Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Skook

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I'm thinking about doing some trolling this year for trout and walleye. Nothing too fancy. I've never done any serious trolling, and so I was thinking about purchasing two new line counter trolling reels.

However, I already own an Abu Garcia 5000 baitcasting reel that I don't use much, and so I was thinking about buying one of those line counters that attach to the rod for something like $10. My thinking is that I could use the line counter when trolling and then remove it when bass fishing, etc.

These traditional Ambassadeur baitcasters look similar to the line counter trolling reels that I have been looking at in catalogs and on the Internet. What are the major differences? Are the trolling reels set up to operate like a baitrunner, where when a fish bites, the line can be taken and then the reel can be "switched" back to normal drag for fighting the fish?

Can these be used interchangeably, or do I need to get trolling-specific reels?
 

Mark_VTfisherman

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Yes, your baitcaster *can* be used, but you would be better off with a trolling reel.

Secondly, you will find that the clip-on line counters are undependable for line under 12lb test- I have several and they almost don't even work at all with braided line.

Third, a baitcaster may hold an OK amount of mono, but will not hold enough of leadcore line if you are going to use it.

Conclusion? Get trolling-specific reels and rods. Line counters will work 100%, you can use the best line for the job, and the clicker can be an indispensible feature when trolling.
 

Bondo

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Ayuh,... I agree with Mark,...

A dedicated reel will work Better, but Any reel will work...
I used the detachable line-counters before I bought a bunch of line-counter reels...

Okuma sells decent line-counter reels at decent prices..
Are the trolling reels set up to operate like a baitrunner, where when a fish bites, the line can be taken and then the reel can be "switched" back to normal drag for fighting the fish?
I rig mine as a normal reel,+ just lighten the drag, til a Hook-Up...
 

Skook

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Thanks for the advice. I received an email from Fish USA, and they recommended the Okuma reels as well. Also, I had my eye on the Depthmaster reels at Cabela's. They have an inexpensive graphite reel for $40 and a more expensive aluminum reel for around $90. The nice thing is that they claim the cheaper reel uses the same drag system as the more expensive reel.

I was thinking about buying Cabela's $60 rod/reel combo for lead core, and then buying either two of the $40 or $90 reels for use on two of my 7' casting rods that I already own for flat lining. Also, I was thinking about mounting a Big Jon Gadabout downrigger on my 14 ft. aluminum boat and/or learning how to use snap weights. I have a small bare-bones v-hull and will be fishing small lakes.

Would I be better off going with all lead core set-ups, or should I get into downriggers, snap weights, planers, etc.?

Like all hobbies that start out relatively harmless, this looks like it could get expensive pretty quick. Not to mention, I will need to seriously upgrade my arsenal of crankbaits, spoons, etc.

What exactly is the "clicker" that you mentioned and how is it used?
 

Mark_VTfisherman

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Thanks for the advice. I received an email from Fish USA, and they recommended the Okuma reels as well. Also, I had my eye on the Depthmaster reels at Cabela's. They have an inexpensive graphite reel for $40 and a more expensive aluminum reel for around $90.....

The Okuma Magda Pro line counter reel & rod combos are fairly inexpensive- about $65-$75 each. That's for both rod and reel, and I have had really good luck with these for lead core line. A little big for mono though.

I was thinking about buying Cabela's $60 rod/reel combo for lead core, and then buying either two of the $40 or $90 reels for use on two of my 7' casting rods that I already own for flat lining.

That's for line counter reels? The Daiwa Accudepth reels are in that price range and are a good quality; don't know about the Cabella models.

Also, I was thinking about mounting a Big Jon Gadabout downrigger on my 14 ft. aluminum boat and/or learning how to use snap weights. I have a small bare-bones v-hull and will be fishing small lakes.....Would I be better off going with all lead core set-ups, or should I get into downriggers, snap weights, planers, etc.?

Lead core is more versatile and can get you down 35 feet or so OK. There is no replacing downriggers for what they do best, howevefr. But if I had to choose between downriggers or leadcore, I can do with leadcore acceptably well what I do with downriggers down to 35'. But I can't do with a downrigger everything I can do with leadcore.

