Man Holding Fish

SIX SIMPLE TROLLING TIPS

Your trolling will be more effective if you follow these six simple tips.

TIP 1: HOLD YOUR ROD

The very first tip is to always hold your rod while trolling. That way, it’s easy to feel how your lure is swimming and you will quickly detect if it picks up any weed, stops swimming correctly or crosses over another line. Tangles are always much easier to deal with if detected early. Holding your rod will also give you instant feedback when your lure is hitting the bottom in shallow water or when a fish strikes but doesn’t hook up. All this vital information can go undetected if your rod is simply left sitting in a rod holder.

The final advantage is that you can work your lure to give it extra action. Simply by flicking the rod tip back and forth while you troll, you can vary the lures’ speed and action. This can be just what’s needed to trigger a strike from a following fish.

TIP 2: TUNE YOUR LURES

There’s nothing more annoying than a lure that doesn’t swim straight! The simple fact is that all hard-bodied lures need to be tuned to run correctly.

This is why some cheap lures won’t swim properly. It’s simply because the manufacturer hasn’t tuned them before they leave the factory. Most of the better quality lures are ‘tank tested’ and swim straight right out of the packet but even these will eventually need retuning after hooking a fish or getting snagged.

To tune a lure, simply bend the towing eyelet gently in the direction you want it to swim. For example, if your lure tracks off to the right side of the boat when trolled, give the eyelet a tiny bend to the left. Gently does it as even a slight change can have dramatic effects. A good pair of pliers is the best tool for this job.

TIP 3: MATCH YOUR TROLLING SPEED TO YOUR TARGET SPECIES AND LURES

A good way to judge the right trolling speed is to think about how fast the fish you are chasing normally swims. Fast species like Mackerel, Tailor and Salmon are usually more responsive to a fast paced retrieve. Freshwater species like Cod and Yellowbelly generally move at a much more sedate pace, so you should slow down your troll speed to match.

The other important point is to pick lures that match the speed you want to troll. As a general rule of thumb, the tighter the action of the lures (the less side to side wobble), the faster it will go. Conversely, lures with a wide, flip flopping action suit slow troll speeds.

TIP 4: TROLL COMPATIBLE LURE

When trolling multiple lines behind the boat, you need to make sure your lures are compatible. That is, they both have to work effectively at approximately the same speed. Otherwise, one lure will be swimming correctly but the other won’t. Refer to tip three above to help pick the right lure for the species you want to target.

TIP 5: KNOW HOW DEEP YOUR LURES DIVE

Experienced trollers know exactly how deep each of their lures dives. That way, you can minimize snags by staying in water which is deep enough to stop your lure hitting the bottom. For bottom dwelling species, you can also use this knowledge to select a lure which will swim along just above the bottom, so that it spends more time in the strike range. Doing so generally sees your strike rate skyrocket.

TIP 6: USE YOUR SOUNDER FOR SUCCESS

Modern electronics have revolutionized fishing in so many ways, but none more so than trolling. When trolling your sounder becomes your eyes under water so pay close attention to what it’s telling you.

If you regularly watch the screen, you will quickly learn what fish look like, and how schools of baitfish are represented. Seeing fish on the sounder and then catching them is a great way to build confidence in your trolling technique and is a sure fire way to become more successful.

SOME EXTRAS TO KEEP IN MIND

Tuna swim fast and like fast trolling speeds. Six to eight knots is a good starting point, while Flathead spend most of their time on or near the bottom. You will want to select a lure which will get close enough for them to grab it and you are on your way to success.

 


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Dave Magner
magner66@tpg.com.au

Dave is a keen and experienced lure and fly angler who has travelled and fished right across Australia and New Zealand. He particularly enjoys tournament bass fishing, chasing freshwater species from his kayak and bluewater pelagics from his boat.