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Wireline Trolling For Bass

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
trolling depths
Chris Bell asked:


Overview.  Wireline trolling is a technique that is used by many thousands of New Englanders every year to catch striped bass.  It can be very productive if you know what your doing, but many people think you simply put the line out and motor around in your boat to catch fish, and are surprised when they see others catch fish after fish in the same area and apparently doing the same thing and even using the same rig.  Well, there must be something different.   Knowing where the fish are holding, what their feeding on and the speed to troll at are just some of the considerations to take into account.

Where are the Fish.  You have to go where the fish are, not where you want them to be.  You also have to go when the fish are there, not when you want them to be there.  For any kind of Bass fishing, early morning is usually the best.  Early in the season they may feed throughout the day, but as the season progresses and the sun gets higher in the sky you won’t find them feeding during the day unless there is tide and a lot of bait or a weather pattern to entice them into activity.  You may find them holding on structure and be able to catch them but its pretty certain that there is something in the way of food down there to keep them interested.  If the fish are holding on structure, you have to present your offering over that structure, if you are off by 50′ there is no joy.   If you are trolling and mark and catch fish, turn around and keep going over the spot until you stop catching.  Don’t go trolling away unless your damn sure there is something better to head to.  And don’t spend too much time trolling around a spot and not catching.

Tides and currents.  Bass are ambush predators and a current will provide them with the opportunnity to lay in wait for a small creature to be swept past their position so they can gobble it up.  It is the current generated by the tides you need to pay atention to.  An example of this would be the Block Island North reef.  The currents there provide areas which bass like to use as ambush points, and some of these are places to troll wireline.

Trolling Speed.  Never troll at the same speed all the time if it isn’t working.  Often fish will follow your offering and are waiting for that trigger that tells them that their prey has detected them.  Speed up, slow down, change speeds, speed up during your turns.  You will be surprised how many times you hook up fish immediately or very soon after a speed change.  Sometimes only going at a particular slow speed works, or a particularly fast speed.  The most important thing to do is pay attention to what is going on when you hook up. You need to notice if it is always during a speed change, only when you go fast, only when you go very slow, etc.  If you speed up and turn, and the inside line picks up a fish, you may not have enough line out since the inside line will usually go deeper, the outside line shallower.

   Current can be used to control your speed.  If you want to go very slow, troll directly into the current.   There is one area I fish trolling to the same spot and slowing down as the boat gets near it, going into the current.  At times we are barely moving forward, and when I reach the spot on my GPS one or both rods will go down with fish on (tide is very important in this case.)  There are times when you will catch most of your fish only trolling in one direction in relation to the current.  Pay attention to what is happening when you hook up.

Trolling Depth.  This is extremely important.  Your depth finder can mark a million fish below 30′ but if your trolled rig is only 20′ deep you will end up being very frustrated and catching very few fish.  Your offering must be presented in the “strike zone”,  which is the area close enough that the fish will be interested in hitting your lure.  This strike zone can be very large when fish are feeding aggressively, or very small if they are “turned off”.  

   If you see fish smashing bait on the surface, try letting out a small amount of wireline and troll around the feeding fish, not through the middle of them.  So many fisherman shut down the fishing very quickly by trolling through the middle of breaking fish.  It is the most idiotic thing they can do.  You need to have the lure down near the bottom if you are targeting Bass that aren’t feeding aggressively near the surface.  If you are in water under 30′ deep, it is only necessary to be within 5′ of the bottom unless the fish are very sluggish.  In deeper water. light penetration becomes an issue and it is necessary to get as close to the bottom as you can without dragging.

   The rule of thumb is to let out 10 feet of wire for every 1′ of depth.  This is varied by boat speed and the weight of your lure.  Naturally, going slower will cause the rig to go deeper and faste will cause it to run shallower.   Remember, if you aren’t dragging bottom once in a while, you’re trolling too shallow.

Matching the Hatch.  You need to troll an offering which is representative of what the fish are feeding on.  If there are hordes of sand eels then you shouldn’t be trolling 6″ soft plastic shads.  Bass most often eat bunker, sand eels, and squid.  Lures that represent these species are ones you should have available to you.  If you catch a keeper, open up its stomach and see what it has been feeding on.  

