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  1. #1
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    Default How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    New to boats, and very new to trolling. Got something on the way to figure out my speed. I have a 28lb trolling motor (old one) and a 7.5 hp honda 4 stroke. I am fishing in a 12 foot aluminum boat.

    Not sure if different lures need different speeds to get to different depths or what depth I want to be at anyways.

    I'm trolling the Napa River for striper. Gets about 20-25 ft in the middle of the trench in most places where we go on a high tide. 8-15 along the sides.

    So how fast?

    anything special about setting up different lures?

    any tips?

    How far should a lure be behind the boat?

    Can i use the 4 stroke and just let it go as slow as it can?

    thanks

    (sorry if anything in here is a stupid question, I'm new, lol)

  2. #2
    Chief Petty Officer thurps's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Go to your local bait / tackle store and ask about specific lures for the type of fish you are going for.
    The fishin' is always good. Sometimes the catchin' is better.

  3. #3
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    How big of fish are you chasing?

    We fish differently for schoolies than we do for the big fish. We'll use boat rods for schoolies but break out the planer boards when the big fish make an appearance.

    The way we fish is a little over the top from most people's perspective but we put fish in the boat and we put big fish in the boat. Around here a 40" Striper does not even raise an eyebrow.
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    Chief Petty Officer thurps's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    ps

    Can't be to new with 70 posts.
    The fishin' is always good. Sometimes the catchin' is better.

  5. #5
    Ensign EddiePetty's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Quote Originally Posted by thurps View Post
    ps

    Can't be to new with 70 posts.
    ...I believe he was referring to the SW Fishing forum!!
    Most of his posts are over on the Restoration and IB/OB forums.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Quote Originally Posted by ngt View Post
    New to boats, and very new to trolling. Got something on the way to figure out my speed. I have a 28lb trolling motor (old one) and a 7.5 hp honda 4 stroke. I am fishing in a 12 foot aluminum boat.

    Not sure if different lures need different speeds to get to different depths or what depth I want to be at anyways.

    I'm trolling the Napa River for striper. Gets about 20-25 ft in the middle of the trench in most places where we go on a high tide. 8-15 along the sides.

    So how fast? depends on what your fishing for and what your fishing with. Alot of your diving lures will tell you what speeds they are good up too, live bait is very slow like 1 knot, I have never fished for stripers but my guess would be about 4 to 6 knots. It would be a good Idea to subscribe to a local fishing magazine and learn the local tatics.

    anything special about setting up different lures? There are alot of ways to fish the same lures. Some lures you can run ontop, add weight to go just below the surface or use a planner or a down rigger to get it down deep.

    any tips?It would be a good Idea to subscribe to a local fishing magazine and learn the local tatics.

    How far should a lure be behind the boat?This depends on what you are targeting and what you are using. You will learn by trying different distances. Try one just behind the prop wash and another 100 feet past that. When you get a strike then you will know.

    Can i use the 4 stroke and just let it go as slow as it can?Yes, if it goes to fast bump it in and out of gear or throw out a drift sock behind the boat to create drag.

    thanks

    (sorry if anything in here is a stupid question, I'm new, lol)
    I hope this helps. Alot of local forums, clubs and magazine articals will be a good starting place for knowledge. GOOD LUCK
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  7. #7
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    So how fast?
    Stripers are lazy fish. We typically troll between 2-3 kt. Some days they want it a little faster. Have caught them trolling as fast as 4 kts.

    How far should a lure be behind the boat?
    My short, deep rods are staggered 50-85 feet back from the boat. Run a "shot gun" line back 300 feet. The lines fished off the planer boards are staggered 50 -125' off the board.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    thanks for all of the tips everyone.

    I'm going after striper. I'd take anything over 18 inches, lol. Biggest I've ever caught was 23 inches. A 40 inch striper would be just about the best thing since I brought in a keeper sturgeon.

    What about the tide...should I be going with it or against it? Does it matter?

    I was talking to the fish and game guy who was checking my tags and stuff about fishing and he said trolling here is the way to go. I didn't get to ask him many questions, but he mentioned people pulling 30+ pound striper out of this river while trolling. We ended up talking about live bait traps and some other stuff and he had to go before I could ask him about trolling.

