What Is Trolling Fishing? A Beginner’s Guide to Catching Big Fish

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Trolling fishing is a popular and exciting way to catch big fish. Unlike other forms of fishing, trolling requires the use of a moving boat to drag bait or lures through the water in the hopes of enticing fish to bite. This method can be used in both freshwater and saltwater environments, making it accessible to a wide range of anglers.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about trolling fishing – from the equipment you’ll need to the strategies that work best. Whether you’re new to fishing altogether or just looking to try something different, trolling is an effective way to catch large gamefish such as salmon, trout, walleye, and more.

“Trolling allows anglers to cover a lot of ground quickly, which makes it ideal for targeting fish in open water or along coastlines. With a bit of knowledge and practice, anyone can master the art of trolling.”

Join us as we dive into the world of trolling fishing and discover how it can help you reel in your biggest catch yet. Throughout this guide, we’ll provide helpful tips and tricks for success, including selecting the right gear, setting up your rig, and reading the water for the best results. So let’s get started!

The Basics of Trolling Fishing

What is Trolling Fishing?

Trolling fishing is a type of fishing that involves dragging baited lines through the water behind a moving boat. The boat moves slowly enough to allow the baited line or lure to attract fish while being pulled along by the vessel.

This method of fishing is popular among recreational and commercial fishermen alike because it enables them to cover large stretches of open water quickly, allowing for maximum exposure to potential catches.

“Trolling allows me to cover more ground in less time, which means I have a better chance of catching something worth keeping.” -Mark, experienced troll fisherman

The Advantages of Trolling Fishing

One of the main advantages of trolling fishing is its ability to efficiently cover large areas of water. With traditional fishing methods such as still-fishing or casting, there is limited coverage area. But with trolling, anglers can take advantage of those hard-to-reach, fertile waters that are lurking below the surface of their favourite lake or stream.

Using trolling gear also gives anglers more control over the depth at which their lures or baits are presented to the fish. By adjusting the length of the line between the boat and the baited hook, anglers can alter the angle of descent, making their presentations more effective based on the depth and species they’re targeting.

“I appreciate the precision I can achieve when trolling. It takes some skill and patience but it’s always satisfying when you land one!” -Jill, avid angler and troller

Another benefit of this fishing technique is its versatility. Anglers can use a wide variety of rigs and lures adapted to different species, depths, and conditions. By tailoring their setups to the particular species they’re targeting, anglers can achieve a higher success rate when trolling.

Moreover, unlike other fishing methods where the fisherman has to be within sight of his or her bait at all times and reshuffle it constantly, with trolling, the catch often comes to you. This leaves the angler free to pay more attention to their surroundings, track weather patterns or even just relax and take in the scenery around them.

Trolling is an effective and dynamic method for catching fish across many different freshwater and saltwater environments. Whether done professionally or for leisure, its versatility allows for countless variations that ultimately depend on the preferences, skills and targets of individual anglers.

The Best Trolling Techniques for Different Types of Fish

Trolling fishing is a popular method used by anglers to catch different types of fish. It involves dragging lures or bait behind a moving boat in the water, enticing fish to bite. Knowing the best trolling techniques for specific fish can increase your chances of success.

Trolling for Trout

Trout are known to be cautious and selective when feeding, which means that you need to use the right bait and technique to get their attention. One of the best methods for trolling trout is to use small lures that resemble their natural prey like minnows or insect imitations. You can also try using spinners or spoons with bright colors to attract them.

Another important factor to consider is the depth at which you are trolling. Trout tend to stay closer to the surface, so it’s recommended to keep your bait around 10-20 feet deep unless you know they are deeper in the water. Finally, make sure to vary your speed as you troll, slowing down and speeding up intermittently until you find the sweet spot.

“When trolling for trout, always keep an eye on your line. A twitch or sudden stop could signal a bite.” -Fishbrain app

Trolling for Walleye

Walleye are predatory fish that tend to hang out near ledges, drop-offs, and other underwater structures where they can easily ambush their prey. When trolling for walleye, it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings and look for areas that have plenty of baitfish.

A good tactic for catching walleye is to use a bottom-bouncing rig, which involves dragging a weight along the bottom with a spinner or live bait attached above it. This technique is effective at triggering an aggressive response from the walleye and provoking them to strike.

“When trolling for walleye, it’s crucial to keep your bait moving slowly and steadily along the bottom to mimic their natural prey.” -In-Fisherman

Trolling for Marlin

Marlins are one of the biggest game fish that you can catch while trolling. They are known for being fast swimmers and putting up a strong fight when hooked. To increase your chances of catching a marlin, you need to have the right setup and technique.

