Trolling - Fishing Techniques

trolling-lure1Trolling is a fishing technique with one or more lines (with baits or lures) which are drawn through the water. This may be done by pulling the line behind a slow moving boat, or by slowly winding the line in, when fishing from the land or an anchored boat.

Trolling is used to catch not only pelagic fish such as mackerel and kingfish but also species like European sea bass, saddled seabream, garfish (sea needle) etc.

Trolling Baits and Lures

Trolling baits and lures vary greatly, depending on desired fish, weather, trolling speed and other factors.

Baits can be various smaller fish species or even pieces of fish meat. Lures are made from metal, plastic, or natural materials like feathers or even fish skin. My favorite trolling baits are:

prawn-2Prawns - prawns can be used dead or alive. Prawns are easy to catch (small traps or any similar equipment), stay alive for long period of time and numerous predatory species will strike with no or almost no hesitation.

Usually, prawns are hooked from the tail, trying not to damage their vital organs. Rigs with a small float and a single hook are great for trolling from the shore and in shallow waters, even from anchored boat using rods and reels - practically any fish in these waters will strike such bait. Prawns hooked by the tail will live long and 'jump' around, teasing fish to strike.

 mullet-bait-1Small mullets and similar smaller fish species - these fishes are hooked using at least two hooks, one for the tail and one for the back/mouth. If you are trolling relatively fast, than hooking for/through the mouth is recommended (again, don't take this as absolute truth as things vary ...). Hooked mullet can live for long period of time and with it's moves provoke fish to strike. Again, trolling with rods and reels from shore or anchored boats can yield in great catches...

 weever-baitSalted fish skin - this is fantastic trolling bait, not used very often. Practically, take around one half a kilo weever fish (also known as 'weaver', but as far as I know, they are 'weevers' not 'weavers') and using scalpel strip off the fish skin (beware those nasty spines), add some sea salt on the inner side of the skin and leave the skin a week or two in the fridge to dry. You can leave it even outside, but I prefer slow drying in the fridge (don't throw away skinned fish - weevers are great tasting fish species!). After skin is totally dry, using sharp scissors cut out fish like shapes of desired sizes. Rig them using single hooks (or more - give a try, have fun!) and enjoy your fishing ...

 Of course, there are numerous other baits and lures that can be used for trolling. Plastic lures are growing in popularity last few decades and they look and feel more and more like live fish they represent when in water ...

Trolling Speed

Trolling speed is a speed of pulling the bait or lure through the water. It can be as high as 15 knots, but usually trolling is done at much lower speeds - 2-4 or even less, knots.

When trolling with live bait for tuna or marlins, trolling speed is high, but when trolling for mackerel and similar fish species on locations that they are present, much lower speeds are desired, especially when trolling with live baits - mackerel has plenty of time to detect and strike live bait and when present in numbers and hungry, they compete for every fish (bait, lure) they can find ...

Trolling Positions

Trolling positions depends on fish we are trying to catch. Often, it depends where we are, what equipment we have and how much spare time we have.

seagullWhen trolling from the shore, beware of signs that can tell you that there are predatory species around - for example, small fishes near surface fast swimming in all directions (even jumping above the surface) can be a sign of some predator just feeding. Sometimes, piece of bread thrown some 15-20 meters away, can lure some mullets and other similar fishes and then often one can spot larger shadows looking for opportunity to strike smaller fish.

When trolling from the boat, one can use sonars and similar equipment and search for fish. Also, by watching seagulls and other sea birds one can determine where smaller fish (sardines, for example) are located - and where there are, for example, sardines, there are almost always larger fish going after them ...