How to Troll for Fish: Dominate the Waters

Scheels Fishing Banner

To troll for fish, use a fishing line with bait and slowly pull it behind a moving boat. Trolling for fish is a popular fishing technique that involves using a fishing line with bait and gradually pulling it behind a moving boat.

This method allows anglers to cover a large area of water and attract fish that are drawn to the movement and vibrations of the bait. Trolling can be done in both freshwater and saltwater environments and is effective in catching a variety of fish species.

We will explore the equipment and techniques needed for successful trolling, as well as some tips and tricks to maximize your fishing experience. So, if you want to learn how to troll for fish like a pro, keep reading!

Setting Up Your Trolling Rig

Trolling is a popular fishing technique that involves casting a fishing line behind a moving boat to attract and catch fish. Setting up your trolling rig correctly is essential to ensure a successful fishing trip.

Required Equipment For Trolling:

Before you venture out into the waters to troll for fish, it’s important to have the right equipment on hand. The following table outlines the essential gear you’ll need:

Fishing rodA sturdy and flexible rod designed for trolling.
Fishing reelA reel with a smooth drag system to handle the weight of larger fish.
Trolling luresArtificial baits designed to mimic the appearance and movement of prey fish.
Fishing lineA strong and durable line capable of withstanding the tension of trolling.
DownriggersDevices used to keep your bait at a desired depth.

Selecting The Right Fishing Rod And Reel:

When it comes to trolling, choosing the right fishing rod and reel combination is crucial. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Rod length: Opt for a rod with a length between 6 and 8 feet for better control and maneuverability.
  • Power and action: Select a rod with medium to heavy power rating and fast action for trolling larger fish and having better sensitivity to strikes.
  • Reel type: A conventional reel or a level wind reel with a line counter is ideal for tracking trolling line lengths.
  • Drag system: Look for a reel that offers a smooth and adjustable drag system to handle the runs and surges of aggressive fish.

Choosing The Appropriate Fishing Line:

The fishing line you choose for trolling must be strong and durable. Considering the water conditions and the fish species you are targeting, you can opt for one of the following types:

  1. Monofilament line: This versatile and affordable line is suitable for most trolling situations, providing good knot strength and flexibility.
  2. Braided line: Offering superior strength and sensitivity, braided lines are ideal for trolling in deep waters and targeting larger fish.
  3. Fluorocarbon line: Known for its invisibility underwater, fluorocarbon lines are a great option when trolling in clear waters or targeting skittish fish.

Understanding The Different Types Of Trolling Lures:

Trolling lures come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, each designed to attract specific types of fish. Here are the three most common types:

  • Plug lures: These are solid, fish-shaped lures with treble hooks, capable of diving to different depths. They work well for imitating baitfish.
  • Spoon lures: Spoon-shaped lures with a shiny finish that creates a fish-attracting flash underwater. They are effective for targeting a wide range of fish species.
  • Soft plastic lures: These lures mimic the movements of live bait and come in various designs, such as swimbaits and grubs. They are popular for attracting predatory fish.

By understanding the different types of trolling lures, you can choose the most suitable ones for your target species and fishing conditions.

Now that you have a clear understanding of setting up your trolling rig, you’re ready to hit the water and troll for fish like a pro. Remember to adjust your setup based on the specific fishing location and target species to maximize your chances of success.

Troll for Fish

Finding The Perfect Fishing Spot

One of the most crucial elements of a successful fishing trip is finding the perfect fishing spot. Whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting out, the location you choose to cast your line can make all the difference.

Using Fish Finders And Sonar Technology

Modern anglers have the advantage of advanced technology at their fingertips. Fish finders and sonar devices have revolutionized the way we locate fish. These devices utilize sound waves to create detailed images of the underwater environment.

By analyzing the data provided by fish finders and sonar technology, you can identify the presence and depth of fish, underwater structures, and even the temperature of the water.

When using fish finders and sonar technology, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind:

  • Choose a fish finder or sonar device that suits your needs and budget. There are various models available on the market, ranging from portable handheld devices to more advanced units for professional anglers.
  • Before heading out to the water, familiarize yourself with the different readings and signals displayed on your device. Understanding how to interpret the data accurately will give you a better chance of finding the ideal fishing spot.
  • Pay attention to underwater structures and features, such as submerged rocks, weed beds, or drop-offs. These areas often attract fish and can be excellent fishing spots.

Researching Local Fishing Reports And Online Resources

Another valuable method to find the perfect fishing spot is to do thorough research. Local fishing reports and online resources can provide valuable information about the current fishing conditions and hotspots in your area.

