Whether saltwater or freshwater, trolling is one of the most effective techniques to catch fish. This unique technique will make your day full of fun and excitement, and the success rate is higher in saltwater fishing.
You can catch a wide range of species applying this simple way. Trolling is most effective where the underwater has fewer obstacles.
Although it is little critical to troll in saltwater, especially for catching pelagic species such as billfish, it is the most effective technique for inshore species like kingfish or bluefish and many more.
To be a successful troller, you need to know the basics well. Good preparation and good knowledge of trolling techniques is the key to a successful trip.
Essential Gear for Trolling: Best Trolling Fishing Setup for Saltwater
Using the right gears for trolling in different water columns is essential to properly saltwater fishing performance. A trolling moto with smaller boats and a small boat trolling setup is needed to have the right outcomes. Here are the tips:
Saltwater Trolling Rods
Trolling rods should be more challenging than regular bait fishing rods. Your boat should have a rod holder for a specific type of trolling for fishing for larger fishes in feet deep of water. Pick two to six rods and set them in a different place.
A 6 to 7 foot stiffer and heavier rod is enough for saltwater fishing. For freshwater fishing on a boat or normal ocean fishing, a tough rod is necessary.
If you target bigger fish, chose any conventional reels or line counter reels. Line casting reel has many features, and conventional reel requires more arrangement. So whatever you buy, it should be fas trolling reel to get a better result.
When, fishing in the ocean, you need to take care of your fishing reel, because the condition often gets tough. So, to survive that you need your reel in better shape.
Lines for Using in Saltwater
Trolling the line does not require any size. If you want to troll at a higher speed, choose monofilament. It has shock absorption ability so that you can participate in a big game with it. A braided line is also valuable. It is much stronger and less buoyant so that you can troll at deeper water.
In trolling, you can cover a wide range of ground, so using a single line is also useful. Riggers help to get a consistent bite during the game fish. For example, outriggers allow you to cast long lines and prevent tangling.
Also, you can use bait in clear water. Downrigger help to lower the bait when you are fish in deeper water. It uses a heavyweight that is connected with a clip.
A wire leader is mandatory for trolling so the pelagics won’t cut the line. Use five o 6 feet wire leader. It helps to keep it sturdy enough when the fish strikes hard.
It is an alternative to a downrigger. Planner board is a floating device that spread and lower the baits.
Lures and baits Saltwater Trolling
You can choose either live bait, dead bait, or a combination of it. When you are trying different fishing types in slower seed, use live bait to get a good result. If you are using artificial lures, then rigging is essential with the hooks for better performance.
For smaller fish, soft plastic lures are better, and for bigger fish, use skirted lures. Squid, Mullet, Mackerel, or Rapala lures are the best lures that are easier to tie with hooks for saltwater trolling.
Saltwater Trolling Techniques
There are some trolling techniques you can use. These will help you cope up with different situations and different fishes in different rivers, pond, oceans. Here are the techniques:
Flatlining Trolling Guides
Flatlining means using the fishing line for trolling the lures or bait without any weight. This technique is useful in shallow water as the bait or lures can correctly diving and reach the depths. These techniques are useful for fishing a variety of species in saltwater.
This is a straightforward trolling technique set behind the boat with no extra weights to influence the depth. You need long lines for using deep diving lures in deep rivers and oceans. When you find out a place where fish are active, present the lures close without alarming them.
When fishes see any moving boats, they usually follow the paths, and sometimes later, they go back to their original place. Do not troll the lures behind the boat, and they won’t see it. Just keep the line correctly and present the lures in tight areas.
How to Use a Saltwater Trolling Rod and Reel for Flatlining
Place the lure or bait on one side of the boat or behind the boat using side planners or outriggers. So the releasing line would be easy. Properly adjust the trolling rod’s position and remove tangles when the line rides high in windy weather.
Trolling with Side planners
Using a side planer board for the trolling technique is almost the same as flatlining. When you turn the boat, it increases the speed and separates the fishing line so the line won’t get tangled when you turn. You can set the same size line and keep the same distance in every rod.
Although turn the boat carefully; otherwise, the lures will be stuck with the board, and you will miss the chance of catching fish. When you use motionless lures in shallow water, set them at the bottom. The tow line also gets tangled when you increase the boat speed.
