Whether fishing lines are baited with lures or bait fish; if they are being pulled through the water it is considered trolling. Usually several lines or more are being trailed behind a boat and this method targets pelagic fish that swim in the open sea. It is often mistakenly confused with trawling, which involves the use of nets instead of lines. No nets are used and anglers have the most thrilling extreme fishing experience possible.
Why is trolling so popular?
Anglers catch fish such as tuna, wahoo, kingfish, bonito, mahi-mahi, marlin and more using this method. Often these fish swim in schools and numerous fish end up on the various lines at the same time; which is exhilarating beyond words. The biggest fish of them all swim in the open ocean and catching gigantic beasts is every angler's motivation.
How does trolling work?
We try and cover the entire water column as best we can. We start trolling just on top of the reef in about 60ft of water and move into depths ranging between 400ft and 500ft. Both surface baits and deep baits are used to entice fish at varying depths. Outriggers are used for surface baits. They spread the baits out nicely and prevent the lines tangling with each other, as well as fooling predators into thinking it is a school of fish. Downriggers or planers are used for deep baits. These keep the baits trailing at the correct depth.
What makes trolling so effective?
It is simply the best technique for locating big game fish. By fishing baits at different depths and moving at speeds around 5.5 knots, a greater area is covered in less time. Another factor is that multiple lines are trailing in the water, which means a higher number of fish can be caught. This is the reason why trolling is the main method used on commercial vessels, and it is preferred wherever possible by recreational anglers as well.
What baits do you use when trolling?
Generally our surface baits are pulling small strip baits such as ballyhoo. Mackerel, sardines, small tuna and bonitos also work well. Our deep baits usually consist of sea witch lures combined with strip baits, and we also use spoons.
When is trolling most commonly used?
When anglers wish to catch pelagic fish then trolling is the logical method to use. The ocean floor is rather barren and most habitat dwelling fish congregate in rock piles, wrecks, seamounts, underwater canyons, artificial or natural reefs and other structures. Although pelagic fish hunt around these places for an easy meal, they usually travel in the open ocean and chase fish there.