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Do any readers here, troll for bass.  If so when, where, how deep, what conditions and, what lures.  I fish a lake with miles of cliffs and rip rap shoreline that look the same.  Seems like a way to cover lots of wate, and find hot spots to slow down and cast too.  Would it be a good idea or just a waste of time? 

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I troll crankbaits on mostly barren mud flats .I find where the biggest concentrations of fish are on the sonar at and troll that depth . I catch more channel cats than bass .Too me its more of a summer time thing .I quit trolling rip rap because i was constantly hung .

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The reason you don't see much about trolling baits is because it's illegal to use that presentation in BASS tournaments, and so we Joe Blow bass fishermen mindlessly follow suit.  It works just fine, though.  Most larger bass boats cannot idle along slow enough to make trolling productive.  I catch largemouth quite often when trolling for stripers with a buddy of mine who fishes out of a center console boat that trolls at 1 1/2 mph.  My fiberglass bass boat won't troll below 3 mph, so it's not suited for trolling.

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I do a lot of trolling - anytime, anywhere, at all depths regardless of conditions. It's a great teacher. Read anything by Buck Perry/Spoonplugging, or check out some of the walleye fishing sites or videos. Bill Murphy also devoted a chapter or two in his "In Pursuit of Giant Bass" book on the subject if you have it.

-T9

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I do a lot of trolling and sometimes it has helped me find fish that most probably I wouldn´t have found any other way, why do I troll ? well, if I´m gonna move from point A to point B  ( and since I´m not in a rush ) it ain´t gonna hurt me if I troll, cuz, ya know, lures only catch fish if they are in the wáter. ;)

As for your other questions, like usual, there is no right answer, at what depth, at what speed, with which lures are dictated by the conditions.

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It's not my favorite method however my second to largest bass was caught while trolling.  By doing so, it allowed the lure to go to down to the necessary depth AND remain there for a long time.

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Friend of mine trolls Alabama rigs from his kayak in the spring and fall. He does very well. The kayak allows him to be more stealthy and have good control of his depth. I am quite new at bass fishing, and haven't tried it yet. 

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I used to troll for smallmouth on occasion. The lake I used to fish in Minnesota had few flats. It could be 15 feet deep, then 3, then 50 over the course of 100 yards. Hard to troll water like that. Then, I was fishing in Wisconsin a lot where trolling was not allowed. New regs now allow trolling so I'll be doing some while I'm up there next week. I'll be following weed lines mostly. 

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Trolling the bane of bass fishing.

I am so old that trolling was the preferred technique to bass fish. One reason may have been the Dacron line knuckle buster bait casting reels didn't cast very good and it was easier to troll a lure, only the expert casters could cast lures to targets. World record smallmouth was caught trolling.

I still teach new bass anglers to use deep diving crank baits (plugs) by trolling them so they can learn how lures feel and what strikes are like.

There is skill envolved maintaining the right depth, speed and trolling where bass are located.

Tom

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4 hours ago, WRB said:

 

There is skill envolved maintaining the right depth, speed and trolling where bass are located.

Tom

Exactly, trolling is not just stupidly dragging a bait behind the boat.

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2 minutes ago, Raul said:

Exactly, trolling is not just stupidly dragging a bait behind the boat.

It can be, I caught a lot of fish "stupidly dragging a bait".  But as with everything, you can increase your chance at success by learning the nuances and finer points of trolling. I learned a lot from a book written by a walleye fisherman where he measured exactly how deep 200 different lures actually ran. Depth control is critical to getting more fish so knowing what influences running depth is very important.

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I like to troll, with a few different, small crankbaits for crappie and often catch bass and cat fish.  It can be a lot of fun on light tackle.  There used to be a real slow sloped point that I could catch a fish, of different kinds, almost every time I went across it at 6.5' depth, but it is all grown up to alligator weed, now.

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My boat doesn't idle slow enough to troll and I get bored to tears if I troll for more than about 10 minutes without a bite. 

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Thanks to the readers for the input. I'm going to do some more reading on trolling for bass.I didn't know trolling was bass fishing taboo.  I have trolled, cast, vertical jigged, drifted, and plunked, for many different species of fish, both fresh and salt.  Usually troll to locate fish, then switch to another technique if I think it will catch more or bigger fish.  My main concern is  with catching fish.  never get bored with any style of fishing. I'm   always too busy trying to adjust to the situation to get bored.  I'm going to try trolling deep diving crank baits for bass along the rocky shoreline of my favorite lake next chance I get.  Might catch a brown trout along the same shore. 

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The way I figure crankbait for depth trolling is two multiply the lures max depth x 2 . A Rapala Fat Rap is  a good 5 to 6 foot bait for me so if I see fish at around 10 foot , it would be an option .

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I have been trolling for bass a lot lately, did it just today matter of fact. It's pretty awesome. If you can drive around and "graph" you can troll. I learn a whole lot about the bottom of the river sitting at the console trolling a crankbait and watching the graph. I use shallow diving crankbaits 95% of the time. My boat is 18.5 ft center console (wide boat) with a 50 hp 4 stroke mercury. With no current or wind about 2.75 mph is as slow as I can go, and that will flat catch em. Hooked two nice smallies today about 2.5 mph and 46 degree water. I usually try to troll upstream and get closer to 2-2.25 mph but I'm not sure why because 2.5 seems to be where I get most of my hits. I sometimes troll downstream and that's usually around 3.25 mph and catches fish surprisingly well. If the plug says it will go 2-4 ft it will go about 10 at the speeds I troll (variable depending on length and diameter of line). A 4-6 ft plug will troll about 12-14 ft. Shift into neutral when you get a bite and leave it in neutral. I have never gotten bored trolling. I get much more bored chucking crankbaits and not contacting bottom. I used to just drive my boat through the deep holes in Order  get to the shoals and fish soft plastics. Now I catch fish trolling through all the deep holes on the way to my casting areas, while marking trees and humps all along the way 

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On 10/1/2016 at 6:04 PM, scaleface said:

The way I figure crankbait for depth trolling is two multiply the lures max depth x 2 . A Rapala Fat Rap is  a good 5 to 6 foot bait for me so if I see fish a  around 10 foot  it would be an option .

Just curious do you have any basis on how much line to let out?

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53 minutes ago, riverbasser said:

Just curious do you have any basis on how much line to let out?

Scientifically speaking, the length of a cast, why ? because it works for me that way.

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7 hours ago, riverbasser said:

Just curious do you have any basis on how much line to let out?

I put the boat in gear and make a regular cast straight back behind the outboard. Then count to 5 before I engage the reel

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What I've done I consider 'drift trolling.' Most of the waters I fish are natural, north>south lakes and a good breeze will move my boat at a good speed for working a worm down or over a weed line. A bump now and then on the TM keeps me where I want.  I've attempted trolling on windless days, but those are the days when the bass tend to not want to chase a bait, so it isn't the best presentation.

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There's a book on trolling depths for almost any crankbait (can't remember the name but a quick google search should bring it up). It will show feet of line out and a chart on the lures depth. I troll in the summer for crappie using bandits mostly. I measure 100 feet down the alley, hook a bait to my bumper and walk back to my 100 foot mark, then tie a piece of rubber band or old jig skirt to my line at the 100ft mark. You can also count the number of times your worm guide on the reel goes back and forth (that's what a line counter reel does). Almost all the crankbaits reach max depth at close to 100 ft mark. Its real effective when the crappie stack up at the thermocline.

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1 hour ago, bagofdonuts said:

There's a book on trolling depths for almost any crankbait (can't remember the name but a quick google search should bring it up). It will show feet of line out and a chart on the lures depth. I troll in the summer for crappie using bandits mostly. I measure 100 feet down the alley, hook a bait to my bumper and walk back to my 100 foot mark, then tie a piece of rubber band or old jig skirt to my line at the 100ft mark. You can also count the number of times your worm guide on the reel goes back and forth (that's what a line counter reel does). Almost all the crankbaits reach max depth at close to 100 ft mark. Its real effective when the crappie stack up at the thermocline.

Precision Trolling. There is a wealth of info in that book. There is also a precision trolling app but that runs like 100$...

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18 hours ago, riverbasser said:

Just curious do you have any basis on how much line to let out?

I'm not real precise at trolling . I make a long cast and then let some more out . If it doesnt start hitting bottom then I let some more out . 20 foot is about a deep as I go . 

10 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

I put the boat in gear and make a regular cast straight back behind the outboard. Then count to 5 before I engage the reel

Thats about how i do it .

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I have spent a lot of time trolling deep diving crankbaits and Alabama rigs from my kayak. This also catches bass on occasion, and recently when I have been on an Alabama rig bite for largemouth, I have trolled to find fish since I did not have a fishfinder on my kayak. I would drop a marker buoy when I got bit, then I could position myself near that marker to cast to where the fish was hooked, sometimes there was a school, sometimes there was not. I would imagine you could do the same with a bass boat.

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I've seen some big name guys trolling before tournaments in order to find fish.  I find it boring, but IMO it's the best way to find pelagic bass.

If the bass are eating things with swim bladders, I'll troll a swimbait at 1-1.5 MPH. The bait should hit the bottom once in awhile.  If the bass are on crawdads or gobies, I'll troll a tube at 0.8 MPH.  The tube has to constantly be on the bottom. The percentage of time you want the lure to contact the bottom should dictate the amount of line you let out. I always hold the rod in my hand, because I only care about getting bit. If I get bit or hook a fish, I drop a waypoint immediately and go back there to fish the spot.

One major benefit of trolling is that you can watch your structure scan and find interesting stuff. When I fish a new lake, I'll troll for muskies/pike at 3-8 MPH (because they'll bit a lure moving that fast) and waypoint everything that looks remotely interesting. It's a great way to find cribs, wrecks, trees, boulders, and schools of bait.

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