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Hawkeye21

Trolling for bass, good or evil?

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I've noticed in another forum that trolling seems to be the devil when it comes to bass fishing.  It's like some irrational sense that's it's not what bass fishing is all about or that it's cheating.  What are your thoughts on it?

 

I meant to post this in the General Fishing Forum.

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My thoughts on it is that trolling is not cheating, in fact it is actually harder to master than casting is.  Trolling is not randomly dragging a lure behind the boat.  You don't hear of many people trolling for bass simply because it is not allowed in tournaments, and like it or not professional tournaments have a huge impact on most people and the fishing industry.  I think bass tournaments (and bass fishing in general) would look more like walleye tournaments if trolling had been allowed.  It is a great tool for learning new waters and locating fish, and if possible should be used along with casting.

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Like many others, I don't troll because I get bored with it.  I enjoy making pinpoint casts, using different lures and other activities associated with OCD.

 

However, I think on many waters, trolling for bass may not be the most effective.  Since LMB are more cover oriented than pelagic, other presentations are often more productive.

 

BTW, the first bass I ever caught was trolling a weightless red Mister Twister plastic worm (hook exposed) through the middle of a weed bed.  At the time, I thought it was a good idea...

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I've caught bass trolling but that was really by mistake as I was targeting trout, and it was years ago.  I haven't trolled in a long time.  As noted above, it's not real exciting to me and my boat is not setup to support trolling.  I don't think there's really anything wrong with it, to each their own.

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Reason I brought this up is because in some kayak bass fishing tournaments it is allowed and some people seem to be upset about it.  I found it interesting because every single person that didn't like it didn't have an actual legitimate reason as to why it should be allowed.  Their only reasons were because the boat tourneys don't allow it and they personally felt it was wrong.

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Typical human behavior: fear what you do not understand.  It's actually HARD to go slow enough in a kayak to effectively get into that sweet 3/4 - 1 mph zone, and stay there.  Never mind the mechanics of well executed trolling.

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Honestly don't care if it was allowed or not, just find it very boring same as sitting and dunking live bait. Just not for me.

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Just now, BrianinMD said:

Honestly don't care if it was allowed or not, just find it very boring same as sitting and dunking live bait. Just not for me.

 

I agree.  I honestly don't really think of it as being as effective as most other techniques.  The one big advantage of it for kayak fishermen is that it allows us to continue fishing while moving to another spot to fish.  Very different from trolling on a boat since kayaks are pretty much at trolling speed all the time. 

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27 minutes ago, Hawkeye21 said:

The one big advantage of it for kayak fishermen is that it allows us to continue fishing while moving to another spot to fish.

 

There's the rub.... I can paddle my C140 3.5-4 mph using VERY little effort.  Optimal speed for most bass baits is one quarter that speed.

 

When I fished Lake Ontario, it was like being confronted with a huge barren desert.  Trolling (in a traditional deep-v lake boat) was a good way to locate large groups of smallmouth.  Catch three in a short amount of time, and we'd anchor up in the area, and drown tubes.

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50 minutes ago, Hawkeye21 said:

 

I agree.  I honestly don't really think of it as being as effective as most other techniques.  

Tell that to all of the giant bass Buck Perry and other spoonpluggers caught while or because of trolling.

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1 minute ago, IndianaFinesse said:

Tell that to all of the giant bass Buck Perry and other spoonpluggers caught while or because of trolling.

 

I'm not saying it doesn't work, it's just not my primary technique for catching bass.  I have no issue with allowing trolling to catch bass.  Pros basically already do it with long lining strategies right now.

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Trolling for any game fish can be a very productive method.

By no means cheating, trolling is NOT a mindless approach, which better describes chucking & winding.

When properly executed, trolling involves a great deal of knowledge and specialized gear.

 

I've had excellent success trolling in fresh and saltwater, which makes me ask myself:

why don't I troll more often? I admit that I lack the necessary patience to troll properly,

but more than that I don't like putting out my fishing partner, who also lacks the patience to troll

 

Roger

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23 minutes ago, Hawkeye21 said:

 

I'm not saying it doesn't work, it's just not my primary technique for catching bass.  I have no issue with allowing trolling to catch bass.  Pros basically already do it with long lining strategies right now.

It's not mine either, as I prefer to cast once they are located, are in shallow areas hard to troll in, or if I already understand the structure I'm fishing and have shoreline sitings for the breaks used and the contact point.  But it is a handy tool for figuring out new lakes quickly.

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1 hour ago, Hawkeye21 said:

 

I agree.  I honestly don't really think of it as being as effective as most other techniques.  The one big advantage of it for kayak fishermen is that it allows us to continue fishing while moving to another spot to fish.  Very different from trolling on a boat since kayaks are pretty much at trolling speed all the time. 

I have found that the benefit of trolling from a kayak is that your speed is not at all constant.  If you are like me, your paddling is sometimes erratic, i.e., from time to time you will pause for a second or two or three.  This erratic motion of your lure may be the secret to triggering a strike.  I have caught bass trolling tubes, rapalas, spinners; whatever I have tied on at the time.  Definitely a good idea to maximize your time on the water by trolling from one spot to another while in your kayak.

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Trolling from a yak opens up a lot of opertunity for me.  When it's real windy I get to dragging a plug instead of just getting blown all over the place.  I also yak for exercise so it double purposes well.

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6 hours ago, BrianinMD said:

Honestly don't care if it was allowed or not, just find it very boring same as sitting and dunking live bait. Just not for me.

 

Agreed.  Think about tournaments for walleyes, great lakes trout/salmon, and open water pelagic saltwater fish like marlin.  These are all situations in which trolling is very practical (and effective).  Like someone else already mentioned too, I don't think that its the greatest way to effectively target LMB in weedy or thick cover.  Plus, its incredibly boring.  I used to pull crank baits a lot at night for walleyes and it we caught fish but it wastes fuel and gets old quick.  Another issue for me personally is that my boat is simply not set up for it properly.  Trolling works better in a tiller boat with rod holders.  I have a bass boat with a steering wheel and no rod holders.

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I don't see what the difference is between casting a crankbait or dragging it behind the boat. Bait still goes under the water and wiggles around. 

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24 minutes ago, punch said:

I don't see what the difference is between casting a crankbait or dragging it behind the boat. Bait still goes under the water and wiggles around. 

More time in the contact zone if you can follow a weed-line or contour.

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3 hours ago, punch said:

I don't see what the difference is between casting a crankbait or dragging it behind the boat. Bait still goes under the water and wiggles around. 

 

2 hours ago, Angry John said:

More time in the contact zone if you can follow a weed-line or contour.

^This, plus you can get a bait much deeper on a troll than you can a cast.

 

I caught my first 5lb largemouth trolling to my next spot in my 2 man pulling a crankbait that I had been casting. It's very boring to me, but growing up with a dad that loved walleye fishing, I've done a lot of it and probably better at it than a lot of bass guys are. 

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There is nothing evil or even slightly cheesy about trolling for bass. It is simply a different method. Personally I rarely have luck trolling for bass outside early spring, before they move into the shallows to spawn and the dog days of  August when they move a bit deeper.

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A few years ago the Elite series fished here on Douglas Lake. Many of the fishermen were long lining or as some locals called it, "strolling".  They would drop their lure in the water, open the bail, engage the trolling motor, run the boat 100 yards or so, stop the boat, engage the bail and retrieve the lure with the reel. This is legal by B.A.S.S. rules but seems very close to trolling to me. 

 

I recently spent a week in Florida fishing nothing but live bait and had a ball doing it. Personally I don't care how you catch fish as long as no explosives are involved, lol. Just get out and go enjoy yourself. I also don't care if you take a limit home to eat.

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I do both, l find coves and points and natural structure for casting but Ive caught more bass trolling. Its really an art and I'm still just a minnow. I don't have a 60k bass boat but I do have a newer 18ft AlumaCraft deep V with a 25" transom. I actually enjoy more trolling and jigging for walleye and going out on Lake Michigan for salmon with down riggers, planner boards, and dipseys than I do bass fishing.  Maybe thats why I bought a multi-species Walleye boat???

 

I also enjoy cat fishing,  I just enjoy fishing and species doesn't matter.

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We'll buy thousands of dollars worth of sonar technology and multi-thousand dollar boats and then worry about the purity of trolling? :P

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I don't even have a high dollar yak, so I guess I am pure as bill Cosby pudding pops

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