Firstly, it’s recommended to use a heavy-duty rod with a high-quality reel and line capable of handling a big catch. You’ll also want to use large bait like live bonito or squid spreaders to attract their attention.

When trolling for marlin, the best tactic is to cover as much ground as possible by using multiple trolling lines at different depths and angles behind your boat. This will help increase your chances of getting a bite from this elusive fish.

“Trolling for marlin requires patience, preparation, and persistence. But the satisfaction of landing one of these giants makes it all worth it.” -Sportfishing Magazine
  • To sum up:
  • The best trolling techniques vary depending on the type of fish you’re trying to catch.
  • When trolling for trout, use small lures and vary your speed and depth until you find the sweet spot.
  • For walleye, focus on using bottom-bouncing rigs near underwater structures where they are known to hang out.
  • Trolling for marlin requires a heavy-duty setup with multiple lines set at different depths and big bait to attract their attention.

By understanding the behaviors and preferences of different fish species, you can tailor your trolling techniques to increase your chances of success. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced angler, trolling fishing is an exciting way to explore bodies of water and catch some impressive fish.

Essential Equipment for Trolling Fishing

Rods and Reels

Trolling is a type of fishing where you cast your line out into the water and slowly drag it through to attract fish. The big draw with this technique is that it allows fishermen to cover a much larger area than other methods, which increases their chances of catching something. One essential tool when trolling is a quality rod and reel.

When selecting a rod for trolling, you want one that’s long enough to make it easier to extend behind your boat. You also want one that has medium-heavy power and fast action so that you can adequately detect any bites or movements from the fish. Ideally, you should pick a rod with an EVA grip handle that feels comfortable in your hand, especially given that you may be holding onto it for hours while on the water. Also look at features like guides made of aluminum oxide rather than stainless steel, for better heat dissipation and less wear on your line during long battles with fish.

The ideal reel should reel in large amounts of line quickly while being strong and having a good capacity. It’s best to use a baitcasting reel since they allow for more control over the wire and have an excellent tension system for more accuracy. Look for reels with carbon-fiber drag systems that reduce friction, making them smoother and quieter, even under heavy loads.

Lines and Leaders

Picking the right type of line can mean the difference between landing or losing a great catch. Using monofilament line between 15 and 50 pounds test is often ideal since it provides adequate strength without sacrificing flexibility and control. Braided line is another option that some anglers prefer because it has greater sensitivity and significantly less stretch compared with mono lines. However, it doesn’t do well in terms of abrasion resistance, so it’s essential to use a fluorocarbon leader with braided lines since they do well in saltwater and are almost entirely invisible underwater.

Leaders can be made of wire or heavy mono. Wire leaders provide excellent protection against the sharp teeth of many fish, including kingfish and mackerel. Leaders that feature light spinning tackle may use monofilament as it provides better knot strength than wire. It is recommended that you have multiple leaders on hand because predators can bite through the material effectively, compromising your line.

Downriggers and Planers

If you don’t have downriggers and planers to pull your lines out deep, you’re essentially just dragging your bait around the surface of the water without any variation. A downrigger is an extendable arm attached to your boat that holds your fishing line underwater at a specified depth. The goal is to get your bait seen by the target fish at the right level in the water column. Planers are another tool used to help present your lure or bait deeper into the waters. Under optimal conditions when adding weight alone isn’t sufficient to cast your lures far enough into the watery depths, planer boards assist baits towards their maximum distance reach allowing them to sink further underlines which increases your chances of making contact with some reward deserving potential catch.

“Planer board trolling on Midwestern lakes like Lake Michigan requires specialized knowledge about structure and freshwater currents.” -Steve Quinlan

The planer attaches to the line between the reel and rod, which helps it move away from the boat and into deeper pockets where fish hiding below can act upon your lure. Both tools allow for precision and accuracy both in getting your hook to the perfect location and keeping the line there while trolling through the water.

Knowing what is trolling fishing requires an arsenal of essential gear. This includes a quality rod and reel, the best line for your purpose; downriggers and planers. Knowing how to use this gear properly lets you concentrate on catching fish rich in variety more readily.

How to Choose the Right Lures for Trolling

Matching the Hatch

One of the most important things to consider when choosing lures for trolling is matching them to the local prey species. This process is known as “matching the hatch.” You want your lure to mimic the size, shape, and color of the baitfish that the game fish in your area are feeding on.