Sport Fishing.   This is supposed to be a sport.  Keeping the boat in gear and continuing to troll after you have hooked up a fish is winching, not fishing.  I have seen so many bass skipping across the surface of the water as they are being reeled up, it’s absolutely ridiculous.  You should be fighting the fish and not the boat.  Where is the fun in that?  So the advice is take the boat out of gear after you hook up.

By following the guidelines presented here the reward will be more success for your fishing trips.  The last and most important piece of advice when your not catching is this: remember to ask yourself: “what do I need to change?”  Are you going too fast, using the wrong rig, trolling too shallow, etc.  Watch what other people are doing, it may give you a clue.  Catch ‘em up!



How To Go Trolling For Crappie

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
trolling depths
Daniel Eggertsen asked:


Crappie fishing is a great sport enjoyed by anglers of all ages and skill levels. One of the best methods to use when fishing for crappie is trolling.

This is an easy technique to use when crappie fishing and it is a very effective one when done correctly. So, how do you go trolling for crappie if you want to be successful and return home with a catch you can be proud of?

The first step is to know a little bit about the crappie such as, where they are normally found during each season and what they feed on. For instance, during the spring you can usually find the crappie moving closer to shore where they can be found in water less than five feet deep.

In the heat of the summer they will be out deeper in the water and they will be a little harder to locate. In the fall they will be moving back to shallow water and in the winter months they are the least active.

One reason that trolling is so popular is because it is one of the fastest and easiest ways for you to locate and reel in the crappie. It is a great way to catch several fish at once and have lots of fun in the process.

Trolling for crappie is a fairly easy method of fishing that needs a few accessories to get started. Once you have everything you need you are ready to start reeling in the crappie.

What You Will Need for Trolling

Trolling requires having a boat that is equipped with a trolling motor, fishing rods and holders. Plus you will need all the accessories such as tackle and bait as well. The trolling motor is extremely important because it will keep you moving at the same slow speed while trolling for crappie.

You need a motor that will move the boat around very slowly because the slower you move the better your fishing will be.

Trolling requires having several fishing rods with holders located on the side of the boat. They should be placed about two to three feet apart. It is suggested that you use different bait on each line for the best results.

This will help you determine which bait is attracting the crappie the most. When you are trying to decide which bait to use, most anglers agree that minnows are the best if you are going to use live bait. This is because it is one of their favorite meals that always seem to get their attention. Jigs are the best alternative to live bait and you have a wide selection of these to choose from.

The jigs should be set up with different weights on each line so that you can fish at a variety of different depths at the same time. This will allow you to cover more ground and determine the depth of the crappie much faster than if you were fishing just one depth.

Don’t hesitate to experiment with different combinations of colors and sizes until you find one that seems to be getting the results you are hoping for. Normally, the best colors to use are yellow, chartreuse, green, blue and black.



Secrets To Trolling For Walleye

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
trolling depths
Daniel Eggertsen asked:


Anyone that has fished for walleye will tell you that trolling for walleye is a great way of catching the tasty fish. These individuals will also tell you it is a great way to get more than just a few.

Actually, by trolling it allows an individual to cover a larger area and have your bait in the water for a longer period of time, as being compared to simply cast into the water. Amazingly, walleye love to chase their food. So, in all fairness trolling at a slow speed will essentially attract a walleye faster than if an individual was continuously casting bait into the water. It is however important to know that going more than around three miles per hour will not catch walleye. The slower speed is what will catch the most walleye.

Something else of importance obviously is shallow water. If you are going to go trolling for walleye in shallow water be sure that the bait you are using is within three to five feet from the bottom during the day. The bait shouldn’t be totally dragging on the bottom for several reasons, and the biggest reason is that it will get snagged. Another factor about dragging on the bottom is that the bait will actually take on a certain amount of debris. This will make it hard for the walleye to see or even be something the walleye would want to eat.

If this is the case, an individual won’t have much luck at trolling for walleye because they simply won’t see the bait, or the snagging of the bait will have the individual constantly stopping to attach more bait in order to continue trolling for the walleye.

Good trolling fish anglers that go after walleye all know that it’s also important to check the bait quite a bit to make sure it is free of debris and other material.

