Lake-Link Home

New to Trolling

6/24/20 @ 9:04 AM
USER SINCE 8/28/15

It has been recommended to me by several people on here and on Facebook that I look into trolling if I wanted to catch big fish in Wisconsin. I just bought a set of 5 nice line counter poles from a friend that decided to buy all new trolling gear for himself. My question is what other gear should I invest in? How do I get started? What Should I know before I throw anything in the water? I'm open to any constructive advice please


5/29/21 @ 9:11 PM
USER SINCE 2/23/16

Try double looping fire line in the release... Will not slip and board will not release.. when a fish hits it just try and keep the board out of the water if possible the quick release ... Also run bead chain/ old j plug harness  or a large barrel swivel the mono ... Great lakes fishing it acts like a shock absorber inland it breaks off and you may loose the bait but keep the board and line/ rod from breaking also keep garbage off the bait.. learn to fish your boat not what everyone else is doing..Speed line type lures lots of baits have general charts available... Good luck...

5/22/21 @ 10:43 PM

Another thing I've noticed, my rods rigged with fire line out produce everything.  I have planer board rods with 20 pound mono for the boards and have put fire line leaders on them just to see if it makes a difference.  It doesn't.  I've run boards with just fire line.  I don't like fire line for boards as it slips and wrapping a clip just bites.  And no, the clamp releases are not the answer.  For me any way.  A flat line rod with fire line wins hands down.   The mono rods with a fire line leader out fish a rod with mono to the lure.    Florocarbon leaders, I've not seen the benefit.  I've caught more brown trout on the big puddle with straight fire line than I ever have  using fluro leaders.  So that crystal clear water needing fluorocarbon leader is a myth.  In my experience.  I've run fire line crystal, still no noticeable difference.  I still run mono on my line counter reels, as they are calibrated for 20 pound mono.  They do catch fish.  But nothing, I mean nothing out fishes my two medium action rods with 10 pound fire line.  

5/19/21 @ 11:15 AM

Keeping it simple is great advice. One hand held rod ticking bottom is a great start, then send out a board and keep it close to the boat. Have enough holders but don't be like my buddy, Nineline who, when he loops back to go over fish again sees his own planer boards in front of him because they were way too far out.

5/18/21 @ 5:57 PM

I tend to agree with, Kayaker3........ I've away's used the KISS method.  "keep It Simple Stupid ".......... Granted I troll a  dishpan shaped lake, 5 ft. max.  I run 3 straight lines, the more lines the more trouble.  Sixty  Merc  trolls 1.5 - 2 all day, auto pilot keeps boat straight while I'm working fish.  This is how you start, if you wish to go higher tech great, I wish you luck.  I saw a guy with 75 grand in equipment Friday with 3 boards out going like a drunken sailor.

5/18/21 @ 3:25 PM
My go to, number 1 fish producing trolling rod is a 6ft medium Ugly Stick with a 2000 series spinning reel with 10lb fire line.  At 1.6 to 2.2 mph, a long cast with a #5 Flicker shad runs 7 foot all day every day.  A long cast and 2 good rod sweeps runs 8 foot all day.  A not so long cast runs 6 foot.  #5 shad rap, bass pro static shad and storm smash shad runs close enough to the same depths.  #7 size lures vary a bit and run 10 to 12 feet.  I fished that way for years, with just 2 rods, no boards, no rod holders, no gps, no lake master chip, no auto pilot, no speed indicator.  Kick the motor in gear and go.  Let go of the tiller handle and spin in circles.  Hated that.  Now I have all the toys and run 6 to 8 lines when I have the bodies with.  If the fish are biting, I will cut it down to 4 rods real quick.  Two boards and two flat lines.  Easy peasy.  6 lines can be  problematic, 8 will usually ruin the fun before it even starts, especially if one or more of them gets snagged.  90% of the time the flat lines will out produce the boards.  If I had to choose only one thing to upgrade from when I started, auto pilot has helped my sanity the most.  Circles and planer boards do not mix.  These are my findings, your results may vary.  

5/17/21 @ 7:13 PM
USER SINCE 12/19/10

I’m also new to my own trolling set up. I’ve been out a ton with others but now I’m getting my boat set up to do some trolling. Picked up 2 line counter rod/reels at a rummage for $50 total and bought 2 more from cabelas. I found you need to “calibrate” your line counter reels when u spool them, depending how worried you are about them being accurate. I measured out 100ft in my yard, spooled the reels but didn’t cut the line off the spool until I pulled line out to the 100ft mark and the counter read 100ft. If your over 100ft u need more line on, if it reads under take some line off. The first one I did read 119ft when I pulled line out to the 100ft mark, i had to put on another 200ft of line to get it to read 100ft. Something I never would’ve thought of. Now if you use a dive chart for lures it’ll be right where you want it. If your reel is off by 20ft u won’t be fishing as deep as u think u are. There will be a bit of a learning curve this summer.

3/1/21 @ 9:04 AM

Keep your boat deck clean of obstructions and make sure your net is untangled and ready to grab and scoop. 

The trim/tilt on your motor will impact trolling speed. Stay consistent in how far down your trim your motor. 

Don’t be afraid of getting caught on structure. Sometimes the only way to get bit is to run up on shallow structure rather than looping away from it in deeper water to keep your lure clean. 

In general, troll with the wind whenever possible. 

Troll with fewer lines than maximum until you get a little experience. If you’re going with a friend and are allowed 6 lines there’s nothing wrong with starting with 4. It’s much easier and your not missing too much water. 

Release fish exactly the same as you would a casting fish. Don’t toss overboard or move on until you know the fish is swimming. 

Don’t celebrate catches for long. You may be in a short feeding window and getting your lines back in the water quickly has to take priority over the celebration. You can celebrate while trolling. 

3/1/21 @ 8:51 AM
USER SINCE 7/20/09

gordonsetterman - That's correct.  You would just want the trolling motor to be set quick enough that it can do boat control and steering.  The kicker in that case is set to run straight and does most of the speed control.  

That's probably fancier than most who just start out.  You can link it up to your plotter and have hands free steering then.  Still pay attention though, don't be those yahoos who drive blind towards others haha.  I say that because people do it....

3/1/21 @ 7:36 AM

Go buy a bunch of shad raps and rapalas in different sizes and colors. I try to buy two of each.  Put your boards out and keep the lengths back the same on the boards that are on opposite sides of the boat providing there are two people.  Alter your speeds and away u go.  A lot of trial and error.  I always take photos of baits that produced at the end of the day so I will remember for next time.  Good line counter reels are a must. I use Okuma and like them.   We also will run two long lines off the back end of the boat and make adjustments as we go.  Good luck

2/28/21 @ 9:21 AM

If its local lakes you want to troll in just ask your local bait and tackle shop what they recommend. They will steer you right if they want you as a regular customer, they will also point you at lakes that should produce fish for you. Living on lake Minnetonka in the land of sky blue waters, I troll regularly. When I launch my boat I typically troll to my fishing spots, and it produces fish about 25-50% of the time. Here Northern are the fish caught most trolling but I have picked up a lot of Large mouth also. Mount rod holders where they are easy to reach and have fun. The ONLY way my wife fishes with me is trolling, she is dangerous casting and last year she dragged a small northern for a long ways before I informed her she had a fish.

Advertise here
Advertise here
Please take a moment to visit our sponsors. Without them we would not be here.