Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water. This may be behind a moving boat, or by slowly winding the line in when fishing from a static position, or even sweeping the line from side-to-side, e.g. when fishing from a jetty. Trolling is used to catch pelagic fish such as salmon, mackerel and kingfish.
We are listing here some of the more common methods of trolling.
Trolling shallow and slow usually means a live bait of some type moving as slowly as your engine will allow, often moving just enough to keep the bait behind the boat.
Live baits can be trolled on a free line behind the boat or on a downrigger. For boats whose engines idle faster than the desired trolling speed, drift bags tied to the stern can slow the boat dramatically.
However, when a fish is hooked, make sure to pull the bag or bags into the boat to avoid tangled lines and lost fish!
One specialized live bait method that can be considered trolling is kite fishing. While not technically trolling in the true sense, it does involve keeping the boat in motion enough to keep the kite properly positioned behind the boat.Kite fishing requires a special rod from which the kite is flown.
A clip up the kite line holds the line from the actual fishing rod and the live bait is down on the surface under the kite. When a fish strikes, the fishing line is pulled from the kite and the fight is on! The kite acts like an outrigger in the sky, releasing the fishing line when the bait is taken.
The key to successful kite fishing is maneuvering the boat and the kite so that the live bait, hooked in the back under the dorsal fin, is in and out of the water, swimming right on the surface. Wind gusts and wave action will take the bait just out of the water, and the splashing and commotion made by the bait to get back under the water is a dinner bell!
Trolling well under the surface can be accomplished in several ways. Some artificial lures are designed to dig down and run deep – sometimes as deep as thirty feet unassisted by weights. Wire line, with specialized fishing tackle, can take baits down in the water column. Perhaps the easiest and most common method of getting a bait down is a downrigger.
Rigged natural baits need to run true – meaning that they should not spin under the water when trolled. Spinning is unnatural and will actually prevent a fish from striking. So, paying particular attention to your bait and the hook placement can mean the difference between fish and no fish.
The Last Word
Trolling can be as complicated or as easy as you want to make it. Remember the basics, and keep it simple and you will have great success. Trolling covers more fishing area in a shorter time than any other method. It also generally means larger fish, so prepare accordingly. Put some lines out, set a course, and sit back and relax. Leave the rest to the fish following your baits!
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