Trolling Speeds

Trolling Speeds onboard the “Castings:”

As with distance, speed will vary from boat to boat. The main idea is to have all your baits and lures working together as a unit. You want lures to be trolled fast enough so that they are creating air pockets in front of them and have a bubbling or popping look to them. This is commonly called a “smoke trail." The type, size, shape, and weight of your lures will also determine how fast or slow you can troll. Some lures are made for calm water and others for rougher conditions. Pick lures that match the size of your tackle as this will also effect how well you can get the lures to work. It is important to have similar lures that all work well together. Common lure trolling speeds will vary from six knots to 12 knots. Log the rpm, speed, conditions, types of lures and positions so that you can get it right each time you troll lures.

Baits are commonly trolled at slower speeds. For skipping or surface baits, they should be breaking the surface and splashing without spending too much time in the air. If the baits are tumbling they are being pulled too fast. Adding skirts or small lures in front of baits will let you pull them faster and will decrease the rate at which they wash out. Adjusting the position of your outrigger pins, higher or lower will also help you to get your baits to perform at their best. When pulling swimming baits, make sure they are weighted correctly for the speed you are trolling. For outboard owners, a good tip is to troll on one engine. You will want to go the same speed as if you were on two engines, but you may find that fish will be more attracted to your spread because of the vibrations and noise outboards produce. Remember to switch engines so that you don’t build up uneven engine hours and create more stress for one engine or the other. It is also much easier to log your RPM than your speed and as with lures you should log everything related to your speed. Common speeds for baits are three knots to seven knots.

Finally, it is important to know the species you are fishing for. Some fish respond to faster presentations and others like slower presentations. If you know and understand the basic biology and feeding habits of the fish you are stalking, you can create patterns, spreads and speeds that will give you a better chance of catching more fish on the troll.