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Trolling for bass


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Why is trolling not permitted in BASS tournaments?  If it were legal, would the pros ever do it, and could they win trolling?  I troll when moving from spot to spot while fishing in my Kayak.  Often I am surprised at the fish I catch, and the number of great fishing holes I have discovered while simply moving from one location to the next.  While fishing in a kayak I am always moving at trolling speed, so why not have a lure out, but having to slow down to troll may be a big waste of time for a boat angler.  Curious to see what members think.

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In the early days of bass tournaments, trolling was not considered sporting.  There were a number of reasons for this.  One is that there is no action required by the angler, it was totally up to the lure itself.  Second, there was no casting required.  Third, there was and still is somewhat of a snob attitude toward trolling.  Trolling is and has always been an effective way to catch bass. 

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I think part of the issue is the number of lines permitted often varies from one state to the next.  They do it to uniformly stay consistent.  I could see it being an issue if one event allows 8 setups and another allows 2.  When you're casting, you really can only operate one setup at a time.  When you troll, you could put out a lot of setups at once.

 

I don't think trolling would work very well for TV either at this point.  Although effective, its extremely boring to do and its probably even worse to spectate.

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You can take a nap and float over a fish and wait for the line to move.
No individual skill required. 

 

 

 

Mike
 

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On the chain of lakes I fish in Wisconsin, trolling is illegal.  

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I'm not going to call it straight up trolling,

but on big clear water, where the bass can be very spread out,

a system of 'strolling' can be extremely effective;

especially for smallies.

Any number of baits are perfectly suited for it.

Hair Jigs & jerkbaits just to name a couple.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

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There were a few primary schools of thought. One was the already mentioned belief that trolling was ‘low skill’ or even unsporting. It was banned back in the late 1950s/early 1960s in the Texas State bass tournament for those reasons. That set the early tone.

 

Ray Scott also considered it ‘unfair’ to partners as he was pairing different guys from different states together in his B.A.S.S. events, and you had no idea ahead of time who you would draw. Would have been a mess pairing a troller with a caster, and trying to equally share the boat operation. Plus, I think he envisioned a ‘mano y mano,’ two guys standing together and competing scenario. 

 

There was also the Buck Perry/Eisenhower deal which possibly played into it if history is accurate.

 

If you think about it, bass tournaments are about the only events that do ban it. Crappie, walleye, catfish, and muskie events allow it, as do most all saltwater tourneys.

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7 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

a system of 'strolling' can be extremely effective;

Its very effective for other species as well.  My experience with it is in the walleye realm.  My parents often use down riggers, lead core, or planer boards with crank baits to cover water, adjust their depth, and spread the presentation out when fish are scattered.  Using a boat with tiller steering is more suited for it than one with a console.

 

Needless to say its right up there with bobber fishing in my book.  You can quite often put your feet up, turn on the radio, crack open a beer, and just wait for who knows how long.

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Having came from a saltwater background where trolling is quite popular. There's a lot more to it than just dragging a lure along a random path.

 

During the 70s Toledo Bend was known as the MudBug capital of the world. They weren't talking crawfish!

 

Arbogast MudBug & Heddon Hellbender were the most used.

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9 minutes ago, gimruis said:

Needless to say its right up there with bobber fishing in my book.  You can quite often put your feet up, turn on the radio, crack open a beer, and just wait for who knows how long.

Well, just like most bass fishing,

location plays a big role in success and that includes this deal.

If one simply 'starts' at the ramp and just drags baits across the lake all willy nilly

with no rhyme or reason, then I'd probably do something else.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

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While not actually trolling, there’s not much of a difference between trolling and the many, many times we ”drift” fished St Clair, dragging dropshots, Senkos and weighted plastics.  Before spotlock and using drift socks.   

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The world record Smallmouth was caught trolling.

Like any fishing technique you can put into trolling as much skill as you desire. Today’s trolling motors can follow specific depth contours a skill needed to be a good bass angler when trolling. Imo deep diving crank baits are ideal to troll for bass and a good method to teach anglers how a crank bait feels bumping bottom vs strikes as the lure stay in the strike zone.

With FSS and Livescope trolling would be a deadly combination.

Moving the boat using a trolling motor (strolling) vs a OB (trolling) are the same imo.

