By: Capt. Joel Brandenburg
Trolling 101. Some say, fishing is a sport some say, or fishing is an art. I think trolling is one of the fine arts of fishing. There are many forms of trolling. It’s important to know when to troll where to troll and what to troll for and with. I’m going to go over several trolling techniques in this article.
Trolling for mahi. Most avid mahi anglers would agree that a six-knot troll is the appropriate speed for trolling for mahi. Even though 6 knots is the best trolling speed for mahi keep in mind sometimes the current is in your face and sometimes the current is at your back. It’s important to know the current speed in order to adjust your trolling speed for example if the current is going 3 knots at your back then your speed should be adjusted to 9 knots. When trolling a rigged ballyhoo, it’s important for your ballyhoo to slither and hop behind the boat. If your ballyhoo is only slithering, you’re going to slow if your ballyhoo is only hopping you’re going to fast, if it’s slithering and hopping you’re going just right.
Trolling for a wahoo. If you are high speed trolling for a wahoo using an in-line weight with a plastic skirted tormentor lure for example, you should be going between 11 and 14 knots. If your low-speed trolling for wahoo with a nomad lure for example, your ideal speed is between 6 and 8 knots. Whether you’re high-speed trolling, or low-speed trolling for a wahoo, I like to have my long line at least a football field and a half to two football fields behind the boat. Remember wahoo hit with such velocity that it’s important to keep your drag as loose as possible during the troll. It’s easy to tighten your drag during the fight, it’s almost impossible to loosen your drag in time to save the fish.
Trolling for grouper. Depending on the depth of water that you’re trolling, you could use a stretch 20 stretch, 30 or stretch 40 some people even troll for grouper using a planer and my favorite speed while trolling for grouper is 3 knots. I like to keep my trolling line as short as possible, but long enough to get near the bottom where grouper dwell . I like to set my drag a little tighter when trolling for grouper so when the grouper hits, we can pull the grouper away from the rocks and reef immediately after the strike plus a grouper’s mouth is a lot stronger than a pelagic’s mouth, so I’m not as worried about pulling the hook on a grouper.
Trolling for pelagic’s, such as king, fish, and bill fish. I like to bump troll for a pelagic’s using live ballyhoo or large live pilchards. Since you’re bump trolling and using live bait that are able to swim left or right, I’m It’s important to have one line long 100-150 yards or so, and have another line short 50-75 yards or so. By having one line long and one line short, you’re able to make sharp turns without worrying about your baits swimming into each other and tangling up the lines, plus by having one line long and one line short, if a pelagic hits your short line and misses the bait or misses the hook, you always have a long line past your short line to give the gamefish another shot at the title.
Trolling for tuna. When we troll for tuna at the Marathon Humps and like the troll long and slow, 200 yards back at three or 4 knots. Our favorite bait to troll for tuna at the Humps is black sand eels. When we see white turn birds which we also called tuna birds and a big flock, we call birdnato’s chasing the tuna very quickly will do a run and gun control. Running in troll is dragging a lure such as a worm or a tuna dart behind the boat. Chasing the flock of birds and slowing down to 6-8 knots right when you catch up with the birds and troll through the birds as best as possible, hoping the birds will start diving and dipping behind the boat in your spread.
#6 general trolling tips. The first rule in effective trolling is to make sure whatever bait you’re trolling behind the boat doesn’t get weeds on it. It’s very rare for any game fish to hit a trolling bait with even a speck of weeds.
I’ve always thought it was funny that game fish won’t hit a bait with a weed on it, but many times when we open up their stomachs when we clean the fish, we find weeds in their stomachs. Another thing to remember about trolling is that if you’re not getting a strike try to slow down a little bit or speed up a little bit or cut to the left or cut to the right or change lures or check your rig value or check your lab value that your bump trolling behind the boat to make sure they’re not dead or gimpy. Another thing to remember about trolling is to be patient as many times you have to put in the time and look for frigates, sea birds and floating objects to change your luck.
For a charter with Ana Banana call or text Capt. Joel or Jojo Brandenburg at 305-395-4212 or 813-267-4401. Or visit us in person at Ana Banana Marina 11699 Overseas Hwy Marathon Fl Keys