Here’s how you can take advantage of these resources:

  1. Start by searching for local fishing forums or online communities. These platforms often have active members who share their fishing experiences, tips, and even GPS coordinates of productive fishing spots.
  2. Check out fishing-related websites or blogs that provide up-to-date fishing reports. These resources often include information about the species of fish currently biting, successful baits and techniques, and recent catch reports.
  3. Consider reaching out to local fishing guides or charters. They have extensive knowledge of the area and can provide valuable insights into the best fishing spots. It may be worth investing in a guided trip to learn from the experts and increase your chances of success.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Fishing Spot

While fish finders, sonar technology, and research can help you narrow down your options, there are several factors to consider when finalizing your choice of the fishing spot. These factors include:

SpeciesConsider how easy it is to reach your chosen spot. Ensure it is safe and legal to fish in that area and be aware of any access restrictions or permits required.
WeatherWeather conditions influence fish behavior. Look for areas with good water quality and seek sheltered spots during windy or stormy days.
AccessibilityConsider how easy it is to reach your chosen spot. Ensure it is safe and legal to fish in that area, and be aware of any access restrictions or permits required.
Time of dayFish are more active during certain times of the day. Many species tend to feed early in the morning or late in the evening, so plan your fishing trip accordingly.
Personal preferenceLastly, consider your own fishing preferences. Some anglers enjoy the peace and serenity of remote spots, while others prefer the convenience of easily accessible lakes or rivers.

By taking all these factors into account, you can increase your chances of finding the perfect fishing spot that suits your preferences and maximizes your chances of a successful catch. Happy fishing!

Mastering Trolling Techniques

When it comes to targeting fish, trolling can be an effective and exciting method. By pulling your bait or lure behind a moving boat, you not only cover more water but also entice fish to strike.

However, to truly master the art of trolling, it’s essential to understand and employ the right techniques.

Adjusting Trolling Speed For Different Fish Species

To maximize your success, it’s crucial to adjust your trolling speed based on the species of fish you are targeting. Different fish have different preferences when it comes to swimming speeds, and varying your trolling speed can make all the difference.

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Fast trolling: This technique works well for species like tuna and wahoo, as they are known for their ability to chase down fast-moving prey. To achieve a faster troll, increase the boat’s speed and select lures that can handle the increased pace.
  2. Slow trolling: Some species, such as walleye and musky, are more attracted to a slower-moving bait. Slow trolling allows the fish more time to inspect and strike your offering. Reduce your boat’s speed and opt for lures that have a subtle action or use live bait to entice bites.
  3. Varying speed: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different speeds, even within a single trolling session. Fish behavior can change throughout the day, and altering your trolling speed might trigger a reaction when other approaches aren’t producing results.

Understanding The Importance Of Depth And Line Placement

Another vital aspect of trolling is determining the correct depth and line placement for your bait or lure. Fish often inhabit different water levels, and knowing where to position your offering can greatly increase your chances of a successful catch.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Depth control: Utilize a fishfinder or depth sounder to identify where the fish are holding. Adjust your line length or add additional weights to reach the desired depth effectively. Experimentation and monitoring the behavior of fish on your electronics can provide valuable insights.
  • Line placement: Depending on the target species and the lure you’re using, you’ll want to experiment with different line placements. Some lures work best when placed directly behind the boat, while others might be more effective when positioned off to the side or farther back in the spread. Pay attention to any patterns emerging from successful catches and use that knowledge to refine your technique.

Using Attractants And Scent Trails To Increase Your Chances Of Success

Attractants and scent trails can be potent tools in your trolling arsenal. Fish use their sense of smell to locate food, and by incorporating scents into your presentation, you can significantly enhance your chances of success.

Consider the following techniques:

  1. Using attractant gels: Apply fish-attracting gels or pastes to your lures or baits. These scented substances can mimic the scent of prey or trigger the aggressive instincts of predatory fish, ultimately enticing more strikes.
  2. Adding artificial scent trails: Attach scent-impregnated pads or pre-soaked sponges to your fishing line. As you troll, these pads release an enticing scent trail in the water, luring curious fish toward your bait or lure.
  3. Experimenting with homemade concoctions: Some anglers swear by homemade scent recipes, utilizing natural ingredients like fish oils, anise, or garlic. These homemade concoctions can provide a unique scent profile that fish may find irresistible. Be sure to check local regulations on bait usage before trying these homemade options.

By incorporating attractants and scent trails into your trolling setup, you can increase your chances of enticing fish to strike, even in challenging conditions.

Tips For Successful Trolling

Trolling is a widely popular method of fishing that involves dragging bait or lures through the water to attract fish. While it may seem straightforward, there are several key tips and techniques you can use to increase your chances of success.

From experimenting with different lure colors and sizes to paying attention to weather conditions and water temperature, and even understanding fish behavior, here are some valuable insights to help you become a more effective troll fisherman.

Experimenting With Different Lure Colors And Sizes

When it comes to trolling for fish, one of the most important factors to consider is the choice of lure colors and sizes. Just as humans are attracted to things that catch our eye, fish are also attracted to vibrant colors and enticing movements.

