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Hey guys,
As we sit at our desks watching the wind blow I thought of a few tips which I have picked up along the way. They are minor but help out big time when trolling.

They are not tips designed to catch more fish, but rather systematic tips which should make your process of trolling easier. Most of them have been taught to me by guys who troll every day. Rightly so, their thinking is that by saving 5 minutes each time you go trolling you save yourself 16 hours of work at the end of a year if you troll 200 times that year.

So here goes:

1. Marking lines. . . I am not going to get into counting bars vs marking lines, but, if you do mark lines try and make the marks super super obvious. Try wrapping your line in thread or tying yarn around your line. That way, if you are letting your lines out first thing in the morning before dawn and it is dark out you can just feel for the mark instead of actually seeing the mark. Also, just tell your buddies to put their fingers between the line and when they feel a big mark, you're there. A lot easier than watching for a dark spot on a line. This could save a lot of time and aggrevation so your buddies don't let the rods out too far into another rod.

This tip is invaluable when trolling alone with planer boards. I have to keep my eyes on where I am going, not on my reel as I let out a 400 foot roof rod!

2. Spooling reels. . . For short rods like my 55's I will only put like 150 feet of line on the entire reel. The reason is simple. The less line you have on a reel, the more torque that reel has. It's like gears on a bicycle, the smaller the cog, the easier it is to pedal. When reeling up a rod with 32 ounces and a 6 arm 22" umbrella rig, you need all the help you can get. I put enough line on to make sure I have enough time to get to the rod in the back of the boat or enough to make sure if I break off on a crab pot or the bottom I have enough line to keep using that reel one more time before I have to respool and remark it that evening.

2A More torque hints. . . Penn Senator reels have two handle placements. They come from the factory with the wimpy setting. Take the handle off and move it to the hole further out. You get yourself a longer handle with a lot more torque this way.



3. Rod placement. . . this may be a stretch for those who don't do it every day or several times a week but having dedicated rods for dedicated holders makes a lot of sense. For one, how many times have you been driving the boat when the drag peels for a second but you don't get the hook up. You look back and try to find out which rod went down, but you couldn't tell so you don't know which one to check. After reeling two or three up you find out the third one was the one that got the hit. The hair is wrapped up and the shad is bent around the hook. . .

By having dedicated spots you will eventually learn to hear your clickers. Believe it or not, each clicker has a slightly different sound. When I first started working on the Miss Susie, Greg told me this and I didn't believe him. He closed his eyes while I went back and yanked on a rod. Time and time again he told me which rod it was. I even switched rod placemrnt (like put the 165 where the 200 normally was) and he could tell me which reel was making the racket and tell me it was on the wrong side of the boat. He's just that tuned in. After a few years I can now distinquish a few of my reels, but I am getting better.

Also by having dedicated rods you can label the rods and the holders so your buddy knows where to put a rod that has been removed for whatever reason.

Also by using dedicated rods and dedicated rigs on the rod it is very simple to tune in. Say, that 165 caught well with this rig yesterday when the (obvious) mark was ten feet from the tip. Or, that rig caught well yesterday 8 and a half bars back. You get the idea, several times one rig catches most of the fish, and knowing exactly how far out that rod was and where it was makes a huge difference.

For those with different height rods, keeping the same rod in the same place lets you make sure the angles of your lines are the same. Watching the angles of your line closely can tell you what the tide is doing, how fast your going, etc. . . When you constantly change where your stuff is, you never get yourself a baseline.

Also, if a rig doesn't catch well for two or three trips, change the thing!

4. Extra rod holders. Everyone I have ever known who trolls alot of rods always has extra rod holders handy. This is very helpful when setting lines. For instance, if your board rods have a tendency to get caught on your corner rods when letting them out just add an extra rod holder in the center of your boat and move that rod corner rod to the center when letting out board lines. Simple yes, but I would have never figured it out. The same thing goes for playing fish in to the boat. By moving some rods to the center you can create yourself a lane to bring the fish in.

So there, a few easy tips but in the end could save you hours when the season is over.
 

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Great thread. If I might add one for those such as myself who DON'T have a paddlewheel on their fishfinder. I keep one parachute (about 4 oz) with a five or six ft leader attached to a round leaderwheel. You can always place it over the side to check the tail action on your lure to see if your speed is correct. I don't need it so much going against the tide (seems you always have good action); but it is really handy when going with a hard running tide. Sometimes you really have to increase your speed much more than you might expect!!!!!
OK everyone, add another tip. 5th (Marty)
 

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Those are some great tips Francis. Thanks for sharing! :thumbup:
 

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Great Tips and reminders Francis!

Keep your hooks sharp!

Check your lines often to make sure they are clean of debris...jellyfish, grass, trash

Check your line and leaders for knicks often...retie frequently...learn the basic knots and be able to tie them quickly

Properly maintain your rods and reels for good performance
 

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Wow!!! What great real life lessons to pass on. You just saved some people years on the learning curve. Myself included. Thanks. :clap:
 

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Thanks

Thanks Francis and 5th T for the tips and reminders.
The winter is for refiniing your gear and spread even if it is only in our heads for a couple months.

GScott
 

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you can extend the life of your Penn Senator's drag mechanisms by completely loosening the drag when they're stored for extended periods. I'm sure it's great for other reels too but it's a problem with the penns (trust me!).
 

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you can extend the life of your Penn Senator's drag mechanisms by completely loosening the drag when they're stored for extended periods. I'm sure it's great for other reels too but it's a problem with the penns (trust me!).
Definintely a problem with all reels. If you leave the drag tight, the drag will wear out much quicker. Especially true for fly reels and baitcasters. Not as noticeable with spinning reels but it will happen. Always loosten the drag after you're done. Then you are forced to set it properly again when you start fishing which is a good thing to do.

Thanks Francis for the tips.
 

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you can extend the life of your Penn Senator's drag mechanisms by completely loosening the drag when they're stored for extended periods. I'm sure it's great for other reels too but it's a problem with the penns (trust me!).
What is the mechanism that causes the deterioration of the drag stack? Surely the compression of the carbon fiber drag washer isn't to blame. :confused:
 

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1) Don't use flouro on the troll for rockfish
2) Put bicycle flags on your planer boards
3) When you are meeting another trolling boat on reciprocal alter your course to starboard so you pass on port. - This one drives me crazy.... know the rules.....
4) When crossing another trolling boat, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel if possible.
 

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3) When you are meeting another trolling boat on reciprocal alter your course to starboard so you pass on port. - This one drives me crazy.... know the rules.....
4) When crossing another trolling boat, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel if possible.
Those are the best two out there, only problem is convincing every other idiot to follow the correct rules of the road!!!
 

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A little trick for lines not marked. Once the lines are out and you are satisfied with the spread, when you start to reel in move the line from one side of the spool to the other several times. That way when the line is let back out, you will notice the wig-wag and have a good chance of it be in the same area it was originally.
Sorry, but it won't work on level winds!!
 
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