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Old 08-20-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
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Default How to troll...

So i have 3 or 4 stretch lures and they are rigged with wire leader and one with 175 lb mono. I was wondering if anyone can give me some advice on how to catch wahoo, mahi,and all the other fish caught trolling. Location and how to do it even when i don't see weed lines.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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Jeff...when you figure out how to catch fish on a stretch anything you will have to give me some lessons. I have NEVER caught anything on a stretch!! Good luck man.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by marmidor View Post
Jeff...when you figure out how to catch fish on a stretch anything you will have to give me some lessons. I have NEVER caught anything on a stretch!! Good luck man.
Troll the diving lures at a speed that will keep the lures behind the boat and not out to the side. If they ride to the side, thay may need tuned.... They will troll diffrernt if they have wire leader or the heavy mono. if you don't catch something on them this trip, try again next trip. They work..... Vary the speed, Watch the rod tip to ensure your getting the max action from the lure. Thats the sweet spot. the more jumping the rod tip the better, that is putting a good thumping vibration into the water......
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:08 PM   #4
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Lighten up on the tackle. I like 50 lb Power Pro tied directly to the stretch. It has to be light and without swivels and knots to run right. Troll at 4 or 5 knots. Keep changing colors and direction until you find them. Nuff said, good luck.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:11 PM   #5
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Some stuff from a while back....
Bluewater trolling part 1…….. “Before you go”…..

For me, Bluewater trolling is probably one of the most obsessive sports I could ever imagine. It also can be one of the most rewarding. From prepping equipment and baits to the run out to the actual fishing and hopefully catching and return home, it absolutely is totally obsessive.
It usually starts with a phone call innocent enough. “Water is looking good, you in?”. Now the studying part. Pull up the forecast. Look at 10 different marine forecasts and weather sites. Touch base with other guys who have been out recently. Check web sites for reports. Pull Hiltons, or Ripcharts or Roffs up. Study them like a Bar exam.
I tend to do a bunch of averaging for open water. Look at all and see where each one shows good water first, (blue). Find an area all agree on. Start looking at the current and temp breaks. I personally like basing my trips on current and direction as much as temp breaks. The ideal one is a nice loop of deep blue coming up in a counterclockwise rotation into blue-green or green. If possible, the 2 o’clock position in that. That leading edge is gonna be where the shots are. It also is usually a temp break too. So you kill two birds with one rock.
Next, where is that located? Is it, say, the Spur, or the weather buoy 115nm out? Gotta be realistic. Time to figure fuel. A good rule of thumb is, a quarter tank running out, quarter tank fishing and a quarter tank running home. I know it doesn’t always go that way. Running in from say 80 miles out and having to go around a couple thunderstorms or through them in higher seas is gonna eat up fuel. So keep that in mind when planning.
Next, check on the crew. We have pretty much a core crew with room for one or two on occasion. Works good that way. We set the time and frame we intend to fish. I have a primary angler, wire man, gaff dude and spotter. That pretty much is what is the “must” part of the crew. Communicate with each and see what they are bringing for groceries. Especially for a multi-day trip. You don’t want to have 74 pieces of fried chicken, 2 biscuits and 3 packs of cheese crackers. Mix it up. Each one bring something. Fried chicken is really good because of the ease of eating it. Grab and go. Sammiches also are prime fare. Tater salad or pasta or slaw is real easy to prep and store too. Ease of preparation is the key. For multiday or overnight trips, a grill is good. Nothing like a hot meal!
So, we looked at the conditions, rounded up the crew and communicated what groceries we are bringing, what next? The normal stuff to take. Sunscreen, advil, any other meds you need, Fluids, i.e. drinks, extra clothes and personal items. Batteries for cameras, baggies, knives, a couple towels and a pillow. Now, the human is ready to go.

What next?? In part 2…..

Bluewater Fishing part 2….Equipment Selection and Prep….

