The art of Lure Trolling

Southern Bluefin Tuna, Kingies, Marlin and other game fish.
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Re: The art of Lure Trolling

Post by fishpod » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:15 pm

Wolly Bugger wrote:THE MOVING F.A.D.

When using skirted lures, the biggest difference is the speed. In blue water skirted lures are pulled along at effective speeds from a minimum of 6.5 knots, mostly 7.5 to 8.5 and as fast as 15 knots with the accompanying noise, vibration and white water. These components actually combine to form an effective ‘Fish Attracting Device’ otherwise know as a F.A.D.

Many anglers, because of their previous experience with other forms of trolling, run their lures way back out past the end of the wash, fearing that the boat noise and wash will scare the fish. In this form of fishing this is not the case. The action is concentrated in the area between the transom and the end of the prop wash and turbulence. This is known as the Strike Zone. This area is where you should run your lures.

Fish do get hooked on lures a long way back, but they were probably on their way to the boat. The chance of getting a solid hookup on a fish are far better on a short line, due to less line stretch and belly and the closer the fish come to the boat the more aggressive they become.

It is possible that the wash itself may appear to be a shoal of tiny bait fish foaming the surface in a feeding frenzy, or perhaps they have come to know that the motor noise and vibration could mean a trawler dumping trash over the side resulting in an easy meal, perhaps it does attract small predators like striped tuna and frigate mackerel that search the white water for a feed or camouflage, this may in turn attract larger predators. Regardless of what we imagine the wash represents to fish, the boat does not in any way scare these predators. The larger, bolder predators have even less fear and will come in so close to the transom they almost ram it in attack mode.
Pretty sure all that is related to Tuna fishing, completely diiferent to freshwater fishing or trolling for snapper say or even for squid fishing

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barra mick
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Re: The art of Lure Trolling

Post by barra mick » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:47 pm

Imo freshwater trolling is a skill

Thats why you see so many fisherman troll at say lake eldion all day for one or two fish....then winge that eldion has no fish.

If you throw a lure out the back and troll aimlessly all day then thats all you should expect to catch.

I dont think I have a lure on for many 20/25 mins if its not getting hits or fish.

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Re: The art of Lure Trolling

Post by Wolly Bugger » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:51 pm


The types of lure we are specifically discussing are surface running skirted trolling lures. Certainly much of the theory has relevance to other types of lure and other types of fishing. When run behind the boat, trolled, they tend to ‘work’ in a repetitive cycle. A lure that is working properly runs through the following cycle: It comes to the surface, grabs air ‘breathes’, dives down leaving a long bubble trail, ‘smoking’ and when it stops smoking, it comes up for another breath. It should not run under the water without a smoke trail for any length of time, if it does; it is called ‘lazy’. Also, it shouldn’t come out of the water too often, ‘blowing out’ when breathing.
All the different shapes and sizes go through these motions with different aggressions and timing. For example, for many sliced headed lures the cycle is repeated every 15 seconds, some as long as 30 seconds between breaths, Pakula lures are at their best when they breathe every 5 seconds. Some lures come to surface and softly breathe before diving, others explode on the surface like a sonic boom. Some dive as straight as an arrow, others may ‘swim’ off the side or dive in deep consistent arc, others shake their heads or tails as they dive. Smoke trails vary from pencil thin to almost creating their own prop wash. This mainly depends on the shape of the lure head, lure length and trolling speed. How often a lure goes through the working cycle depends on sea conditions, boat speed, lure position, distance, line height, line class and rigging.

There are several considerations in choosing lures to form a pattern:

Number of Lures

Each line class has a maximum sized lure that can be effectively trolled due to the drag setting and hook size used. There is however no minimum sized lure for any line class. Nor is there any minimum sized lure for any species or size of fish you are chasing.

The chosen set of lures should be compatible with each other in action, vibration and effective trolling speed. The simplest way to do this is run lures that are all similar in type, i.e. all Scoop Faced Chuggers such as many in the Pakula Range, or all Sliced Slant Head Lures. Mixing lures types and brands when your just starting out is really making the sport far more difficult and unsuccessful than it could be. Each lure developer designs their lures to run in specific positions within a pattern at certain speeds. Knowing where this position is just by looking at the lure without a great deal of experience can be quite difficult.