For example, if you’re fishing for salmon in an area where they are feeding heavily on small smelt, a silver-colored spoon or plug might be effective. If the local trout population is primarily eating aquatic insects like mayflies or caddisflies, then a fly pattern that imitates those bugs would work better.

“When it comes to matching the hatch, I always pay attention to the color and shape of the baitfish in the area first. Then I choose a lure that closely resembles those features. It’s amazing how much difference this can make!” -Professional angler, Kevin VanDam

Color and Size Considerations

In addition to matching the hatch, you also need to consider the size and color of your lure. As a general rule, larger lures are more effective at attracting bigger fish while smaller lures tend to work better for smaller fish. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so it’s always best to experiment with different sizes until you find what works best for your target species.

Color is another critical factor to consider when choosing lures. Brightly colored lures in shades of red, orange, and chartreuse tend to attract fish in murky or stained water. In clear waters, natural colors such as greens, browns, and grays will often work better. The key is to match the conditions you’ll be fishing in to the color of your lure.

“Color can make a big difference when it comes to trolling lures. I always pack a variety of colors in my tackle box so that I’m prepared no matter what conditions I run into on the water.” -Professional angler, Roland Martin

Using Divers and Flashers

In addition to selecting the right lure, you can also use various accessories to improve your chances of catching fish while trolling. One of the most effective is a diver. These devices let you attach your lure to a separate line that runs below the surface. When trolled at an appropriate speed, the diver will send your lure diving deeper into the water column where game fish are often found.

Another accessory worth considering is a flasher. These are reflective panels or blades that create a highly visible flash in the water as they spin around. This action mimics the fluttering, flashing movement of live baitfish, making them extremely effective for attracting predatory fish like salmon, tuna, and billfish. Using a flasher ahead of your lure helps draw attention to it as it moves through the water.

“Using divers and flashers is one way of getting your lures down deep enough to catch big game fish like salmon, trout, and steelhead. Experiment with different types of divers and see which ones work best under different conditions.” -Outdoor writer, John Eichelsheim

Using Live Bait

If all else fails, utilizing live bait can often be the best option. While it may take a bit more time and effort to get set up properly, many anglers swear by using live bait when trolling. Some common options include minnows, worms, and leeches. If you’re after larger game fish, you may want to use live bait like herring or anchovies.

When using live bait, it’s essential to keep them lively as this will help attract fish. You can do this by keeping the bait in a livewell or attaching an aerator to your bait bucket. Additionally, it’s important to present your live bait in a manner that looks natural. This means avoiding excessive weight and allowing the baitfish enough freedom of movement to appear convincing as prey.

“Live bait is my go-to option when trolling for walleye, pike, and other game fish. I find that it often outperforms artificial lures in terms of hookups and numbers.” -Professional angler, Al Lindner
In conclusion, choosing the right lures for trolling involves a combination of factors including matching the hatch, selecting appropriate colors and sizes, and utilizing any accessories like divers and flashers. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to switch to live bait and present it naturally to entice even the most stubborn fish. Remember to experiment with different setups until you find what works best in your local waters. Happy fishing!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Trolling Fishing

Using the Wrong Speed

Speed is one of the most important factors when it comes to trolling fishing. Different types of fish will respond differently to certain speeds, so it’s crucial that you find the right speed for the specific type of fish you are trying to catch. If you’re not sure what speed to use, try starting with a slow and steady pace and gradually increasing your speed until you get bites. Keep in mind that different lures also require different speeds, so be mindful of what lure you’re using and adjust your speed accordingly.

“Trolling speeds can vary from as low as 1 mph to as high as 10mph depending on lure depth, sea conditions, target species.” -Fisheries Supply Co.

On the other hand, going too fast or too slow can also be detrimental to your success. Going too fast can scare off fish and cause them to swim away, while going too slow can make your lure less attractive and ineffective at catching anything. It’s all about finding that sweet spot that works best for your specific circumstances.

Not Paying Attention to Water Temperature

The temperature of the water can have a significant impact on how effective your trolling fishing efforts are. Certain fish prefer colder water, while others thrive in warmer temperatures. Knowing which fish you’re targeting and what their preferred water temperature is can greatly increase your chances of success.

“Water temperature regulation has always been an essential factor in fishing because the water temperature dictates everything – where fish go, how active they will be, and even if they will bite.” -Yakima Bait Company

If you’re fishing in cold water, using larger and brighter lures can help attract fish who are feeling more sluggish due to the temperature. Conversely, using smaller lures and diving deeper in warmer water can help you catch more active fish who are looking for a good meal.

