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MONDAY, JULY 2, 2007
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Trolling makes fishing in heat easier to take

On hot summer days when the wind is low and you have a great urge to go fishing, give trolling a try. Pulling a few lures behind your boat at slow speeds at least will put some sort of breeze in your face while giving you an excellent chance to catch a few fish.

Recently, a friend asked if I would write about some freshwater trolling techniques. There are so many different techniques that you can use, but here are a few that have worked for me.

My favorite style of trolling is to work points for white bass, hybrid stripe, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

First, I must decide where I want to troll and what lures to use. The easy part is deciding where to go. As for the lures, I prefer to perform a few experiments.

When choosing what lures work best, I pick out four that I feel might attract attention and I rig up four rod-and-reel outfits. Using spinning rigs is fine, but I always have fixed up a few baitcasters for this task. I have found no difference one way or the other as to whether a spinning or baitcasting outfit works best. Either one can be fine-tuned to make a lure run any way you wish.

If Iím testing an area around rock points on Wheeler or Wilson Lake, normally I will try two different crankbaits, one swimming jig and a swimming spoon. Iím frequently asked why I always say swimming spoon, when warm-weather states donít find anglers working jigging spoons often. Then again, that all depends on the angler.

With my crankbaits, I choose two different colors and of course, two different depths. I prefer one crankbait to run in the 4- to 8-foot range and the other 10 to 15 feet.

I make sure my deepest crankbait is always on the side of my boat that faces deeper water. If you donít do this, losing expensive crankbait lures becomes an easy thing to do.

When trying to figure out what jig to use, you have to remember that the tail or trailer you choose is going to determine the action of the bait. Most of the time I use a torpedo or football lead-head painted white or red.

Either one of these glides through the water easily and allows the trailer to do the work.

White and chartreuse-colored (twistertail-type) trailers attract attention a lot of the time so I normally focus on those when Iím deciding my trolling pattern.

As far as which swimming spoon to use, there are so many on the market today that you can almost close your eyes and pick out an excellent one.

Iíve found that a three-inch, chrome/red swimming spoon catches most of my fish when trolling.

After figuring out your pattern, you must decide what speed to use. Again, the only way to find out what works best is to experiment.

Most of my trolling trips are three-to-four hours in length.

It takes me 45 minutes or so to select my lures and depths and what pattern Iím going to use trailing the boat.

When putting out your spread, select a fairly loose drag or you will end up breaking a rod. I prefer to set up rod holders, but if you have children on the boat, itís a good idea to let them hang on to the rod for a while with the warning to hang on tight. Doing this helps keep their attention, and if they get bored, which they will quite easily, fix up a place for them to sit the rod down.

Something else to consider when trolling with children is to attach a lifeline of sorts to the rod-and-reel outfit.

Attaching a 10- to 15-foot section of duck decoy cord to the rod has saved a few outfits for me, and it could just make your day a little bit brighter should an accident happen.

Once you get a strike, work the fish in slowly so you donít to injure your catch.

Itís one thing if you plan on eating the fish, but if you plan on a catch-and-release day, take it easy.

When trolling, have plenty of sandwiches, bottled water and a radio on board. This makes for a fun day when you decided to ride and fish at the same time.

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Paul Stackhouse
Outdoors
Paul Stackhouse

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