By experimenting with different colors and sizes, you can determine which combinations are most effective for the particular fish species you are targeting.

Larger lures can be used to attract bigger fish, while smaller lures are ideal for enticing smaller fish. Additionally, different lure colors work better in different water and light conditions. In murky or stained water, using bright and bold colors can help fish notice your lure from a distance.

On the other hand, in clear water or bright sunlight, natural and more subdued colors tend to be more effective.

Paying Attention To Weather Conditions And Water Temperature

The success of your trolling efforts can greatly depend on the weather conditions and water temperature. Fish behavior is influenced by these factors, and knowing how they affect their feeding patterns can make all the difference in your overall success rate.

If you notice that the water temperature is colder, fish tend to move slower and may prefer a slower-moving lure. On the other hand, during warmer water conditions, fish are generally more active and may respond well to faster-paced lures. Monitoring the weather forecast, including wind speed and direction, can help you determine the most productive areas to troll.

The Art Of Reading Fish Behavior And Adapting Your Trolling Strategy

While trolling, being able to read fish behavior is a skill that can significantly improve your chances of success. Fish behavior can vary based on factors such as water clarity, time of day, and prey availability. Observing these factors can allow you to adapt your trolling strategy in real time.

If you notice that fish are feeding near the surface, using a shallower-running lure can yield better results. Conversely, if fish are holding at deeper depths, adjusting the depth at which you troll your lure can lead to more strikes. Paying attention to any changes in fish behavior, such as sudden movements or splashing, can help you identify areas where fish are congregating and adjust your trolling path accordingly.

By incorporating these tips for successful trolling into your fishing routine, you will be well-equipped to enhance your chances of landing that prized catch.

Remember to experiment with lure colors and sizes, consider weather conditions and water temperature, and use your understanding of fish behavior to fine-tune your trolling strategy. Happy fishing!

Troubleshooting Common Trolling Issues

Trolling for fish can be an exhilarating fishing technique, but it’s not without its challenges. When you’re out on the water trying to lure in the big ones, you may encounter some common trolling issues that can hinder your success.

Dealing With Tangled Lines And Snagged Lures

Tangled lines and snagged lures are among the most frustrating problems you can encounter while trolling for fish. Luckily, there are some techniques you can employ to overcome these challenges:

  • When faced with a tangled line, resist the urge to pull it forcefully. This can lead to further entanglement and potentially damage your fishing gear. Instead, slowly and gently work your way through the knots, using your fingers or a pair of pliers if necessary.
  • To free a snagged lure, avoid yanking on the line. Instead, try maneuvering your boat into a different position. By changing the angle and direction of your line, you may be able to release the lure without causing any damage.
  • Consider using a spoon or a lure retriever tool if your lure is deeply embedded in underwater structures. These tools can help you dislodge your snagged lure without risking damage to your fishing equipment.

Identifying And Addressing Common Trolling Problems

When trolling for fish, it’s crucial to be able to identify and address common issues that may arise. By knowing how to tackle these problems, you can continue your fishing journey with minimal disruptions. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Excessive Line Drag: If you notice that your lines are experiencing excessive drag, check for any seaweed or debris that might have attached itself to your gear. Remove any obstructions to regain the proper tension on your lines.
  2. Uneven Speed: Inconsistent trolling speeds can affect the effectiveness of your technique. Ensure that your boat’s throttle is set at a consistent speed to maintain a steady pace and allow your lures to operate optimally.
  3. Fish Not Biting: If you’re trolling for fish and not getting any bites, consider adjusting your lure presentation. Experiment with different colors, sizes, and depths until you find a combination that entices the fish to strike.

Tips For Handling Equipment Malfunctions On The Water

While angling, unforeseen equipment malfunctions can catch you off guard. To avoid frustration and ensure you’re prepared for the unexpected, follow these tips:

  • Carry a basic repair kit that includes spare hooks, swivels, and other essential fishing components. This will allow you to quickly replace any damaged or broken equipment while on the water.
  • Regularly inspect your gear for signs of wear and tear before each fishing trip. Identifying and addressing potential issues beforehand can prevent equipment failures during trolling.
  • In case of a reel jam or mechanical problem, stay calm and avoid forcing or overworking the equipment. Utilize the manufacturer’s instructions to troubleshoot the issue or seek professional assistance.

By being aware of these troubleshooting techniques, you can minimize the impact of common trolling issues and maximize your chances of a successful fishing expedition.

Now, armed with the knowledge to address these challenges, you can venture out onto the water with confidence and enjoy a rewarding trolling experience.


So there you have it, a comprehensive guide on how to troll for fish. By following these techniques and tips, you can enhance your fishing skills and increase your chances of success. Remember to choose the right bait, vary your trolling speed, and pay attention to the depth and location of the fish.

Stay patient and persistent, and you’ll be reeling in big catches in no time. Happy trolling!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *