One of the most incredible ways of covering lots of water and catching more fish during your fishing trips is through trolling. Even though catching big game fish can be challenging, especially to inexperienced anglers, downriggers come in handy in such situations. However, downriggers are not that cheap and may not be effective for smaller boats and kayaks. This trolling guide will teach you how to determine trolling weight to depth ratio and some valuable strategies you can employ when targeting the big game on a modest budget.
How Do You Calculate Troll Depth?
Seasoned anglers offer different opinions on the troll depth level depending on the distance you noticed your fish was running from the surface. It would help if you started dragging your lines out far back and far down in the water column. You can then adjust your spread accordingly when you get a bite or two.
You want to find out how deep a lure will go and, of course, how fast you need to get it there. There are two ways you can determine exactly how deep a rig is and how fast it will move. One way is to roll out a surface rig and put in a rig that stretches the length of a thermocline and measure how far down it is. Note the depth, and try to crank it in as quickly as possible without damaging the rig. Otherwise, you may lose your rig, and it’s extremely dangerous.
A second way to measure depth is using a thermometer, which is more labor-intensive but less risky. It would help if you found an area with a hard thermocline, but it needs to be a depth that you can reliably locate. Clip a thermometer onto the tip of your rig to keep an eye on how deep your lure will go and determine how much line is needed to get the lure to that point. Let out the number of lines you think are necessary to get your lure to the target depth (thermocline).
Next, mark the line you think will be needed to get the lure to that depth. Roll up the line for about five minutes, unhook it, and check the thermometer. If the thermometer shows a very close temperature to the one displayed on your fishfinder, you are way off. Let out more lines at each interval until you see a significantly different temperature. You will know how many lines you should put into your rig to get it down to a particular depth (assuming all other factors are equally important) at a speed you can safely pull it.
This trick works best with level-winders and is pretty simple and effective. Use one of the methods described above to create a baseline, and as you set up your lines to go to that distance, keep a running count of how many times you move the level-winder back and forth across the spool.
Every time you let out a new line (with the same rig attached), all you need to do to get that line down to that depth is to watch the level winder and keep counting. If you don’t have level winders, that doesn’t mean the trick doesn’t work because you have some other options.
Firstly, you can get pre-measured color-coded lines so you can easily track the depths you need to go in your area. Some convenient pre-measured lines are color-coded, like 10 feet of red, 10 feet of green, and so on. So you can keep track by watching the colors of the water as it passes by.
Option 2 is to mark your line horizontally and in 25- or 50-foot increments. Putting some nail polish on a line will keep it from falling apart (or, that’s as easy as it sounds), but that doesn’t last very long. Wrap a small section of waxed rigging thread around your rod so it can last you a little longer.
Some fish will swim down deeper than the lures you are using, and it might be worthwhile to temporarily lower the lures (or temporarily drop them) to lower the head of the boat. If it happens frequently, you may want to drop your lures a few feet back temporarily, but if it happens occasionally, getting your lures a few feet deeper might be a good idea.
You can quickly change the depth of your lures without changing your boat’s speed or your RPM setting. Simply turn the boat around and spin the wheel as fast as you can. As soon as you hit the turning pins on the steering wheel, turn around and immediately turn back.
If you stop spinning the wheel as quickly as possible, the bow of your boat won’t have time to go very far into the wind, but your boat will go much further than before. That will cause your lures to drop back down slightly into the water column.
If you want to vary your course, consider doing a more subtle turn. Lines that run in the direction of the turn will fall from the inside out (though initially, the lines that run from the outside out will rise).
This is the most simple but most effective trick you can use. Once your lines are set, you can negate the effects of most outside factors (including sea state, current, and wind), which impacts lure depth greatly by just trolling cross-current and within the trough every time you get a chance.
But many other factors will affect how deep you can lure fish. Some of them are just as confusing even for the best anglers. When you think that you know everything, something will happen. All the data you collected up to that point will disappear like a dream.
