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Hi All - I just recently started a fishing tool company called SORD Fishing Products and I started writing posts on our website about blue water fishing specific to our area of the Gulf of Mexico. Here is the first one that I go in-depth about purchasing your first trolling setups, spooling them up, and what kind of lures you want to make sure you have before you go offshore. This is tailored to beginners and they will get more in-depth and detailed as I start diving into the topic deeper!

The time has finally come. It is a late Tuesday afternoon in the middle of summer, and you are already itching for the weekend so that you can get out on the water. You check the weekly forecast on your Windfinder App and see that it is going to be slick this weekend out on the Gulf of Mexico – the perfect time to try your hand at doing some offshore trolling.
SORD Fishing Products will be publishing one article a month that focuses on blue water trolling from center consoles for beginners and novices. These articles are meant to remove some of the cloud of confusion around trolling for pelagic species such as mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and the billfish assortment. They are written to be extremely precise. We are focused on being clear about our product recommendations and advice in these articles since we want you to know what has worked for us. It is meant to be a starting point and will give you a good base to jump off of as you dip your toes into offshore trolling.
One thing that we truly believe in here at SORD Fishing Products is that the details matter. We are hyper-focused on making sure every single detail has been covered and we feel that when you focus on the details, it causes you to catch more fish. There is nothing worse for us than losing fish due to a human error, so wherever possible, we have included small details that have been learned over time. These small details will make a huge difference between a good day on the water and a great day on the water.
Beginner Trolling Combos
There is an overwhelming number of trolling rod and reel choices out on the market today that it can make even the most seasoned blue water fisherman’s head spin. The amount of specifications out there is dizzying - wide spools, two speeds, single speeds, line ratios, max drags, braid capacity, and mono capacity. The two things that beginners really need are: (1) A conventional trolling reel that can hold at least 600 yards of line and (2) A rod that is a good for a wide variety of fish. Our recommendation below is based off of the “best bang for your buck” in terms of the combos.
  1. Shimano TLD 30IIA - $309.99
  2. Pinnacle Marine SRT Series Rod with Fuji SiC Ring Guides and RX Roller Top - $200
Luke Fighting Tuna.jpg

TLD30IIA.jpg

These combos will set you back about $510.00 each and we recommend having a minimum of four of them on board. You will be able to land the majority of the fish that you will run into on this combo.
Spooling Up the Reels
A very important part of trolling is making sure that the line is spooled onto your reel correctly using a high-tension line spooler. We would recommend taking your reels to a LOCAL tackle shop so that they can do this correctly. You will not get the same attention to detail at one of the big box stores and you might risk your line being put on the wrong way and losing a fish when you are offshore. There are two parts to getting the reels spooled up:
  1. Backing – 500 yards of 50# braided line
  2. Top Shot – Finished off with 60# mono
You will need to first spool up the reel with 500 yards of braided line which is what we call “backing”. This backing serves two purposes: (1) If a big fish hits a trolled bait, the backing will allow you enough line so that you do not get “spooled” and (2) You only need to replace the backing once every 5 years or so. The next part of the equation is going to be the monofilament top shot. This is the business end of the trolling line that will take the constant abuse that trolling puts on your gear. The monofilament should be replaced once a year.
Terminal Tackle
The most important terminal tackle for your trolling setups is to make sure that you have ball-bearing snap swivels connected to your mainline where you will attach your trolling lures on. There are tons of snap swivel makers out there but ensuring that your snap swivel is ball bearing will allow the swivel to freely “twist” while you are pulling lures behind the boat. If your lure starts to spin while pulling it, the ball bearing snap swivel will still spin. A traditional snap swivel will not spin under pressure and will cause your line to tangle up. Here are some good ones and we recommend the “Marlin” ones.
SPRO Ball Bearing Snap Swivels - Size 4
sprosnap.jpeg

You will attach the ball-bearing snap swivel to the end of your line monofilament line with whatever knot that you feel most comfortable tying.
Grabbing a Couple Trolling Lures
There is a wide range of lures out there in the world. Some are made to catch the angler much more than catching the fish. When we were first getting started in trolling, we spent countless dollars on trolling gear that looked awesome, but at the end of the day it did not produce. If we were getting started with a very simple and basic four rod spread, it would look like this:
  1. Deep diving plug – DTX Minnow Sinking 165
  2. Large trolling lure – Fathom Offshore Calico Jack 14”
  3. Small trolling lure #1 – Fathom Offshore Mo Head Chugger
  4. Small trolling lure #2 – Fathom Offshore Double O Small Trolling Lure
This is as much as the forum will allow me to copy and paste, to read more check it out at: https://www.sordtools.com/where-the-map-turns-blue-blog/beginner-bluewater-and-offshore-trolling-gear-advice
 
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