Butterfly baits are highly effective for targeting large bottom fish such as groupers and large red snappers.
The “wings” of the bait provide enticing movement, and the cut flesh releases scent and blood into the water.
Although almost any small to medium-sized fish can be used, blue runners (aka hard tails) are one of the most effective.
Hardtails are often caught while fishing for other species, or a sabiki rig can be used to fish directly for them.
Here are the steps:
1) Make a fillet cut on one side of the bait fish starting near the tail and ending near the head, leaving the fillet attached to the head. Repeat the cut on the opposite side of the fish.
2) Grasp the backbone of the fish near the head with two hands and break it as near to the head as possible. Discard the backbone and tail.
3) What remains should look like this: a head with two fleshy fillets attached to it.
4) Force a large hook through the lower jaw and out through the top of the head. The bait is now ready to fish.