When you take a sharp turn, move the inside board slowly so the line will be tension free and the fish won’t miss the lures. The larger side planner board sets the tow rope line separately and maintains the right distance to avoid tangling so the fish can play under it.
Although using deep diving lures is critical here. The setback distance should be the same on both sides.
Keep the lures away from the boat. With a side planner, you can cover a wide area and troll hard to reach places.
Trolling with Diving Planner
Diving planners typically use it when you have to measure the right depth. You can set the diving lures precisely in the same depth as it. The diving planner has sharp angles so that you can eliminate taking extra lines. You need to hook up the right kinds of trolling motor and battery.
Also, use the pull or pass method to let out the exact length of the line so that you will know the specific depth. However, the line diameter should be accurate. The diving planner has a tension screw, so you can set it at the exact depth when you fish. However, it is hard to pull the planner. Retrieving the planner is hard work.
What can you catch?
You can catch a variety of fish with a diving planner. Spoons, cut plugs, and minnows are the best lures for salmon and trout trolling. Just set the lures at least 3 to 5 feet away from the diving planner. Remember, the leader length should be strong enough to pull big fish.
Choose at least a 14-pound high-tech braided fishing line so the lures can dive adequately. Use long rods because pulling the diving planner is hard. Place the diving planner at gunwale at a low angle to catch more fish.
Mooching is the popular technique for catching salmon in the saltwater. Here you have to drift the bait for subtle slow trolling. We were mooching typically effective in high current areas. Most anglers use live bait or dead bait because it can drift or be trolled at high speed.
Use two or three hook rigs for the salmon. Position the hook properly and select a lead hook to impaled the fish head. Use at least 10 feet long rod and long line so that it can hold big fish.
Use a heavy sinker to set the bait several feet away from the boat. Also, use a barrel swivel to control the boat and position it correctly. Sometimes instant hookup gives a good result as when the fish hit the bait, payout the line quickly so the fish can get time to hit and take the bait into their mouth. Plug cut herring is the most effective bait for mooching.
This method is mainly focused on the bait. Saltwater means the depth will be several hundred feet, but the bait has to stay on the surface. These methods are useful for fishing billfish, mahi-mahi, ballyhoo, small bonito, etc. This type of fish runs close to the surface, so it is easy to catch them with this technique.
The trolling bait should look natural. Use several knots and keep the speed constant so the fish can not skip the bait. Here rigging must be correctly done along with the knots and keep the hook break free. If you use bait for the skip, attach a colorful nose cone on the bait so the fish can be attracted to it.
If you want to use artificial baits, rigged them with hooks, and kept a trailing bait. Use at least six bait so two baits can works as skipping. When you see fishes following your bait, increase your boat’s speed so the bait will run faster and the fish can not ignore it. Sometimes let the bait slowly sink so the fish can strike.
Slow trolling is best when you are using live bait. Let the bait swim a little, and keep it behind your boat so the bait can be trolled slowly and use the free line. Arrange a treble hook and wire leader so that you can catch lots of fish. If your boat has a high-speed engine, use a drift bag to slow down the boat.
Here you have to use a kite for trolling and keep it flying behind your boat. The kite holds a line from the rod then sees the live bait under it. This way, you can pull the fishing line when fish hit the bait, and the kite will release the fishing line. However, these techniques are effective mainly on windy days.
All these techniques we talked about are up the surface. But this technique works under the surface. Here you do not need to use live bait, artificial lures can dive at the deep, so this is the easiest method of trolling. Although wire lines, leader, trolling weights maintaining is intricate. So use downrigger as it works better under the water.
What Is the Best Bait for Saltwater Trolling?
Some of the best bait for saltwater are,
- Cut bait
- Shellfish etc.
What Speed Do You Troll At?
A successful troller maneuvers the boat properly. Maintaining accurate speed for trolling is essential. Do not use the same boat speed when you are trolling. Also, do not go faster with the wind. The boat speed should be compatible with the lures.
Trolling lures only work at certain speeds so check the swimming action of lures before buying. Make a lure speed chart and select lure speeds for any specific fish. The speed could be up or slow down sometimes. The best trolling speed is 1.5 to 2.5 mph.