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Home > Learn to Fish & Boat > How To Fish > How to Fish with Live Bait > How to Troll for Fish
Whether you want to catch salmon on a freshwater lake in the Midwest or target tuna out on the open ocean, learning how to troll for fish will allow you to cover more water in order to find and catch fish.
Trolling for fish is a technique that involves towing lures or baits behind a boat at a certain depth in order to get the fish to bite. You can troll for fish out in the ocean or while fishing on a freshwater lake from a troller boat. If you want to know the answer to the question, “How do you troll for fish?”, start out with the right tackle and fish from a troller fishing boat that is equipped with multiple rod holders.
For inshore or freshwater fish trolling, most stiff 6.5 to 7-foot rods will work. When it comes to trolling for fish offshore; however, your gear should be more specialized and made to handle large game fish. Heavier rods with roller-type guides in the 5 to 7-foot range work best if you’re targeting big fish out in the open ocean.
Conventional reels have more line capacity than spinning rods and usually have stronger drag systems, making a conventional reel the best choice for trolling. Another feature of a trolling reel that you may want to consider is a “clicker “that makes a distinctive sound when a fish strikes and starts to take out line while trolling.
While there are different ways and speeds to troll for fish depending on the species you are targeting, saltwater trolling speeds are generally between 2 and 9 knots. The key to getting bites is presenting your baits or lures at the right speed and depth that mimics the swimming behavior of a live baitfish. As with other types of fishing presentations, you’ll have to choose between using live bait, lures, or a combination of lures and bait when learning how to troll for fish.
The largemouth bass is the most popular freshwater game fish in the U.S. Learn more about how you can identify a largemouth bass, where to catch it and what bait and lures to use.
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