I would start with the lead core setups, and run Big Jon Diver Disks on monofilament rods to get down AND off to the side. Downriggers can come later.

Like all hobbies that start out relatively harmless, this looks like it could get expensive pretty quick. Not to mention, I will need to seriously upgrade my arsenal of crankbaits, spoons, etc.

Actually, unless you have to buy top equipment, I could set you up with quite a selection of lures, rods and reels for under $1000. Expensive is relative. Buying a snow machine for $6K to $10K is expensive; fishing is low priced.

What exactly is the "clicker" that you mentioned and how is it used?

The "clicker" is an audible device which clicks when line is being payed out from the reel. When a fish strikes and pulls line, it makes a clicking noise. You can either loosen the drag if pulling heavy cowbells or whatever, or just the leave the free-spool lever down and the clicker on. When a fish strikes it takes line, and reel makes noise, alerting you to take the rod in hand.
 

Skook

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Thanks again. It's beginning to come into focus. Are you familiar with the "Precision Trolling" book that I've been reading about? If so, is it worth the $40 investment?
 

Mark_VTfisherman

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

....familiar with the "Precision Trolling" book that I've been reading about? If so, is it worth the $40 investment?

I don't own the book, but my fishing partner has one. Of course he has one of almost everything- he owns a tackle shop! Anyway, I read through it and found it educational. However, I also have gotten a good sense of how my lures run just being on the water.

For example, when the sonar says you just crossed a ridge at 18', and you get hung up or start ticking bottom about where your lure let back is, but you had no problem when trolling over 19 and 20 depths, you can pretty much predict you are running a 18' down or a little over. :p

But if you are serious about trolling, there is a lot to learn from the various lure and line combo charts as far as what lures run what way at what speed. Probably I should have the thing in a locker on the boat, but maybe I am just a stubborn dutchman- I rely on my sense of the lures and my experience with gained watching my sonar.
 

rolmops

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

I often fish with down riggers and lead line at the same time and I like both.
As for down rigger rods and reels,they are the way to go.The rods are very flexible enabling you to get a very good bend in the rod when you set it.When a rod "goes off" they will pop right back up providing instant pressure on the line,this will set the hook and will prevent the fish from getting away because of a slack line.
Reels with reel counters are nice,but mostly for copper lines,for most work you do not need the counters.
As for lead line,I love it,but I disagree with the idea that it will get you only 35 feet down.I use 600 feet of lead line and I get it down to 90 feet or more with 12 to 16 colors out.This while trolling live bait at 1.7 mph (at the ball).I have brought lakers up from 200 feet down just by stopping the engine when I saw them on the fish finder and allowing the bait to flutter down.It gets them every time.

Mark, as for stubborn Dutchman,I thought that to be my monopoly,it is good to know that I am not the only one out there.
 

Skook

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

OK. It looks like you guys know what you're talking about, and so I'm going to ask for some more advice, if you would be so kind.

I have a 1995 Alumacraft V-14 utility that I bought less than a year ago (my first boat). I will mainly be fishing smallish lakes in the Pocono Mtn. region of PA, such as Harvey's Lake (600+ acres, 100' deep), Beltzville Dam (900+ acres, 120' deep) and Lake Wallenpaupak (5500 acres, 60' deep). There are a few websites that I visit where guys do well trolling on these lakes for nice-sized trout, walleye, and even stripers. I've been fishing my whole life, but I have no serious experience fishing from a boat.

If you were starting out with a very limited budget, what would you purchase to get started? At times, I'll probably have my ten-year old son along, and so I'm probably looking to set up for two people.

I was thinking about buying two identical rigs in order to take any guess work out of setting up for me and my son. I'm thinking about two rod/reel combos that include a Daiwa Sealine 47LC. From what I've read, I should be able to spool 10 colors of 18 lb. lead core + backing on these.

Should I put 10 colors on each rig, or should I set them up differently for different situations? What should I bring along for flat line trolling, if anything? I have a few 7' medium casting rods/reels. Should I get some small, inexpensive line counters to run mono on these?