And now, if an individual has the opportunity to be trolling for walleye in deeper water the adventure gets better. The idea or best strategy for this is finding the best water depth that is appealing to the walleye and where they are essentially hanging out. If for some reason after a period of time there is no bite or no action, then simply set the bait to another depth and see if this works better. If an individual is using more than one reel it is important to set the rod and reels a bit away from one another so as neither will get snagged on the other.

Another strategy that fish anglers use for trolling for walleye is basically a home method called board planing. This allows the reels to stay a certain distance away from each other, and then the problem of the reels or line being snagged is taken care of.

Many areas and locations have reasonable resources for trolling for walleye and there are many fishing anglers that do just that. The over all success rates for trolling for walleye as compared to fishing from the shore is much greater.



Trolling Fly Lines

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
trolling depths
Craig Mumby asked:


This under rated trolling technique may be one of the most successful…

By Craig Mumby

If there is one technique that not many people consider when heading to the lake it’s trolling fly lines and it can produce some of the best fishing imaginable. This technique hasn’t had a real chance to prove itself as fly fishermen don’t do it often because a lot of the joy comes from casting and using finesse to persuade the fish to bite. If they’re going to troll why not just break out the spinning or bait-casting gear. On the other side of the coin, non-fly fishermen tend to be intimidated by fly rods and think that it’s both expensive and difficult to learn. Truth be told you can get a fly rod for a very reasonable price these days and it’s actually fairly simple to pick up the basics with minimal practice. More expensive gear and different casting techniques comes with experience, but for this technique you don’t need either. You don’t even need to know how to cast!

There are a wide variety of fish you can target with this method. It is a great technique for all trout species, even early and late season lake trout. But also bass, walleye, pike and pretty much anything else that swims in under 25ft. of water can be fished this way. For me, this is the single most consistent method for catching still water trout.



Go get yourself a fly rod and as I said it doesn’t have to be an expensive outfit though there are certain advantages to things like multiplier, or large arbour reels, as the retrieve ratio is greater and you will be able to gain line quicker on a fish running toward the boat. A standard 9 ft. rod is perfect; anywhere from a 5 weight to a 7 weight are ideal in most situations, but if you’re looking for bigger fish go with a heavier weight; lighter for smaller fish. Personally I like to use a 7 weight because it has enough backbone to work a variety of baits. There is a wide variety of line on the market and the body of water you’re fishing should dictate what “type” to use. There are six types of full sink line: type 1 – type 6. Type 1 runs the shallowest and type 6 the deepest. I use type 6 almost exclusively as it can get down faster and you can effectively fish around the 18 – 22 ft range with a lot of baits. An electric motor and fish finder are certainly advantageous as trout can be easily spooked and it can be crucial to know your depth so you can work your lines along the bottom structure properly. Bring along a good selection of flies such as shrimp and streamer patterns. It’s always a good idea to check with the local tackle shops to see what’s working. Lures like flatfish, quikfish, hot shots and rapalas are excellent choices to bring as long as they don’t have much dive to them and have high action while trolling dead slow. Pick up some fluorocarbon leader material. Leaders in the 9 – 12 ft range are best. I usually use Berkley Vanish and if I’m using something other than a fly, which I usually do, always tie a swivel into the leader or you will have quite the mess on your hands.

“Ripping” flies is one of the most consistent techniques for picking up active fish. Make a nice long fluorocarbon leader, no need for a swivel down to your fly, all on your type 6 sinking line. Don’t be afraid to use big flies! My best fly has always been a double shrimp pattern on a #2 hook. The key to ripping is exactly what it sounds like. Let your line out until the backing, keeping the trolling speed a little higher than what you might be used to and repetitively jerk the rod as hard as you can. The more power the better! This is another benefit of the heavier 7 weight rod; it makes this motion a lot easier on the arms. Essentially, this will make your fly almost swim through the water like a jerk bait and you get a lot of impulse strikes.

If you want to switch to hardware make sure you check the action of your lure at the side of the boat before you lower your line so you know how to gauge the speed for your troll. For example, flatfish are designed to have a lot of action at a very slow rate of speed, so by trolling dead slow you achieve the perfect action which you will notice on your rod tip, and be able to get deeper than lures that require faster action. So, when you want to get to some deeper fish with your type 6 line troll dead slow with a flatfish, kwikfish, or hot shots and you can effectively fish close to the 20 ft mark.

