I will be doing my first year of trolling this year, I was wondering if I needed to use inline weights on umbrellas rigs and or tandems. I assume it depends on how deep you are fishing. My guess would be 30-40ft. I will be fishing with 5 rods to start with
Yes, in-line weights in front of umbrella rigs is a productive technique. Variables to consider include your boat, current, line type, and rod angle, but with 5 rods in 30'+ of water, a good starting point might be something like a 20oz. (out 50') and 10 oz. (out 100') on one side, and a 16oz. (out 70') and a 6 oz. (out 120') on the other side, then a 0-2 oz. (out 150'+) down the middle. Set the longest line first, the the next longest, etc. setting the shortest line last. Tangles happen when you set a line out - that is when you need to be most careful. Try trolling at a speed of around 2.4 - 2.9 knots. If lighter lines get bit for you, lighten things up bit, if deep lines are getting but you can heavy up the light ones. 4" shads as teasers significantly reduce the drag an umbrella produces, if you are finding them painful, don't hesitate to swap out most or all of the 6" teasers for 4" teasers. 6" tsunami or Storm baits work great behind umbrellas, as do jig heads with shads, or bucktails with shads. Can't go wrong with chartruese, white works well too. Hope you hear some drags screaming soon!
I assume you are looking for a fall spread. I run 4 rods on my boat. Currently I use the following spread:
Rod 1 - White Umbrella, 20 oz, 1/2 oz white bucktails with white twister tails - 4 bars back
Rod 2 - Chartreuse Umbrella, 20 oz, 1/2 oz chartreuse bucktails with chartreuse twister tails - 5 bars back
Rod 3 - #1 planer with #2 drone - 10 bars back
Rod 4 - #1 planer with #2 drone - 12 bars back
You can swap out the Drones for Tonys or John Whitman spoons. Pick the color spoon you like. One of the Drones is always black with gold tape on it.
If you are using braid on your trolling rods be careful. The braid will cut you quick especially with the pressure an umbrella exerts.
As the season progresses and the blues leave I go to storms just rgardn2 says. I will swap the planers out and use spreaderbars or use a tandem storm/calcutta on rods 3 & 4. The weights can be from 10oz to 6oz depending on what I see on the meter.
I use trolling as a prospecting tool. It allows me to cover water and figure out what is going on. I especially like it if I have fishermen on board that don't fish that often. I really like the above setup because if I see working birds or come across a concentrated school of fish I can rack'em and stack'em quick and go to jigging.