Now, you got ready, you know where you want to go, got your groceries and crew. Now what? Time for the equipment. When selecting a reel and rod for trolling, you need to keep a few things in mind. What are you targeting? What methods are you using? You and your crews comfort level.
The target. Are you meat fishing for wahoo and dolphin or heading to the rigs for tuna or straight up billfishing? With the meatfish trip, say, targeting wahoo and dolphin, 30# class tackle is ample. Odds are you are not gonna get spooled. You need to think about what kind of reel you are gonna need. With trolling, the preferred reel is a lever drag. Why? Because you can set them to run a given amount of drag. Usually around 1/3 of the breaking point of the line you are running. For example, if you are running 50# tackle, you would want to be at about 17# drag on the preset drag at strike. That said, if a fish gets on, no matter how big, if your equipment is functioning properly, it would be able to take line without breaking it. Using a “star” drag reel, you don’t have that ability. You limit yourself to one drag setting. The lever drag also allows you to vary you drag from freespool to full without losing the strike setting.
Brand of reel selection is entirely up to the owner. You can spend as little or as much as you want. A good setup can be a, for example, TLD-50WLRS on a factory rod to an Accurate 50 on a custom rod. Same class tackle only they are several hundred dollars apart. Go with whatever you are comfortable with. There are die-hard fans on any brand of reel. What suits Joe Schmo may not appeal at all to Harry Palm.
Heavier tackle fishing. Say you are gonna go tuna fishing at the rigs. Do you really want to fish for Yellowfin with 30# tackle? You can, but, you gonna be there a long time. You also increase the chances of being spooled or wrapped and cut off on the rig structure. Generally speaking, 50 and 80 pound tackle is used for this application. Remember, if you are resting, it is too. Long drawn out fights also increase the odds of something going wrong like the fish throwing the hook.
Open water is different. If in deeper water, you want to consider 50 and 80 pound tackle. Purely to end the fight faster and less stress on the fish if you have a bill. If in shallower water, say, under 600 feet, you can easily downsize due to the fish being unable to sound on you and spool you. For example, during the fall, billfish are readily caught along the Edge in less than 400 feet. Add some decent boat handling skills and this can be a blast.
Setting the drag. Put the reel lever drag on “strike”. Pull off the appropriate amount of line to attach a set of drag scales to. First, secure the tag end and wind down hard. Do this for about 10 seconds at a fast pace. It simulates a fish taking line thus warming up the drag washers. Then attach the scales. Pull the line several feet. Check the scales. As stated before, 1/3 line test on preset drag.
Once the drag is set, tie your preferred knot to attach your swivel or wind on leader. This is usually a Bimini knot. Now, if you are using a swivel, attach it. You can use a Cat’s Paw for this. I prefer a Tuna knot. The reason being, if I lose one “leg” of the bimini, it will not pull the knot loose.
Now, your reels are ready.

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Old 08-20-2012, 10:13 PM   #6
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Bluewater fishing part 3….Last but not least before you go…..

Now, Reels are done, you know where you want to go, weather is cooperative, final check time. Engines, are all fluid levels and filters good? Tank full? All safety equipment on board? Up to and including pfd’s, raft, epirb and all other equipment. I cannot stress how important safety is enough. A few other safety thoughts. Small set of bolt cutters, do you have any onboard? If not, get some. Say you get a 10/0 hook buried in your hand, foot, arm, etc. How are you gonna remove it? One method is to push the hook on through till the barb is fully exposed. Then, completely cut the barb off with the bolt cutters. You can then push the hook back through. I have seen varying levels of first aid kits on different vessels. From the basic one to a full surgical kit. You can never have too much safety equipment. Also, keep plenty of spare bottled water. We always have a spare case or two stowed away.
Now, assuming all food, gear, clothes, food, tackle…etc, are onboard, time to crank em’ up and get on your way. I will skip the part about navigating out far as the running part. I will touch on a couple of points though. If you are “9 knottin’” out overnight to conserve fuel, a couple of things. Take turns on the wheel if possible and get some rest. We usually go in 2 hour shifts. Keeps fresh eyes on the radar and other electronics. Now, say I am an hour into my shift and I gotta pee. I will wake someone up to make sure while I am peeing off the back of the boat I don’t fall off. Not every run out is calm. A lot of times we have two people up, that is even better. One of the side benefits, at least to me, is the night scenery. You get far enough offshore that you don’t have any background light, the sky is absolutely gorgeous. Stars all the way to the horizon, and I mean right down to the water. On a glassy calm night this is a treat. I have seen porpoises cruise with us for hours at a time either just in front of the bow or in the wake close to the boat. It can be so quiet you can hear them blowing when they are getting air. Or see them waiting for us to spook flyers and then they chase em’ down and eat em’. Like having your own personal aerobatic show.

Watch your charts and be aware of where the shipping lanes are. Some of the cargo ships do haul ass! Don’t count on them changing course. Especially, say, 0300 in the morning. They will be moving right along. Watch for other vessels headed in the same direction and returning from the same direction. Stay aware of your surroundings!
One of the best parts is rolling out the crew on a calm morning just as you are arriving where you want to fish. Nothing like a sunrise on a calm morning say 80 miles out. Nothing beats that. It’s a living postcard everytime.
Next….Time to fish!!