Getting used to the way the lines follow the boat is very important if you want to work an area properly. Let your line out to the backing if you’re fishing deeper than 12 – 15 ft. Fly lines have much greater water resistance than standard line and due to the thicker diameter it won’t cut the water like monofilament. For example, when you make a fairly sharp turn with fly line it will swing more with your turn and follow the path of the boat instead of cut across water and thus stalling your lure. This allows you to work your bait more effectively. When you get used to fishing this way you can estimate your depth and where behind the boat your fly, or lure, is running to within a few feet. Boat control is absolutely crucial when working deeper structure and you can actually work the lines to ride right up a drop off or sink down, whatever the case may be. So, if you’re trolling in 20’ feet of water and you see that the bottom is rising, all you have to do is gradually speed up so your line is elevated by water resistance caused by the speed of the boat. The reverse is also true when you come to a drop off; slow right down and let the line sink with the bottom and speed back up when your line is deep enough. This will put more fish in your boat and you’ll find a lot fun out of concentrating on the bottom and trying to work it properly. Some of my bigger fish have been caught while stalling on a drop off to let the lines sink, then as soon as you kick into gear hold on!

Even though this is not a popular technique it is not due to its lack of productivity. The only reason is that people never think to do it. There are so many different situations where you can apply this technique. I’ve had enormous success fishing for bass, walleye and pike with crankbaits and flies. Another great place to give this a shot is salmon fishing on the west coast. I’ve done very well fishing for coho, pink and sockeye salmon on a third rod out the back in between my downriggers. One of the biggest things to learn in fishing is to be versatile if you want to be consistently successful. Give this technique a shot and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.



Five Things You Absolutely Must Have in Your Sea Fishing Tackle Box

Sunday, May 17th, 2009
sea fishing
ian nicol asked:


Your sea fishing tackle box is not just a box that holds your hooks, baits and lures. There are other important items that your tackle box should hold.

An essential piece of equipment that you must always have with you whenever you go out to the sea and fish is your sea fishing tackle box. Your sea fishing tackle box is the container in which you should store your fishing hooks, your baits and lures, and all the other small items that form part of your fishing gear.

Why is your sea fishing tackle box so important for your fishing trips? For one, it keeps all your equipment in one place, making it easier for you to find things whenever you need them. For another, a good tackle box will help protect your gear. Also, keeping all your gear in your tackle box will help prevent accidents stemming from misplaced gear.

But it is not just hooks, baits and lures that your sea fishing tackle box should contain. It should also contain tools that will help you maintain your gear, as well as other things that may be handy in case of emergencies. Perhaps the five most important things that your sea fishing tackle box should have are the following:

1. A utility knife. There are so many uses for a utility knife in any fishing trip. They can be used to cut lines, to clean out your catch, slice up bait or even open food cans. For your fishing trips, you can get a stainless steel knife that is sharp and rust-proof. You can also bring a Swiss Army knife, like the ones made famous by MacGyver.

2. A small file. A good file is handy for keeping your knife sharp, and you would always want to work with a sharp knife. You would also need to work with sharp fishing hooks, so you can use your file on them. As an alternative to a file, you can get yourself a Swiss Army knife that has a built-in file, a whetstone, or even a fingernail cutter that has a file.

3. Thin-nosed pliers. Thin-nosed pliers are also called needlenoses. A pair of pliers is a versatile and handy tool to have on a fishing trip. It can cut wires and pry hooks out of the fish’s mouth. You can even use it as a makeshift hammer.

4. Sunscreen. This is an absolute must when you go on a fishing trip. When you are fishing out there at sea, it is highly likely that you would be out in the sun for most of the day. You would need to protect your skin from UV exposure, and for that, you would need sunscreen.

5. A small first aid bag. If you do not have a separate first aid kit all ready, you should have a small pouch in your sea fishing tackle box. It should contain some aspirin, antacids, loperamides, rubbing alcohol or antiseptic, cotton balls and bandage.

Your sea fishing tackle box is more than just a compartmented box for storing your hooks, baits and lures. All the small equipment that you would need to add more convenience to your fishing trip should be in your sea fishing tackle box.