    I am new to boats. Got my first boat in the beginning of the summer this year and have been out 10-12 times tops. I'm new to trolling. Tried it twice and didn't get a thing either time. I've only been fishing period for about 2 years. Most of my posts here were about towing loads for cars, hitches, and ground issues with my trailer.

    Again, thanks for all of your help! Any other tips or pointers anyone can give me about trolling would be really appreciated! I will check into local magazines and forums too, but I haven't had luck finding that stuff so far.

    The local bait shop lady seems to know a ton about fishing the area. I'll have to hit her up about trolling next time we go out. She is mostly all about live bait though, since it's what she's selling, lol.

    there's the bell, off to work.

  9. #9
    Commander Fly Rod's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    We all have our own opinon on speed and what works for one may not work for another. Striped bass fishing starts around the middle of May here and that is when the mackerel show up. Some of us troll 1 1/2 knots. Sometimes we put a live mac or pogie on a bobber either in deep water or cast it towards the shore. We also use live eels.

    Always look at your speed when you get a strike, notice if that strike occured while going over structure and depth. You do not have to be down deep.

  10. #10
    Chief Petty Officer KRH1326's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    If you get a big hit or splash, but no fish on the line, cut the engine and don't do anything for a few minutes.

    Big striper likes to "stun" his meal with a hit, then circle and gulp & swallow.
    Ohh, It's Killin' Me!!!

  11. #11
    Petty Officer 1st Class FishyFish's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    ngt,

    edited (to many advertisements in the link)

    Fish
    "When All Else Fails, Go Fishing"

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Quote Originally Posted by FishyFish View Post
    ngt,

    edited (to many advertisements in the link)

    Fish
    It's ok. I got the link anyways. Thanks


    Looks like a good place for local info. If it wasn't supposed to rain all weekend, I'd be out using these tips on Saturday. My speed meter thing comes on Friday so I was ready to go. After next week I get 2 weeks off, so hopefully I'll be out 3-4 times during that vacation.

  13. #13
    Petty Officer 1st Class FishyFish's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    I have had that link for years, it was always full of good info, I didn't realize how commercial it had become until after I posted.

    Yea, it looks kinda cold and ugly today, this week-end the rain is coming. Be safe out there.

    Fish
    "When All Else Fails, Go Fishing"

  14. #14
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    Talking Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Quote Originally Posted by FishyFish View Post
    I have had that link for years, it was always full of good info, I didn't realize how commercial it had become until after I posted.

    Yea, it looks kinda cold and ugly today, this week-end the rain is coming. Be safe out there.

    Fish

    Thanks! and yeah, it does look bad this weekend. I think I might hit the shore under the 29 bridge so I can stay somewhat dry. Trolling will start on the 19th when vacation begins My speed meter thing is "out for delivery" via ups, so I can spend this weekend mounting it on my little boat so I'll be ready to try out all of the good advice I've been getting

  15. #15
    Petty Officer 2nd Class noworries79's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Are you referring to Napa river California? Forgive my ignorance.

    You mentioned tides earlier, are you close to the coast?

    You can try trolling spoons and jigs with soft plastics behind trolling weights and planers. This is more of a spanish technique, but it works. I prefer to cast to stripers, but trolling allows you to cover some ground and find the fish. When you do it's on!

    While using my trolling motor, I cast from the deck while pulling a corked rig with a 4/0 circle hook and cut bait behind the boat. Sometimes I switch it up and put some live mullet or menhaden on (also known as pogies and bunker). Good luck and keep us posted!

    Hey Dingbat, we are getting geared up for the winter migration. We are already seeing some nice ones. Fairly scattered though.

  16. #16
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Quote Originally Posted by noworries79 View Post
    Hey Dingbat, we are getting geared up for the winter migration. We are already seeing some nice ones. Fairly scattered though.
    Fishing in the Mid-Chesapeake has been pretty consistent for about 5 weeks now. The really big fish just showed up this past week. We starting to see a lot of fish pushing #50 being caught.

    Im fishing Tuesday (last day of Striper season for Maryland) then heading down to the "Promise Land" (CBBT) for three days after that.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Quote Originally Posted by noworries79 View Post
    Are you referring to Napa river California? Forgive my ignorance.

    You mentioned tides earlier, are you close to the coast?

