Trolling gear can be pretty basic, and usually consists of a rod around 1.5 to 2m long, a wide diameter reel, typically an Alvey trolling reel, this loaded up with some Dacron backing, then lead-line or wire, and finally 50 to 100m of leader. Basic it is, but it has accounted for thousands of fish.
Pay more money and you are into trolling reels with line counters, and all sorts of technical add-ons. Catch more fish? Doubt it.
You must check on the regulations where you will be fishing. There are various rules for the type of line you can use.
Many tackle shops will have trolling rigs made up ready to go. You also need a landing net with a 1 to 2m long handle. Also get a pair of forceps for removing hooks.
Choosing lures is not too hard. Tasmanian Devils and their myriad copies are tried and true. Try throwing away the metal line attachment that runs through the lure, and replace this and the treble hook with a plastic bead and a single hook.
Some anglers get good results with running a fly immediately off the lure, while others get as good results tying a fly off the bend of the lure hook and running it half a metre behind the lure. (Note two hooks removed from the treble supplied with the lure.)
There is a whole raft of metal lures and so-called spinners.
To get this ‘spinner’ thing out of the way – very few lures are designed to spin, and if spinners not designed to spin, do spin, you get [line twist] and this leads to an awful mess. Metals lures should wobble not spin – if they spin you are going to fast.
How can you tell – drop the lure over the side and adjust speed till you can see it is working properly. This advice applies to all lure types.
The bibbed minnow lures of the Rapala type are very effective too. Longer bibs at a shallow angle will dive deeper than shorter bibs at a steeper angle.
Soft-plastic baits, on lead head jigs, work well, especially at lower speeds, or when there is a bit of chop of on the water. The boat bouncing over the chop will move the soft-plastic bait in short jerks, which seems to impart an attractive action to the lure.
Using a downrigger will help to increase your catch rates, but and this but is a big but, if you just drive around willy-nilly hoping to hook a fish you may as well save the money on the Downrigger, and waste it on fuel by taking up water-skiing.
A sounder is essential if you want to reap the maximum benefit from the downrigger. Fish holding in one temperature band will rarely move out of it to feed. The certainly will not move up or down more than 3 or 4m or so to chase your lures.
One good thing about using a Downrigger is that the gear you fish with can be scaled down and be more sporting. Use a 2 to 2.5m rod, rated for 3 to 5kg, holding 300m of line, a reasonable quality reel with a 5 or 6:1 retrieve. (For every one time you turn the handle the reel spool turns 5 or 6 times.) This is relatively high speed but it means once the fish has pulled the line out of the clip you get the line tight quickly.
If you use no more than 6lb line you could also use the rod and reel rig as jigging gear, sell the downrigger and start having some real fun.
You must check the regulations regarding the use of down-riggers where you will be fishing. Some lakes ban them, some set maximum depths.
Harling is another thing altogether.
At least this form of trolling can use light gear:
- You can use light rigs with a Downrigger and set the Downrigger just about exactly pretty much nearly 1m below the surface.
- Using a fly-rod with a sinking-line to a fly.
- Use lead-line or wire line with only 1 or 2 colours out.
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