Trolling for Striped Bass
What you need to know to help make your trolling experience a success.
1. A good skipper. While trolling for stripers you may encounter tight or hazardous conditions. This is why a good skipper is at the top of the list.
2. A boat. Doesn't matter how big or small, you do need to know what your draft is and be able to maneuver it quickly as you move through and around changing water conditions.
3. A good depth/fish finder to let you know the depth of water that you are in and where the fish are. While trolling near tulles and rip rap you may not mark any fish on the finder but if you are at the right depth, they will find you.
4. Medium action rod is necessary to see the action of the lure as it moves through the water, to tell when moss or other debris is collecting on the lure or the line, and to absorb the shock of the strike. As debris collects it is important to reeling in and remove anything that has collected. The action of the lure is affected by even a small amount of debris.
5. Line counter/level wind reel. Line counter reels are much easier to use because you know exactly how much line in out. It is crucial to know where your lure is at all times. With the level wind, you must find out how much line is released with each pass of the line guide. In most cases it is 10 feet. But check it out for yourself. Pull out ten feet of line and see how many times the line guide moves across the reel. The formula is to let out ten feet of line for each foot of water depth that you are fishing in. This will get your lure to within 2-3 feet of the bottom. Set the drag-adjust the tension to a snug drag. This helps to set the hook when the fish hits. If it is set to loosely, it won't set, too snug and the line can snap or hooks can straighten out. Once you set the drag leave it alone. The drag you troll with is the drag you fight with. Play the fish, don't horse it.
6. Fishing line should be a good quality line at 17# test. I use gold line because it is easier to see at the water line and makes it easier to keep track of 4 or 5 lines in the water. This is important if a lure gets off track and crosses over someone else line. You can catch it before it causes a tangled mess.
7. Lures should be checked for proper tracking before you start fishing. The direction can be adjusted by turning the screw at the bill in the opposite direction that the lure is off track. Turn ever so slightly. A little goes a long way. A deep diving Rebel is the choice of lure. The color that has worked consistently well is the Chartreuse with the red head with a rubber worm tail attached to the rear hook. Also used in conjunction with the Rebel is the hyper-striper- stump jumper 1 1/2-2oz jig. The spreader is a three-way swivel with 30# mono-filiment line. The Rebel is attached to a 32" section with a locking snap and the jig is attached to a 16" line section, with a locking snap. The snap makes it easier to change baits and they track better than if they were tied directly to the lure. The Rebel will go down about 12 feet all by itself. The jig helps to take it down a little more, you want to keep the baits within 3 feet of the bottom where the fish are feeding. The fish are not always hungry though, sometimes they are just aggressive and the sound of the rattle though the water triggers a strike.
8. Appropriate rod holders are necessary to keep the rod at a 90 degree angle to the line going into the water. Put the rod in the rod holder, set the clicker and wait. It is not necessary to hold the rod or to set the hook on a strike. When the fish hits, pick up the rod and start playing the fish. Others fishing need to reel in and get their gear out of the way.
9. Large net is needed to minimized injury to the fish, especially if it is hook and release. Small under- sized fish should be kept at water line and released. Never use a rag on a fish. It removes the protective slim that protects it from disease.
10. Needle nose pliers are a must for removing the hooks from the fish. Remove hooks in the opposite direction of entry. Don't tear the hooks from the fish, especially if it is hook and release. 11. Measuring tape is to make sure that the fish is a legal size fish. Minimum size for stripers is presently 18 inches. For the areas that have proven to be excellent trolling areas, come by the shop on the week-end and Don will mark you Delta map. Good luck and good fishing.
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