April 2008

Chris Randel

From The Bridge

Trolling Tactics For Sportfishing   

By Capt. Chris Randel

MV Indian

There are many ways to catch fish, and trolling is easy and a lot of fun once you have the basics down. It can also provide opportunity for the rest of the anglers aboard by getting the boat stopped on a school of fish that may not be detected on the fish finder or visually.

As feathers or lures are dragged behind the boat, they attract jig strikes because they mimic baitfish swimming on the surface that make easy targets for hungry predators.

Even fish that are not real hungry may attack in a reaction instinct .The best part is you can use heavy tackle, and this allows even the most novice of anglers the chance to grind in a fish of a lifetime.

A basic rod and reel set up would be a 6/0 reel filled with 80- or 100-pound test monofilament line and a short 4- to 5-foot heavy rod, preferably with roller guilds and a trolling strap that hangs around the hand rail and clips to the reel; this keeps the rod pointed straight of the stern of the boat.

Now comes the confusing part — selecting the right feather and hook size and the are literally hundreds of color combinations, sizes, shapes with plastic or metal heads. Trial and error comes into play here, so it’s a good idea to bring a good assortment along the next time you go fishing.

Here are some of the most popular name brands: Zuker,Yo-Zuri, Sumo Tackle, Seven Strand, and the most popular colors are white, purple, black/brown, white/pink, white/green, yellow and red ,green/yellow, orange/blue, and white. The list goes on and on.

A good rule of thumb is to use darker colors early and late and lighter colors mid-day. Also, try using different sizes to see what gets bit the most, and this can change from day to day.

Setting the trolling pattern is also going to be a little different from boat to boat so start with a simple V shape that has the jigs longer on the outside and shorter on the inside. If that does not produce, switch to long on the inside and short on the outer or just stagger the pattern but don’t run too far back as this may cause you to lose a fish school or spool out the reel.

Try setting the short jigs in the prop wash and the long ones in the clean bubble free water that is usually 1-1/2 to 2 boat lengths back. There is one more thing to consider before you clip in your rod: Turn on the clicker and yell “Hook up.” That’s boat speed.

The normal trolling speed is 5 to 8 knots but can be as high as 11 knots, so keep your eye on that when you start getting strikes and stay at that speed for a while.

Remember that half the fun of trolling is figuring out the right combo. Welcome to Southern California sportfishing! Contact me for more information: (619) 583-8862.