color for krill-mimicking lures, as many species of krill have a pink or reddish hue. The PowerBait Power Floating Trout Worm by Berkley is one example of a pink lure that could mimic the color of krill.
  • UV Lures:UV-reactive lures are designed to be more visible in the water, reflecting UV light and standing out against the surrounding environment. Brands like Pro-Cure offer UV-enhanced bait scents that can be added to any lure to make it more attractive to fish.
  • Size: Ebing Rig plastics typically range from 2.0 inches to 4.5 inches. 

The Weight- Slow Pitch or High-Speed Jig

Remember, the jig itself doesn’t have any hooks. Its primary function is to act as a weight and draw fish in from afar. As you can see by the looks of those teeth marks in the in the jig below, that was the right jig for the day. 

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Weighted Vertical Jig Profile

The jig’s role is to weigh down the rig, enabling it to drop quickly and horizontally. When choosing a vertical jig weight for Ebing, it’s crucial to consider the current and drift conditions. The weight of your jig should be sufficient to reach the desired depth and maintain its position against the current.   Some Ebing Rig bars have an egg sinker centered in the middle.   

  • Weight:Constantly adapt the jig to the specifics of your fishing environment for maximum effectiveness. For Ebing, come equipped with jigs of various weights – 130g, 170g, 210g, and 270g – to be prepared for different conditions and situations.  
  • Colors:When selecting the right  weighted jig colors for Ebing, there’s a wide variety of options. However, specific colors have proven to be particularly effective in attracting tunas. Fluorescent-painted UV jigs with super glow are highly recommended. These jigs can produce a bright and noticeable glow underwater, which is excellent for drawing the tuna’s attention from afar, even in darker or murkier waters. The most successful colors for these jigs tend to be pink, purple, and silver. Pinks and purples are known to resemble the color of some of the natural prey, making them an irresistible choice. On the other hand, Silver mimics the flash of small fish, another favorite food source for squids.

Casting and Retrieval 

The process involves a high to medium-speed jigging rhythm, similar to a pattern of tug, wind, tug, wind, then a brief pause… and repeat. This technique can be carried out using either a spinning or overhead reel. Best part is, your technique does not need to be perfect. The fish will tell you when you got it right. 

Leader Length 

Regarding the leader length, I recommend a 10-15 feet pound fluorocarbon leader. Adjust accordingly based on how the tunas are eating. If you are not getting a bite, lighten the leader. You must adjust the leader length and may need to go longer. 

The Best Live Bait Hook for Tuna Fishing

I recommend using a small 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, or 5/0 live bait hook by Seaworx. These are the best live bait hooks on the market today.

Seaworx live bait hooks

The Best Live Bait Hooks for Tuna Fishing

 

You can buy these at Tavernier Creek Marina in the Florida Keys. Tavernier Creek Marina, located at 90800 Overseas Highway in Tavernier, Florida (MM 90.8 Bayside), is a highly regarded marina that caters to the needs of Florida Keys’ boaters and anglers. Tavernier is located between Key Largo and Islamorada. If you’re planning a fishing trip to Tavernier, Key Largo, Islamorada or heading to Key West or Marathon, be sure to make a pit stop at Tavernier Creek Marina’s Chris’s Bait and Tackle Shop. Our store offers everything you need to make your fishing and boating experience in the Florida Keys successful. Situated conveniently at the northern end of Islamorada, Tavernier Creek Marina is a comprehensive hub for all your fishing and boating requirements. At Tavernier Creek Marina, you’ll find Chris’s Bait and Tackle, a well-stocked Florida Keys bait and tackle shop that provides all the essentials for your Florida Keys fishing and on-the-water adventures. 

The “Swerve” Conclusion

Despite my lack of expertise in using the Ebing Rig, I needed to relay my experiences. This blog is not just about the basics of fishing using the Ebing Rig for tuna  but also encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone, as staying within one’s comfort boundaries often inhibits growth and progress in getting better.  When you discover an effective new technique, it’s crucial not just to duplicate it but to refine and tailor it to your style—the secret lies in consistent practice and personalization rather than simple imitation.

Remember, mastering a new skill or technique is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time to understand and perfect it, bringing in your unique touch to make it work best for you.  Moreover, acknowledging those from whom you’ve learned is not just respectful; it also fosters a sense of community and mutual support. Sadly, we see too many people replicating content on platforms like YouTube without giving due credit. This serves as a reminder that while the internet is a vast resource for learning and sharing, it’s equally important to respect original content and give credit where it’s due.  

I encourage all of you reading this blog to try out the Ebing Rig on your next tuna fishing trip.

Thanks for reading, and Remember, Anytime You’re Fishing, It’s all good.

Capt. Ryan