Trolling with Lures

Learn how to fish by trolling with lures to master one of the most popular methods of fishing while boating.

How To Rig Trolling Lures: Basics

Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines with lures or baitfish are drawn through the water. Regardless of which of the multitude of trolling lures rigging techniques one uses, the motion of the boat imparts action on the lures, whether they are spoon lures, surface lures, plugs, swimbait or spinnerbait. Trolling with lures is one of the most popular fishing methods for catching big game fish such as tuna and marlin.

How To Rig Trolling Lures: Freshwater Trolling

Knowing how to rig a trolling rod (or which rig to choose) has a lot to do with how you wish to present your lure. Are you trolling for walleyes in especially waters 70 feet deep? Rigging your rod for downrigging may be your best bet. On the other hand, crappies tend to school at more moderate depths, in which case a simple flat-lining rig might do. The depth of the lure depends on their weight, how much line has been let out, the diameter and type of fishing line being used, and the speed at which you are trolling. Meaning, you can set out multiple types of rigs simultaneously to maximize your potential targets. 

How To Rig Trolling Lures: Saltwater Trolling

Trolling with lures in saltwater is a good way to present baits and lures to pelagic fish by imitating a swimming baitfish or triggering the natural instincts of a fish to strike. When saltwater trolling, anglers will typically put out anywhere between two and nine lines with lures staggered at various distances from the boat. Still, saltwater is corrosive and purchasing multiple sets of lures can chalk up quite an expense over a season, which is why there are several DIY options available nowadays for anglers interested in learning how to make saltwater trolling lures on their own. 

Although there is no one universal trolling speed, most boats will typically troll natural baits like rigged ballyhoo, mullet, and mackerel, at speeds of 4-7 knots depending on sea conditions. Artificial trolling lures and plugs can be trolled at faster speeds of around 7-9 knots.