Not Changing Lures Often Enough

One of the most common mistakes made by those new to trolling fishing is not changing their lures often enough. Fish can quickly become uninterested in a certain lure after seeing it repeatedly, so switching things up every now and then can keep them intrigued and more likely to bite.

“It’s easy to fall into the trap of sticking with what has worked in the past or feeling like your lure choice doesn’t really matter. Don’t make that mistake.” -Bass Pro Shops

You don’t need to change your lure every few minutes, but if you’ve been trolling for an extended period without any bites, try swapping out your lure for something different. Experimenting with different colors, shapes, and sizes can also be beneficial as one type of lure may work better on one day than another.

Above all, remember to have patience when trolling fishing. It’s not unusual to go through periods where you don’t catch anything, but don’t let that discourage you. Keep making small adjustments to your technique and strategy until you find something that works for you. With time and experience, you’ll be able to refine your skills and increase your chances of success!

Trolling Fishing Tips and Tricks from the Pros

If you’re new to the world of fishing, you may be curious about what trolling means. Trolling is a method of fishing where a boat moves slowly through the water with lines trailing in the wake. The goal is to catch fish that are attracted by the movement of the bait through the water.

The Importance of Patience

One of the most important things when it comes to successful trolling is patience. Fish won’t always bite immediately, but waiting for them can lead to big rewards. Experienced anglers know how to wait for the right moment to set the hook and reel in their catch.

“Patience is a virtue in all things, especially when it comes to fishing.” -Anonymous

Using Multiple Lines

Another key tactic in trolling is using multiple lines. This allows you to cover more area and attract a wider variety of fish. By positioning baits at different depths and distances behind the boat, you increase your chances of catching something. It’s important to ensure that the lines don’t get tangled, though!

“Trolling with multiple lines is like having multiple irons in the fire- you’re bound to come out with something.” -Ron Schara

Reading the Water

To understand where to fish and which techniques to use, you need to read the water. This means paying attention to the conditions- such as depth, temperature, currents, and structures- and understanding how that will impact the behavior of the fish. For example, if you notice a school of fish jumping out of the water in one spot, they could be feeding on small baitfish, making for an ideal location for trolling.

“Knowing how to read the water separates novice anglers from experienced ones.” -David Paul Williams

Using Electronics to Your Advantage

New technology has revolutionized fishing as we know it, and trolling is no exception. By using fish finders, chart plotters, and other electronics, you can determine underwater structures and identify feeding zones where fish are most likely to be found. You can also track your boat’s speed and depth to ensure optimal bait placement.

“Electronics have really changed the way we go about finding fish.” -Mark Davis

While trolling may seem like a simple method of fishing, there are many tips and tricks that can greatly improve your chances of success. Remember to have patience, use multiple lines, read the water, and leverage technology to your advantage!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of trolling fishing?

Trolling fishing involves dragging bait or lures behind a moving boat to attract and catch fish. It’s a popular method for targeting large game fish like salmon, tuna, and marlin. The speed and depth of the bait/lure can be adjusted to target specific species of fish. Trolling fishing can be done with one or multiple lines, and can be done in freshwater or saltwater.

How is trolling fishing different from other types of fishing?

Trolling fishing differs from other types of fishing because it involves moving the bait/lure through the water instead of waiting for fish to come to it. Trolling allows anglers to cover a larger area of water and target fish that are actively feeding. It’s also a more active style of fishing, as the angler must constantly watch the lines and adjust the speed and depth of the bait/lure.

What types of fish are typically caught through trolling fishing?

Trolling fishing can be used to catch a variety of fish species, including salmon, trout, walleye, pike, musky, tuna, marlin, and sailfish. The type of fish caught depends on the location, time of year, and the bait/lure being used. Some species of fish are more commonly caught through trolling fishing than others, such as salmon and tuna.

What equipment is needed for trolling fishing?

The equipment needed for trolling fishing includes a boat, fishing rods, reels, line, lures or bait, and a depth finder. The boat should be large enough to accommodate the number of anglers and the amount of gear they are using. Fishing rods and reels should be sturdy enough to handle the weight of the fish being targeted. The line should be strong and durable, and the lures or bait should be chosen based on the species of fish being targeted.

What are some tips for successful trolling fishing?

Some tips for successful trolling fishing include using the right equipment and bait/lures, adjusting the speed and depth of the bait/lure to target specific species of fish, paying attention to weather and water conditions, and staying patient. It’s also important to constantly monitor the lines for bites and to set the hook quickly when a fish is detected. Finally, always follow local fishing regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and legal fishing experience.

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