Maybe a new set of props will change the speed you troll at a given RPM, or you’ll re-spool your line with a different size, or some hot new lure will be introduced, and no one knows how deep it runs. But by understanding these influences, you’ll better understand how to get your lures right in front of the fish. Do that, and you’ll catch more fish!
How Much Weight Should I Troll?
The recommended weight you should troll is about 6 to 8 ounces. But, if you’re trolling light tackle for species such as walleye or trout, you can reach up to 30 feet with lighter weights of around 5 ounces. You can use two methods to get your bait under the water to catch fish while you are trolling.
You can either add lead weights to the line or alternately use a diving device to cause the line to go down deeper. In both cases, a diver’s weight is attached to the main line while a line leader is attached to the terminal end so the line can run further down the river.
When you let out more lines, your equipment will descend to the depth you want. Although it may seem as simple as adding weight to your line or using a diving device to lower the line deeper into the fish, there is more to do.
What Is The 50/50 Trolling Method?
Since the 50 Plus, two methods are based on specific crankbait models, a two-ounce trolling weight, a lead length that is fixed, a length of the dropper that can be changed, and two different line speeds, there are no switches for this information. Anglers select one of the 16 crankbaits with Snap Weight data and cast the lure from the designated depth of 50 feet to get a good lead.
They will continue to cast a fixed lead for as long as they like. Then one of the 2-ounce OST Guppy Weights is attached to the line. Anglers will have 100 feet worth of dropper lead or a total lead distance of 150 feet. Dropper leads are the lead lengths played out after a Snap Weight is attached to the line. Fishermen have the choice of two different tumbling speeds, 1.5 MPH and 2.5 MPH.
Different other trolling speeds will be brought in as time permits. Finally, anglers have the choice of two different trolling speeds. Additional trolling speeds will be counted as time permits. This new method is one of the most technically challenging but most useful methods ever developed at PTD.
While it will take a lot of time and money to keep collecting all of the new information continuously, anyone who has ever used a trolling weight to get a bait deeper will be able to appreciate and appreciate the value of all this data.
How many lines Do You Let Out When Trolling?
You should let out 50 feet of line and then attach it to the release! If the distance is not long enough to keep your lone walleyes from seeing the ball, try letting out 150 feet of line! Remember that the flat-line dive depth that you apply to a typical crankbait when you place it on a lake is the same as when you throw big whitebait on a lake!
Several methods allow you to fish crankbaits at depths critical for getting walleye to bite. It doesn’t take long for it to become clear: crankbait fishing – especially trolling crankbaits – is a game of controlling the depth at which you are fishing. If you are targeting walleye in the bottom or well above the water, you want to get them to look at your bait and smack it! Walleye generally don’t try to slash or attack their prey but rather wait for the bait to get past it.
They don’t often leave the current depth they are using to cause them to break a crankbait. They just keep swimming past as you fish! It’s what we call a glom on the bite. It occurs when a walleye slowly gloms onto your bait as it floats over the water. This is one of the most common ways walleyes bite you – they rely heavily on their large teeth to hold their food in place until they swallow it. The Walleyes just need to glom on to what you are throwing them.
Your success rates on the waters will largely depend on the trolling depth of your lures. Even if you know where a fish is swimming, it won’t help you much if you don’t know precisely where your rigs are running. This is critical if you want to hit some big fish while trolling. You probably won’t know exactly how deep your rig is running unless you put a depth gauge on your rig. But you can accurately get the exact depth at which a fish is swimming by following the tricks mentioned above.
Raymond Smith is a fishing enthusiast who has been obsessed with fishing and boating since childhood. He used to accompany his father to every weekend fishing escapade along the banks of the Madison River, where they would try to catch as much fish as possible, each time targeting different species to add to their belts. Smith loves angling, travel, and exploration and has amassed more than ten years of experience in trout and steelhead fishing techniques. He shares all his fishing experiences and tips on this website and other online outdoors magazines.