The longer the head and the smaller the face the longer the position ie Long Corner, Long Rigger and Shotgun.
The shorter the head and the wider the face the shorter the position ie Short Corner and Short Rigger.
If a head is both long and has a wide face the more likely it is to work in all positions though because it would have a more aggressive action it is best used in a short position

As previously mentioned it is important to place the more aggressive and active lures closer to the boat. If this simple rule is not followed and you put the larger or more aggressive lures at the tail of the pattern you can set up a 'Blocking Pattern'. Many fish will not go past a larger lure to attack a smaller one

It’s not surprising that there has been an ongoing debate as to the significance of colours of lures to the fish we are trying to catch with them.
With the amount of information in the form of anecdotal evidence and individual catch rates of specific lures and lure colours with reference to the proportion of that colour produced it does seem pretty conclusively that colour is a vital aspect of lure choice. Not only do predators see relevant colours, it would seem that they also have a wider range of colour recognition into ultra violet, luminescence, gamma and possibly infra red wavelengths, as a result Pakula Tackle has included many additives in lure heads and skirts.

For a novice selecting lure colours can be quite daunting. Luckily most blue water bait species are similar throughout the world’s oceans. To make things easier still their colours are to a great extent proportionate to their size, which can be reflected in the lure selection.
Over the years four colour groups have accounted for the highest catch statistics and even more than that these colours would appear to have certain best positions in the spread, these factors add up to make up a central backbone applicable to any blue water lure pattern. I’ve noted the colour groups in specific positions in the pattern as shown in image Fig 9. Pakula Pattern Example.

Short Corner
The largest lure in the pattern is black. As it is run closest to the boat at the position in the most turbulent part of the wash the dark silhouette shows up clearly. In reality most bait species are well camouflaged so regardless of what colour a lure is it will be visible regardless of where it is run and even if it were invisible the vibration that its action puts out would be felt by the fish’s lateral line making it easy for the fish to track down. The main combinations are black over pink, purple, or green. In some patterns you may wish to substitute a very bright florescent colour like a Pink or Orange combination

Long Corner
The next lure in the pattern is the second largest and is a blue combination such as blue and silver over green and gold, blue and silver over pink or blue and pearl white over pink and white

Short Rigger
The most successful colour in this position is purple or violet in combinations of blue, pink and black.

Long Rigger
Without doubt the best colour for this position is Green preferably Lumo® over green and chartreuse

The fifth lure on the shotgun and any supplementary lures in various other positions are the “try out” lures. This is also where you should run an area’s own particular ‘hot colour’ for example black and red or yellow around tropical reefs, pink in the light tackle fishery in Australia. Any lures you wish to try out in new colours or shapes should be run in the shotgun position

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Re: The art of Lure Trolling

Post by ChrisAbout » Sun May 07, 2017 9:01 am

Yeah some great articles there by Pakula, although in regards to where the lure should sit I was always under the impression your skirts create the best swirl in your wash.

Pakula seems to think they should avoid running your lures in the whitewater behind the boat (wash), instead concentrating your spread around the wash where the water is more settled.

However as you move in forward trajectory dragging your lures behind, their tendency is to lineup behind you, in the wash.

Can anyone shed some light here, because I've always ran my lure in the wash too and hooked up there.

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Re: The art of Lure Trolling

Post by blacklab99 » Sun May 07, 2017 3:54 pm

Chris, your methods are fine, the thing is, that there's no hard and fast rule that definitively sais " you must do this".
Pakula is a guru in all things "lures" but here's my take on things. So much is dependant on bait fish at the time, feeding times moon tide weather
water clarity etc etc. I believe its all about fishing the conditions !! hedge your bets, I always mix it up big time and will continually change up the lure types and sizes/colours. Sometimes, I'll get hit from one position consistently, the next day it wont be touched. Its all about the day and its all about putting out options on that day. I always fish one short and in close amongst the heavy wash, I always used to have success on bonito that way. Don't be frightened to go against the norm for one of your lures as there is no hard and fast rule. I think that's part of the fun of it and as you change things up, you'll figure out your best lure pattern.. I think its the same with any type of trolling no matter what fish your targeting.
As far as snapper go, when my boat was up and going I was just starting to experiment with trolling lures for snapper, I'd set up the down rigger and have the weight just bounce along the bottom, causing a bit of disturbance with a lure with about a 4-5 meter trace following it up, was having some good success, but you had to ensure it was a sandy bottom and depth was pretty consistant. I remember telling someone with supposedly 50 years experience in all things fishing, to which I was abruptly told " you'll never catch a thing with that method" well, proved him wrong big time... So I guess I'm saying, give everything a try, be it lure pattern, method etc etc, that's what makes this passion of ours so addictive...
Oh, and I will confess, even though my weigh bouncing method was a big hit, I did loose a fair few weights !!!!!

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