I mentioned this to my dad a few months ago, and he surprised me one time by giving me a very well-used Yellow Bird planer (port side) and a small Sep's (?) planer (adjustable for either side). I think he scored them at a fishing tackle flea market or something. I have a few small spools of 15 lb. braid lying around that I should be able to use as backing. Also, I do have a small assortment of crankbaits (a few shad raps, husky jerks, rogues etc.) and a few floating Rapalas in different sizes/colors. I'm good with most other terminal tackle (hooks, swivels, snaps, etc.).

I'm sorry for the long-winded post. It may be a few years until I can afford to accumulate everything I need. I'm just itching to get started and do some "real" fishing as opposed to waiting around for the stocking truck to pull up.;)

I really appreciate the help.
 

Mark_VTfisherman

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

...Reels with reel counters are nice,but mostly for copper lines,for most work you do not need the counters...

When one of us start catching fish with, say 115 feet of letback on a particular lure, the others on the boat will then duplicate that pattern. That is where the line counter comes in handy- takes away the guess work.

EDIT: I even like the counters for leadcore. Often I walk away from a rod that is paying out line to set another or steer, and I don't have to count colors that way. I tend to catch more fish when I am giving attention to the boat and other rod(s) and I am not paying attention when I am letting line out. But that's me- a little ADD and I gotta focus:redface:
/EDIT


As for lead line,I love it,but I disagree with the idea that it will get you only 35 feet down....

Didn't mean to convey that it won't work over 35', just that you wind up with A LOT of line out and that cuts back on my personal enjoyment of fishing. Plus speed becomes more of a factor on depth with long lengths out, and with most of the lakes in VT being smallish, turning corners within a lake with 1000' feet of line out leads to getting hung up. Probably not that big of a deal on Champlain, but most of the time we are on other lakes.

...looks like you guys know what you're talking about...
HA ha ha!

If you were starting out with a very limited budget, what would you purchase to get started?

What are you thinking? You can do a lot with $500, but that is limiting, too. $1000 might get you outfitted fairly well in that boat.

Tackle is discussed below, but MY first purchase would be a good basic sonar! The tackle is useless if you cannot find the fish first. In fact, learning about where to look, habitat, and how deep is probably key to catching fish, but that knowledge only goes so far without sonar. Cabellas is blowing out Fishmark 320's for about $110. (A GPS can be down the road- GPS can help your fishing, but it doesn't catch fish like fishing rods do, and sonar is more important than GPS to start out. Again, rods and lures catch fish, not sonar or GPS. But even a photo-copied state contour map will help you relocate structure you see on sonar- and that's free.)

I was thinking about buying two identical rigs in order to take any guess work out of setting up for me and my son. I'm thinking about two rod/reel combos that include a Daiwa Sealine 47LC. From what I've read, I should be able to spool 10 colors of 18 lb. lead core + backing on these.Should I put 10 colors on each rig, or should I set them up differently for different situations?

The Sealine is a nice reel, but the Accudepth series runs a little less money, and has worked well. I do think that having identical reels and setups is an advantage. So, no, don't set them up differently for different situations. You can use them differently, but then duplicate one to the other if one pattern stands out. But if they are different, then you can't as easily make one match the other.

..What should I bring along for flat line trolling, if anything? I have a few 7' medium casting rods/reels. Should I get some small, inexpensive line counters to run mono on these?

For the leadcore I have been using 8-1/2' Okuma Magda Pro line counter combos. I like them, and they are inexpensive. If you have the money, the Accudepth reels would be an upgrade.

Then I would get a pair of the smaller Daiwa line counter reels for flatlining, probably on 10' or longer graphite rods. Again, an identical pair of reels both with 10# mono. These can be used as flatlines, with Big Jon Mini Diver Disks, or even do duty as downrigger rods.

Thirdly, you will need a selection of spinning reels and rods- 6- 7' in length, medium, probably with mono or flourocarbon. These can handle various jigs, plugs, crawler rigs, etc. and even you side planers.