    You can try trolling spoons and jigs with soft plastics behind trolling weights and planers. This is more of a spanish technique, but it works. I prefer to cast to stripers, but trolling allows you to cover some ground and find the fish. When you do it's on!

    While using my trolling motor, I cast from the deck while pulling a corked rig with a 4/0 circle hook and cut bait behind the boat. Sometimes I switch it up and put some live mullet or menhaden on (also known as pogies and bunker). Good luck and keep us posted!

    Hey Dingbat, we are getting geared up for the winter migration. We are already seeing some nice ones. Fairly scattered though.
    Yeah, Napa River California The river comes from San Pablo Bay that comes from San Fran Bay and from there, the coast. I'm about a 45 minute drive from the coast where I live, but I drive out to Napa to fish. There, Tomalas, Bodega, etc...but I haven't taken my 12 foot aluminum boat anywhere but the Napa and Petaluma Rivers.

    "soft plastics behind trolling weights"

    now you'll have to forgive my ignorance, lol....

    any pictures of what this rig looks like or what weight to use? I just want to kinda know what I'm doing prior to getting out there.

    As for finding the striper, do you mean troll until we get a bite and then stay in that area and just drop lines?

    Part of the reason I am going with trolling is the amount of salt water that has moved into the river since the summer. It's brought crabs and the slider rigs with frozen baits just get picked apart by crabs before anything can find it. I swapped over to weight on the bottom and bait on hooks up the line, but still not much luck. It doesn't get picked apart by crabs, but it's not down on the bottom either. I've talked with fish and game in the area and they've talked about the rains we are having possibly helping that cause. It's supposed to rain most of this week and possibly this weekend As of late, I've been using bullhead and mudsuckers, that I catch in traps, with very little luck in my past 3-4 trips out.

  18. #18
    Petty Officer 2nd Class noworries79's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    This first link will show the basic techniques for trolling. This can be used for many species, just avoid the fast trolling paragraphs. I would suggest a #1 planer, if you use a #2 or higher you will need a rod with some serious backbone. If you troll using weights instead, you can use different sizes for different depths. Be sure and remember to use a larger pound test behind the planer/weight to minimize line tangles. I prefer 40 or 50lb. test mono or flourocarbon. Also use a snap-swivel between your weight/planer and your leader that goes to your lure to prevent line twists.

    Troll until you find the bite. Stripers tend to school even when they are larger (on the East Coast anyway). You may even find stipers in smaller creeks, so don't shy away from casting.

    As far as lures, you can troll swimbaits, jig heads with gulp (swimming mullet, sandworms, or shad) or the spoons as in the first link.

    If you fish cut or live bait on the bottom I would suggest a Carolina rig and/or fish finder rig. There are many variations of these rigs. My main FF rig is a double-hook rig with 3-way swivels and a bank sinker with 4/0 or 5/0 circle hooks. You can google these with many results.


    http://www.seastriker.com/downloads/clark.pdf

    http://www.stripersonline.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    thanks! I'll dig into that after work

    I just wish the sites would have full pictures.


    On another note, if anyone is in the BAY AREA and wants to show me the ropes. I'll take you out in my boat, buy all bait, lunch, and whatever supplies we need.

  20. #20
    Rear Admiral rolmops's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    It is very tricky to go the right speed when you troll in water that has a current of its own.
    for starters,you must always use speed relative to water speed and not GPS speed.then you must go at different speeds if you go up current or down current. On top of that ,it is not your boat's speed at the surface that counts,but your lure speed at the down rigger ball,because there are many currents under water that are different from the surface.
    We usually jig/troll at 2.4 to 2.8 knots with five or seven ounce bucktail jigs at around 40 feet down and it is common to catch while going down stream while going about as fast as the current (this would render any other lure useless).But upstream our surface speed is slower while the speed at the ball is relatively high and here many types of big heavy lures work equally well.(we always have 2 very different setups ready to go)
    Often bait fishing and floating with the tides is the most effective,Although many things can be neutralized by trolling at a 90 degree angle to the current and going back and forth crosswise to the stream.
    Make sure the plug is in

  21. #21
    Petty Officer 2nd Class noworries79's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?


