Hopefully you have already performed your annual trolling seasonal prep on all of your gear from roller guides to rodholders. Your tackle needs just as much TLC as your boat and its powerplant, especially if you do your fishing in saltwater. So assuming your hooks are sharp and your reels are lubed, now you’ll want to take these five trolling tips into consideration.
1. Troll cross-current to eliminate the need for tweaking speed. If you troll down-current and up-current without modifying your engine’s RPM, in one direction or the other you’re bound to be moving at a less-than-perfect rate. Get your lures moving just right as you troll cross-current, however, and when you turn around you’ll still be doing the ideal speed.
2. Rig up with braid. Trolling is one application where braid shines – the absence of stretch means the fish is more likely to hook itself on the strike. Just remember to back the drags off a bit, to prevent break-offs or hooks tearing out.
3. Always set your temp guage to graphic, not numeric, display. That way you can tell at a glance when you’ve gone through an area with a significant temperature change. If the temp is displayed with a number, you’ll have to be looking at the fishfinder at just the right moment to notice the change.
4. Zig-zag often, especially when fish are on the meter at slightly deeper depths than your lures are running at. Those turns will give your lures a moment or two to sink, and give you the ability to vary depth on a whim.
5. When trolling with spoons, make sure you use a ball-bearing swivel. Regular barrel swivels just aren’t smooth enough to prevent line twist, but ball-bearing swivels will do the trick.
Trolling spoons is a great way to catch fish like this Spanish mackerel – but only if you have a ball-bearing swivel in-line.