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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


5/17/21 @ 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.

2/27/21 @ 10:48 AM

The first time trolling on lake Michigan with a guide I really paid attention and worked to repeat what was succesful on my trips the next time out. It worked! Trolling for walleyes in Minnesota you only get one bait to work with and that experience really helped educate me on how deep my diving plugs really got, by counting the number of "passes" on my spinning reels before the plug ticked bottom. Lots of good advice from previous posters here, but getting out there and learning about your new line counting reels and the bonus of spreading out baits with planer boards only comes with experience.

2/26/21 @ 9:17 PM

I’ve got a question that I suppose will make me look like an idiot! I have trolled with a few people who didn’t explain why and unfortunately I didn’t ask. 

I THINK they ran their kicker to control speed  but used the bow mount to steer the boat. IF that’s correct I assume the bow mount has to be a little slower than the kicker? 

6/27/20 @ 5:25 AM
USER SINCE 8/28/15

is there a resource people go to to find out what kind of lures you have? I have a bunch of old lures but I don't know what category they would fall in for looking up a dive chart

6/25/20 @ 2:56 PM
USER SINCE 8/12/05

Trolling is just an excellent way to fish, very fun too. 

We have had excellent luck with planer boards made by Church Tackle Company in Michigan. The ones we use are called "Walleye Boards" but don't let the name fool ya, they'll guide your bait to anything that bites.

I would say trolling starter kit is 

-propulsion (boat with engine, pedal kayak etc)

-rod holders

-planer boards

-Rods capable of trolling (line counter rods are obviously designed for and great for trolling, but any stout rod will get you started)

-Wide variety of lures to experiment with

-Time, experimentation, willingness to learn

I agree with everyone else, get one of the trolling apps or consult some of the charts online or buy one of the little booklets, that will get you headed in the right direction for setting the proper depth. Sometimes it's not that complicated either. If you know its ten feet deep off a weed edge, just get your lure out there and drag it!

Lines deployed properly with planer boards should look like a nice formation out the back of the boat. Deploy your bow most line on each side first, these will be the outermost boards in your formation. Then work your way to the stern. You can then "Straight line" one or two rods right off the stern if you would like. Look into Church's straight line stern planer cone for those.

If you are looking to roll really deep, an advanced move would be to buy some dipsy divers, but you probably don't need those right away. Learn the other stuff first then explore those.

Whenever we have people out on the boat experiencing trolling for the first time the question always is "how will we know when we have one" and we always answer "Oh, you'll know".

Basically, that beautiful formation of planer boards will fall apart quick once a fish strikes.

6/25/20 @ 11:08 AM
Tim Zwieg
USER SINCE 1/10/12

As mentioned, the Precision trolling app helps you determine the depth of your crankbait are running.  The app is based on having 10 LB XT on your reel.  Fill your spools full.

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