A fan asked me for some trolling tips the other day, so I decided to write up 5 tips and share them with everybody. Hope they help you catch more fish!
TIP #1: MIX UP THOSE BAITS
Let’s say you’re starting the day running three trolling lines. Rig three completely different baits. Mix up the bait styles (plugs, spoons, spinners, etc.), select different colors, profiles, degrees of vibration, etc. If you hit some fish and they keeping popping one of those baits while leaving the others alone, then you’ve determined some bait preferences for those fish on that day. Then switch the "dud" baits over to the colors and styles that are producing - until every rod is getting the same level of action.
TIP #2 - NON–LINEAR TROLLING
Trolling can be the best way to cover water and intercept active fish. You’ll see a lot of guys get on a depth and troll in straight lines all day long. Mix it up a little and work S-curves into your trolling pattern. This changes not only the line of your baits but also their speed. They’ll burst on the outside of the S-curve and lag on the inside turn, and that change in speed can trigger strikes that wouldn’t happen on a straight run.
TIP #3: FIND FORAGE
Fish are driven by hunger. Simply put: where there is forage, there are fish. This is where your sonar unit is so critical. As you cruise searching for active fish, look for abundant pods of baitfish on your sonar unit and pay special attention to the depth of the forage and their relation to sub-surface structure, bottom density, the thermocline, etc. Stay with the bait, monitor their movements and the fish won’t be far away.
TIP #4: PRE-SET YOUR DRAG
Before you put a bait in the water, test the drag on each and every reel. Make sure they're set firm. Many a fish has won its freedom by stripping drag from a reel that’s set too light. And if you give ‘em a moment of slack, they can come unbuttoned. So pre-set those drags firm to keep you in control of each fight. If you’re using spinning reels, you can always resort to backreeling off the anti-reverse if you have to some fast boat-side runs.
TIP #5: MAKE GREAT BAITS BETTER
Everyone has their go-to trolling baits. To add even more fish-attracting realism to your proven lures, add some accents of color with UV-reflective paint. Fish can see in the UV spectrum, and UV-reflective paint sends out a beacon to their specialized eyes (even though it just looks like regular paint to our human eyes). I use paint called “Fish Vision” which is available online.
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