Bluewater fishing part 4….Getting the spread out…

Man, I love this part. The sun is breaking the horizon. The riggers are laid out, reels are in place, time to put out the spread. But, first things first. Say we are running all 80’s. We usually pull a 6 line spread. First, get the reels in position, corners, rigger lines and the center lines. Get the safety lines attached to the reels. The safety lines are attached to the cleats and chair on Bodacious. Attach them anywhere you like, just be sure to have them onboard. I have seen reels snatched out of the gunnel and suspended in air and pulled them back by the safety line. Especially 30# tackle or so. We usually run one short corner, one long corner, two long riggers, a wayback and a mousetrap, two teasers on the short riggers and a corner teaser in front of the long corner. First thing in the morning seems to have a good feel to me. Sets the tone for the day. Nothing like a good bite inside the first minutes, especially a bill. Daylight is also a good time to get an open water yellowfin tuna bite. With this in mind, if you observe a few big tuna busting around you, consider running some smaller baits off the riggers and set them a little farther back than normal. Small, straight running lures seem to do the best for this. Now, for a regular spread. Say we are fun fishing. We may have 2 or 3 combo baits out. (ballyhoo/lure) Trip usually has those brined the night before. He will scale, brine, squeeze the poop out of them and get them in brine a minimal of 8 hours in advance. Get them on a perforated tray and on ice ready for use, generally 2 to 3 dozen. We like medium and selects on our ballyhoo size, but each to their own.

We’ll start at the corners. The short corner is usually the largest lure. Something that makes a large smoke trail and violent action goes good here, say, something like a Bart Blue Breakfast or something of that caliber. Feed this one out to where the prop wash first starts to push up clean water. Usually about 20 feet back total from the transom. On the other corner a teaser with a lure running behind it. Personal preference here,with say a fender teaser, witch doctor or bowling pin teaser. Place a little smaller lure about 5 feet behind the teaser. That is gonna be about 30 feet total. Next, long riggers, medium and smaller baits run here, usually behind and outside of a squid chain, they seem to be a chase bait that way. Each crew seems to have a favorite set of lures for this position. Next, the wayback runs off the center rigger. If you don’t have a center rigger you can run it from a rod holder behind the leaning post or t-top rod holder. I have eve run them from a spare rod and reel on the spreader up top with a release clip. We tend to use #64 rubber bands to attach the line. I know of a few times boats have tangled clips and broke riggers when a fish bit. That is just our preference, each to they own though. Then we run a mousetrap. This line is located down the middle a little farther than the long corner and a tad shorter than the long riggers. You can omit this one easily on a smaller spread like a 5 line on a center console. Not a problem. Now, clear any unnecessary items from the deck. A clear deck is a safe deck. Each person on that deck should have an assigned duty, which lines to clear, where to put the lures/leaders/reels when you get a fish on, where the teasers go, safety lines and anything else that may be in the way. Now, we is ready to fish!

Next….Lure selection.......
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:14 PM   #7
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Bluewater fishing part 5…..What Oh What to Pull???

One of the questions I hear the most is, “what lure do you use to catch a marlin?”..or tuna, or wahoo or dolphin….etc… There is no “silver bullet”. No one lure is guarantueed. I firmly believe if you put a lure in front of a hungry fish and he is ready to feed, he is gonna eat. Granted, I have my favorites, that’s true. First, there are combo baits, Islanders, Williamson lures, Sea Witches, Pearl Babies…etc. Ilanders are one of the most popular lures out there. These are ideal for combo baits. Take time to learn how to properly rig a ballyhoo to use these. Rigged and run properly, they are very effective lure. They are especially effective on the long riggers and the wayback. Other lure heads and designs are readily available. I personally like to window shop at I get a lot of ideas there. Some of the basic shapes of heads are slant, concave, pushers, round, tubes, angled and flat. Each one creates a particular action on the lure. The slant heads tend to have a lesser side to side motion but come to the top often and catch air for a smoke trail. Tend to run fairly straight. A plunger is a good example. A concave does exactly what you would think it would, violent dives and erratic action with a huge smoke trail. A Moldcraft Super Chugger is a perfect example. A round head is just that, like a bullet. Not a huge smoke trail at all. Needs to be run in clean water. Nice shake, good for tuna. Tubes are a no frills, straighrt running, decent smoke trail fish catcher. Good on the riggers in clean water. Angled lures are one of my favorites. They tend to have a moderate side to side motion and tend to have a good smoke trail. They also run good in pretty much any position, just vary the size. Look at the Black Bart 1656 angle to get an idea of how an angle lure looks. Flats are just that, flat faced. The Marlin Magic Ahi Pussy Hi Speed is a good example. This one gets called the “Fish-O-Matic” by some people. Great rigger lure. A lot of these heads also come “jetted”, as in the head has inserts all the way through to allow bubbles to form or run truer. You can spend as much or as little as you desire. Lures range from 5 bucks up to well over a hundred a pop. In my experience, a pretty, blingy lure catches more anglers than fish. As for myself, one of my favorite lures is a Moldcraft, I have several. One of my crew even calls them “sex toys” because of the all soft plastic construction. Don’t matter, they catch fish, and that’s what counts. Another thing, the hooksets there are a few different kinds. Double hooksets, single hooksets, 180 degree offsets, 90 degree offsets. You have to experiment with these and see what works best for you. Now you are ready to pick out the lures for your own personalized spread!

