One of the most enjoyable ways to fish is using the trolling method. In this way, you don’t have to stop the boat and you can still cruise around the lake or the ocean, no matter your outdoor setting.

But you can’t just go anywhere and throw whatever in the water and expect results. Here are eight essential trolling tips, everything from what to use to where to go, so your next fishing you don’t come home empty handed.

Choosing the right gear

Before heading out to go trolling, consider your gear. You want have an average sized rod, probably on the longer side 7 1/2 to 9 feet. You’re going to want a straight line fishing reel and a rod holder on the boat (more on that later.)

Position the rod holder

An essential part of trolling is a rod holder. By this way, you can set the rod and power the boat at the same time. You can even fish more than one line, which is recommended for experienced anglers and another great advantage to trolling. But you also want to make sure that the angle of your rod holder is just right. If it’s pointed too high, the lure has a tendency to rise out of the water. Too low and the rod could fly out of the holder if it gets hooked up. You want the rod holder at about a 45 degree angle from the water.

Choosing a lure

When it comes to lures, there are many that work for trolling and you can use just about any artificial lure provided you have the proper weight attached. The highest performing lure for trolling, however, is the rapala brand lures for their lifelike appearance and natural swim-line behavior. These lures, which come in various sizes depending on your targeted fish, should be first out of the tackle box on any fishing trip.

Deciding on a destination

As always, where you fish is as much important, if not more, than what you’re fishing with. In this case, you want to cruise by areas you suspect will be good environments for fish such as kelp beds or rocky bottoms, estuaries and deeper waters. Present your lure past these areas multiple times and try using different baits if you’re still not having success.

The right speed

It’s important when trolling to drive the boat at the right speed. Too fast and the lure will fly out of the water. Too slow and it won’t behave properly either. Keep the boat anywhere form 1-3 knots and that should be the prime spot.

Use your electronics

A fish finder is a great thing to have on any fishing boat but especially when you’re trolling. In this way you can cover a lot of ground, over varying terrain and get an idea of the fish activity. You also will know when to get ready for the next strike. Fish on!

Cover a pattern

As if you were conducting a search pattern for a lost comrade, address trolling in the same manner. Take an area that you intend to cover and travel up and down the area moving further from the original spot on each pass until you’ve completely covered the waters.

Persistence

Like all fishing outings, patience is a virtue, persistence is king. Stick with it and you’re liable to put your lure right over a school of fish and end up having a day to remember. If you’re anything like me, just being on the water is a victory in itself and staying out a little longer is typically no trouble at all.

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