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I would like to try trolling for Kings off the beaches near Pensacola. Have spent a decent amount of time doing research but still have some questions.

What rod and reel setups are best? Spinning vs conventional? Is braid fine?

For trolling with Mann’s stretch 25s, do you need a wire or thick mono leader or can you tie the main line directly to the lure? With those lures, I’m guessing I don’t need a planer or trolling weight?

For trolling live or dead weight, is it best on top or with a planer/weight? I will Have live pinfish or frozen menhaden, can I use those? Would it be best to stop by a buoy in the pass and use a sabiki to get some live bait?

Appreciate the help
 

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Live bait is best. Best around here is cigar minnows , menhaden , mullet, hardtails
You can add a small weight to your wire it but if your fishing under 40-50ft of water probably don’t need a weight. Deeper water best to work the water columns.
Spinning or conventional is fine but mono is more important. Sure you can catch them on braid just more successful with mono! Would prefer conventional setup but not saying a spinner wouldn’t boat them.
 

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Braid is thinner, so your lure will go deeper because of the smaller diameter of the line, and I'd use a fluorocarbon leader or solid coffee wire leader with it.
Yes, you can tie lure directly to main line, if you want. I'd chech for abrasions up to about 10' on the main line, cut and re-tie as necessary after each run.
Either Or on the choice of rods, depending on what you are targeting. I use a freshwater 12' fly rod with a mitchell 300 reel spooled with 12# mono and coffee wire for kings, and larger spinning reels when trolling and a 6/0.
Smoker kings are Heavily laden in High levels of Mercury is why I don't care to keep them anymore.
Most are temperamental, and if you're trolling too slow, too fast, too deep, too shallow, wrong bait, bait twisting and rolling, etc., then you're wasting your time, not to mention wasting fuel. But finding the right presentation will net gratifying results.
I personally prefer floating for kings, aj, snapper, etc. And it seems everyone in Destin trolls. I've anchored, floating cigs with 4 lines out, and every time a boat trolled by me, all 4 of my reels would sing out, each with nice kings between 15-25# each. Plenty big enough for me (back then). I'm figuring those boats were all trolling too fast and when the kings seen my cig floating along, tired of chasing that lure, they nailed the easier food.
Trolling stretch 25's, I'd use coffee colored solid wire or fluorocarbon leader and appropriate sized coffee swivels.
I've changed out silver trebles for coffee colored saltwater trebles. I've even used a permanent black magic marker to blacken my trebles, then used shrimp gel on the hooks. In my mind the gel would mask the marker's ink scent. Maybe it was the gel and not the black hooks they liked?
Big Kings seemingly do not like silver shiny stuff where it shouldn't be on live/dead bait. Not saying kings won't hit the silver trebles, they will, But I prefer black, and think they do too as I've got more hits with black hooks and wire than silver.
My best advice if you're going to troll, go on youtube and look at some videos on how to keep bait from rolling/spinning while trolling for a more natural presentation.
As far as presentation, there's usually no problem when trolling artificials, unless you're trolling too fast or using too small of a swivel, which both can cause the lure to spin in circles and twist your line.
g/l
 
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