Next….Fish On!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bluewater Fishing....part 6......Fish On!!!!

Now the wait. First, the Captain has to find the fish, then the crew has gotta trick one into biting. Usually you revert to part one here and look for a line, rip, color change, etc. Assuming you find that, get after it! Line up on the clean side and start working down or up it. pay close attention to the spread and see if it looks right. If you are trolling with the current and it is hauling ass, you may have to bump it up to 8, 8 1/2 knots to get the action you want out of the lures. Pay attention to that in particular. If the lures are not running like they are supposed to, less chance at a shot. When you turn around and head back up the line, your speed may drop to 6 knots. Don't fret, it's the current! Watch them lures! If you are going to fast the lures will be jumping out of the water more than running in it. Vise versa going down current, if they look like they are just coming along behind you with no popping and smoking, speed it up. Ok, now it's time to start looking, and I mean for bait. No bait?, no fish. It may look good, but, if there's no bait, move along. Look for activity. Look for feeding fish, no matter how small or large. Nothing like a marlin ripping through a school of superchickens to get your blood pumping. Don't be afraid to venture off the line to a solitary board or log or piece of debris. They can hold bait and pelagics too. When you do stumble up on a board, log, etc, look for growth on the floatie. Longer it has been in the water, the more growth it will have and better chances of a pelagic hanging out. Never be complacent, always be aware of what you are fishing by. I have seen fish pop up under the spread and "window shop" plenty of times. The guys on the deck have the responsibility of capitalizing on these opportunities. A well placed pitch bait or dropback can be paramount to success here.
Ok, you got one hooked up, now what? Each person on the deck should already have a job. For example, 3 on the deck. One is gonna get the rod with the fish, they are the angler. One on starboard and port idealy to clear lines. Clear the ones nearest the fish first, avoid tangles. Clear the rods out of the way, rack em' up top or wherever you need to, just be sure the deck is clear. Now you are fighting the fish. Be sure and have a wireman and gaff man picked out, it will be up to them to get the fish safely onboard, tagged or released. Each should be gloved up, back to safety. The wireman should never be without a cutout tool in thier pocket or within arms reach, preferabaly on thier person. You get a pissed off 400# fish on a 400# leader and you get tangled up in the leader and pulled over, you best have a cutout tool. The alternative is drowning, period. The wireman is responsible for getting the leader and fish under control and presentation of the fish for gaffing or tagging or release. The gaffman is just that, the gaffer. They also are responsible for the tag stick and tagging. Wiredude brings it in, gaffdude gaffs...simple as that. After gaffdude gaffs fish and brings it onboard, they are also responsible for keeping the fish under control on the deck too. Wiredude needs to get the fishbox, coffin box, ice chest ready too. Angler gets out of the way. Now, if everything is done correctly, you have boated, gaffed, tagged and released a good fish!

Some traditions or suspictions must be observed or adhered to.

No bananas!

Pay the toll to the sea!

The tall boy Bud at 6 am.

The dance......

Now, go catch a damn fish!!!!!

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Old 08-20-2012, 10:25 PM   #8
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NO BANANAS!!! I love it!! I have caught plenty of whoos on yo zuri Cajun yaps, bonitos and trimblers but I'll be danged if I could catch my a$$ with both hands when it comes to a streach. Thanks For the great lesson.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:31 PM   #9
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"Stars all the way to the horizon..."

My Dad would say that's why you want to be a good boy . . . if Heaven is better than this, I gotta see it.

Thanks for a good read, Downtime.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:01 AM   #10
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Great post & advise, pretty much sums it up. Thanks!
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