Every angler has their sights set on a successful day of fishing, but it’s more than just throwing some bait on a line and hoping for the best. There are different techniques used for every type of fishing, whether it’s inshore or offshore. As part one of our series on fishing techniques, let’s take a closer look at one of the most popular ways to reel in some nice game – trolling.
As defined, 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 when fishing from a jetty. Trolling is used to catch pelagic fish (fish that live in the pelagic zone of the ocean or a lake, away from the bottom and the shore) such as salmon, tuna, marlin, mackerel, and kingfish.
Trolling from a moving boat involves moving slowly through the water. Multiple lines are often used with the help of outriggers (poles that help spread the lines more widely and reduce tangling) and downriggers (devices that keep the lures or baits trailing at a desired depth). Other devices used to aid in trolling include paravanes (typically used in commercial fishing, devices that place the lure or bait at designated depth and positions), spreaders (allow multiple baited hooks or lures to be trolled from a single line), and planer boards (devices designed to spread fishing lures away from the fishing vessel to allow for multiple trolling lines).
Baits & Lures
The most effective trolling baits and lures have the visual ability to attract fish and intrigue them with movement and at times sounds made in the water. Most trolling lures are designed to replicate a dying, injured, or fast moving fish. Here are some of the more popular options:
Surface Lures: Also known as top water lures, they are made to resemble prey that is on top of the water. Noisy little suckers, they make a popping sound from a “concave-cut head”, a burbling sound from “side fins”, or a buzzing commotion from one of several propellers.
Plugs or Crankbaits: Shaped like a fish, they troll through the water while making various movements caused by instability due to a scoop under their heads.
Swimbait: These lures are a minnow-like soft plastic bait that is reeled like a plug.
Spoon Lures: Shaped like the inside of a spoon, these lures flash in the light while randomly wobbling or darting due to their shape.
Spinnerbait: These lures are pieces of wire bent at a 60 degree angle with a hook on the lower end and a flashy spinner mechanism on the upper end.
Successful trolling techniques tend to be at speeds up to 9 knots, though speeds up to 15 knots can used, especially when boats are travelling to difference fishing areas. There are several factors that lead to fishing success with trolling – the speed at which the lure is pulled through the water, weather conditions, time of the year, and type of boat. Optimum trolling speed varies with different species of fish.
If all of this sounds overwhelming, no worries! While on one of our chartered fishing trips in Venice, Louisiana, we will show you the ropes and the proper fishing techniques applied to each specific fish type. For more information, give us a call at 504-909-8862.