  22. #22
    Rear Admiral Boatist's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Trolling speed to me is no set speed. First just put you lure in the water and watch it action.
    Adjust your speed for the best action on the lure and then check what speed your doing.
    In general it is 2 to 3.5 mph. Now the you need to get your lure to the bottom by adding weight and adjusting your amount of line out and then if you must adjust speed.

    Also trolling against the tide to make and movement may have to troll faster or move to slower water. Trolling against the tide I slow as much as possible and still have good lure action.
    In the cold water of the winters you need to slow down. In summer speed up some.
    I have not trolled the napa river area but have caught a lot of stripers near the mouth but mostly on bait.
    Your boat may be a little small but San Pablo bay in the buoy 5 area and sturgeon triangle are usually good striper fishing near xmass an New Years.
    Bull heads about the best for anchor boats. Mudsuckers and shrimp good for drifting on slow tides.
    Over near the Borthers there is an area where often find bait fish near the surface.
    If your see birds diving move over quickly and cast a lure with no weight or very little weight and catch the spripers right near the surface. Really fun and a good fight without any weight.

    A good rig for trolling the area is a heavy hair raiser in yellow or red on the bottom then about 2 feet above that a 3 way swivel and a short line to a Rebel. Troll slow enough that the hair raiser hit bottom often. This is good for both Stripers and Halibut.

    Call Loch Lomond bait and talk to Keith Fraser. He will give you some good tips but like all bait shops they will tell you about the good spots near their bait shop.

    Also ask Keith when we will be giving his Sturgeon and striper semiars. Frist time can help you alot and he will share spots and even put them on your chart after the show.

    Also at the San Mateo boat show Abe and Analgo cunaig will give semiars but they fished more in San Pablo and San Francisco bay.

    I used to fish the San Pablo Bay area with a 14 foot Klamth Aluminum boat but now have a bigger boat. Between storm it can be very nice but if the wind starts to pick up do not stay too Long as it can get danergous for a small boat.

    Some late but good infomation in link below also.

    http://fishsniffer.com/reports/norcalsalt.html#Rich

    Last go to Water4 Fish.org and sign the pettion to save the Delta.
    As you know the Salmon Fishing has been closed for 2 Years and likely again next year for all of California. Striper fishing and Sturgeon also declining. Sturgeon is now down to 3 fish per year max.
    Send all your Elected rep a message that you expect them to force the state of California to let enough water flow thru the delta to the ocean for fish to live and make it by the water and fish sucking pumps.

    http://www.water4fish.org/
    Have some fun and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
    Love to fish out of Bodega Bay, California.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    I have bait fished the Napa River many times. We have caught many nice stripers and some keeper Sturgeon. My friend likes to troll in the Napa River his favorite lure is the Cordell Spots Lure with which he has had great success. He says that it should be fished close to the boat. Most of my striper fishing has been on the anchor but I have also nailed some while trolling. My method is if I am using a deep running lure I go about 1.7 mph(gps) a shallow lure I troll about 3.5 mph. I almost always troll with 100 ft.+ of line out, unless the water is shallow.Vary your speeds and troll in a random pattern. When you get some strikes you will know that you are doing it right. Good Luck in the Napa.

  24. #24
    Petty Officer 2nd Class noworries79's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    ngt,
    You haven't posted here in a while, are you getting on those stripers?
    You don't know unless you go!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: How do you know how fast to go when trolling?

    Quote Originally Posted by noworries79 View Post
    ngt,
    You haven't posted here in a while, are you getting on those stripers?
    Sorry, I haven't been able to go out besides some crab in Bodega for a writing project in my class and a bit of shore fishing in Tiburon. I started back to work this week, and it's supposed to rain this Saturday. I'm going to swing by the pro shop and try and grab some of the lures that people have been talking about in here. Hopefully it will clear up Sunday and I can get that boat out there and give this a shot.

    I might give it a go at the end of the Petaluma River. I heard there was a slough near Black Point that had a nice 30+ hole near the entrance. Maybe troll back to that, anchor down, and then troll back.

    Any good spots in the Napa River? I have snagged sturgeon under the 29 bridge, a bit past marker 7, and heard there have been a lot down in the south slough.

    Also, if anyone in the area wants to go out and show a new guy the ropes, I'd cover all costs (bait, lunch, whatever)

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