Oct. 2007

Tips for Successful Trolling
By Captain Bob Reed


Cool nights and shorter days make for great fishing in the Chesapeake. As the baitfish school up and migrate out of the Bay hungry rockfish, trout, flounder and bluefish are on the feed! This is the time of year to go fishing after a long hot and dry summer.

Last month I wrote about chumming for rockfish and live lining in October and November. Trolling is another option. Trolling allows you to seek out the trophy fish. It can be extremely productive and exciting when you come upon the mother load and rod tips are bouncing and reels are screaming! Trolling allows you to cover a lot of water and to keep working the school.

More preparation and practice is necessary for successful trolling. For the beginner a good way to approach this method is to listen to the experienced trollers. Go on a trolling charter; read articles and books on trolling techniques and attend seminars on trolling. The most important thing however is to get out and apply these methods, gain confidence and experience the thrill of hooking up jumbo rockfish.

Several types of rigs have proven to work well here in the Bay. The umbrella rig seems to work the best especially when the fish are more scattered. Umbrellas typically were 20” with 4 arms and 8 or 9 teasers. Many Captains have switched to the 15” and 12”. They work well and are much easier to pull in. The old standby colors for the shads- yellow and white are effective. However when the fish are reluctant try the sparkle shads and the hologram with metal foil inserts. Last year I did real well on the chartreuse and clear glitter. Also when the water is cloudy try darker colors even black or purple. For the fall and winter I especially like the packman type parachutes in black, purple, green, chartreuse and white. Try trolling a couple of 20” umbrellas with double 6 ounce parachutes on your 100 foot lines without any other weights and a couple of 12” umbrellas on your 150’ and 200’ lines.

When the big rock bunch up good in late November and December, go to double and single rigs. You do not need to drag in two 20 to 30 pound fish on one rig. It’s hard on your equipment and your arms. Winning combinations last year were the 20 ounce and 12 ounce combo and the 12 ounce and 8 ounce rigs. Combinations also work well with 48 ounce and 32, 32 and 28-ounce mojo type rigs. Use 9” or 12” double hooked shads with these baits. Move your trailer hook as far forward as possible to get maximum action on the shad. Last year single rigged parachutes were quite effective especially on the very long lines and board lines. The packman chutes especially those with the sparkle finish get the fish’s attention. Try sizes from 4 ounces to 12 ounces. Make sure they have at least a 9/0 hook if you are targeting the bigger fish.

Pay attention to the current flow. Even though the fish may be plentiful they do not feed all day as a rule. Look for them to bite during a moving tide. Tide tables can be used as a guide but cannot be relied on for accuracy. Observe the flow as you pass by demarks or crab pot markers. And be where you need to be during the heavy flows.

These predator fish like to drive the bait up against the ledges, so fish the drop offs and structure. You will get your limit quicker if you stay on the fish when you hook up. Make sure you mark your hookups on your GPS and really pound the productive areas.

For added fun fish one of the local tournaments such as the Casey Neal Rogers Memorial Rockfish Tournament on November 17th. See this publication for more information.

We are moving into a very exciting season for fishing the mid and lower Chesapeake. Make plans now to get out. Book a trip and/or get your own boat and gear ready. Above all pick your days and be safe. You do not want to be out there in a small boat when the seas are up and the wind is blowing over 15 mph.

I anticipate a fabulous season for 2007 with more and bigger fish than ever!






Back to top
Back to previous articles

Home | Contact Us | About Us | Calendar | Reports | Subscribe | Tides
Articles from Previous Issues
| Wrecks, Reefs & Fishing Hotspots | Classifieds Online
Charter Boat Directory
| Fishing Bulletin Board | Tournament Links | Advertisers with Web Sites
Photos From Our Readers | Regulations | Virginia Charterboat Association