Tom 

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Interesting to see Spoonplugs mentioned. I was given a complete set that has never been wet. Maybe I should give them a try. 😉

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I am a closet troller & I admit it. When fishing new water or fishing big water without FFS or modern electronics it is also a good way to cover water & determine where the better structure is located. My take on why the bass community has banned it or looked down on it has to do with how successful it can be. Most good experienced trollers would compete very favorably if allowed to enter bass tournaments. @A-Jay mentioning strolling as an effective way to fish on big water & I couldn't agree more. Strolling a jerk bait is so much more effective than casting when fishing big water. First of all you never pull the bait out of the water to recast. The bait is in the water 100% of the time except to land fish. Long lining a bait will get it deeper than casting. Long lining a bait offers more stealth because the bait can be 200 plus feet behind the boat so the boat doesn't scare the fish. Trolling doesn't have to be boring if you have a plan & execute using it. What's great about the sport of fishing is you can approach any way you want. I personally like to fish whatever way gives me the most chance to accomplish my personal goals. 

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Bass tourneys ban it, I would imagine, because it’s crazy effective. Granted some of this hover strolling stuff I see on bass live and watching Josh jones cast then stroll around might as well be trolling, not sure where we draw the line there (he’s not in tournament just scanning and chasing targets). Also a bass boat will only go as slow as about 4 mph so they would have to troll with electric 

 

I love trolling but since I live in swift water it’s very tricky, too much debris coming down and constant snagging. It’s the opposite of boring , constant fiddling with getting snagged and dragging in grass blobs. Try running two rods and it’s absolute chaos, you will run over your line at some point. 
 

Now trolling deep open water is something I should do more often but I have more confidence slamming a bait into the river bottom at 2-3 mph. I look forward to trying the open depths but when I’m with a friend I don’t subject them to trolling and I almost always bring a friend 
 

 

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4 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

not sure where we draw the line there

Local bass tournaments here often have a clause in the rules that say "no trolling with the main outboard."

 

I'm not sure how BASS words it for their events specifically, but for events here you could legally troll with the bow mount if you wanted to.  I imagine you'd burn up a lot of battery power doing it for hours on end though, especially if there's current or waves to deal with in a big heavy fiberglass bass boat.

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1 hour ago, Dwight Hottle said:

I am a closet troller & I admit it. When fishing new water or fishing big water without FFS or modern electronics it is also a good way to cover water & determine where the better structure is located. My take on why the bass community has banned it or looked down on it has to do with how successful it can be. Most good experienced trollers would compete very favorably if allowed to enter bass tournaments. @A-Jay mentioning strolling as an effective way to fish on big water & I couldn't agree more. Strolling a jerk bait is so much more effective than casting when fishing big water. First of all you never pull the bait out of the water to recast. The bait is in the water 100% of the time except to land fish. Long lining a bait will get it deeper than casting. Long lining a bait offers more stealth because the bait can be 200 plus feet behind the boat so the boat doesn't scare the fish. Trolling doesn't have to be boring if you have a plan & execute using it. What's great about the sport of fishing is you can approach any way you want. I personally like to fish whatever way gives me the most chance to accomplish my personal goals. 

I believe that most bassheads would be truly aghast if they knew just how

remarkably effective this deal really is.

I know I was. 

To the best of my knowledge, you pioneered this technique and it seemed purely out of necessity.

So much water, So many Giant Brown Bass, so little time.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

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1 hour ago, Catt said:

Having came from a saltwater background where trolling is quite popular. There's a lot more to it than just dragging a lure along a random path.

 

Trolling is the primary method used when fishing for large offshore fish.  The open ocean is basically a desert.   Currents change the ecosystem making the location of bait fish the main challenge.  It is not uncommon to troll for days or even weeks before encountering a large billfish.  Once the fish have been located, baiting them with live bait is the most effective.

 

 

Marlin.jpg

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2 hours ago, Captain Phil said:

It is not uncommon to troll for days or even weeks before encountering a large billfish.

 

You're correct but billfish are not the only species trolled for.

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1 hour ago, wvhunt said:

I always found it boring, but growing up I watched my dad catch quite a few bass trolling a Hellbender.

Thats what got the world record smallie, one ounce short of 12 lbs 

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I have never trolled for bass but, I have caught bass trolling for musky. Anyone who thinks trolling is easy or mindless has never done it correctly. It’s mentally exhausting. I ran a 4 rod spread no planer boards. Two down and two out. Knowing exactly what speed to run these baits how much line to get out where to put them in the spread has an insane amount of thought. Than are you targeting structure or bait? To completely different ways to troll. I want my baits at pretty close to an exact depth. No just mindlessly dragging baits. 

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