I gave advice mostly regarding trolling- it seemed that's what was requested. But just a word regarding braided line. If you are going to be trolling in areas with a lot of rocks and/or snags, a braided line can help you keep your tackle, but you should use a softer rod and mono leaders to keep from yanking hooks out. Also, braided is good for jig fishing.

Those 6 to 8 rods will get you going and work well - you will be outfitted better than most to start out trolling. Later, you may want to add downriggers- I like Big Jons- but I think that will max out what you can take in that boat and still have room to fish.

BTW

Good luck- and be patient! Going out trolling takes a while to learn how to be succesful. Fish with an experienced buddy if you can.
 
Last edited:

4JawChuck

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Excellent thread, 5 stars. Learning a lot just reading, thanks for all the great advice!;)
 

northernmerc

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Interesting discussion and good pointers.

In northern Saskatchewan, we usually like to go for lake trout before they go deep. Trolling with a spin casting rod and reel works well during late May and June. While fishing for the shallow trout, we sometimes hook good sized walleye (5 to 8 pounds) or pike. Usually, it's not difficult to catch one or two trout per hour at that time of year. The usual size is from 5 to 12 pounds. They also run much bigger, with fish up to more than 90 pounds caught.

Occasionally, we do use lead core line or heavy monofilament (40-50 lb) with weights later in the summer. We do get lucky, but not that often, after the upper layers of water warm up and the trout go deep. I guess a fish finder and line counter would help with that, but we aren't that serious about fishing.

For eating, many people around here prefer the pike (jackfish) and walleye over the trout. Pike remain easy to catch all summer long, although one has to know where to find the walleye. Regarding the pike, we don't like the big ones, over five pounds. They taste stronger, while the two or three pounders are among the best fish one will ever eat. It's common to throw anything bigger than ten pounds back.

We had a fisherman from Germany visit last summer. He usually fishes for salmon every summer in the coastal rivers off the west coast of Canada. He couldn't wipe the smile off his face as he reeled in jack after jack. At one point, all four people in the boat had one on at the same time. :D
 

Skook

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Well, I made my move. Today, my son and I went to Cabela's and I purchased two identical set-ups. Coincidentally, the most recent sale flyer that I received with my Cabela's credit card statement included a few good deals on trolling equipment.

I picked up two Daiwa Accudepth Plus 47LCs. The original price is $74.99, but the "Cabela's Club" price was $49.99. However, they only had one new reel in box. Therefore, I bought the display reel at an additional 10% off, or $45 (looked almost as new). I also picked up, on sale, two Cabela's Depthmaster 6'6" lead core rods for $19.99. The original price is $34.99. The reviews on these could have been better, but for $20 each, they are worth the gamble.

I grabbed some 10 lb. mono for backing, two 100 yd. spools of Cabela's 18 lb. lead core line ($11.99 x 2), 50 yards of 10 lb. fluoro leader and 25 meters of 6lb. fluoro leader.

The rod/reel/lead core cost $82 for one and $77 for the other, plus a few bucks for the mono backing and leader material. I'm going to try and spool them up tomorrow. From what I've read, the Daiwa 47LC size will hold 10 colors of lead core (i.e. 100 yds.), 100 yards of mono backing and a length of leader.

The boat had rod holders on it when I bought it used. I have a handheld GPS that I'm going to try to use to gauge my speed, but I'm not sure if it's capable of measuring such low speeds (1.5 to 3 mph). I have a Lowrance X67c fishfinder that I bought a few years ago for ice fishing, and it came with a boat transducer as an added bonus. Probably not the best sonar, but it should be serviceable. I already have some crankbaits, jerkbaits, spoons, and Rapala minnows.

I also have various other spinning and casting rods/reels that I can use for flat-lining with mono (e.g. 7' casting rod with Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 5000). I may pick up one of the $12 line counters that attach to the rod, but I don't know how accurate they are.

All I need now is for the ice to melt off the lakes (though I do enjoy ice fishing too) and some time away from work to give it a go.

If I'm forgetting anything or if anyone has more pointers for a beginner, I'm all ears (or eyes in this case).

Thanks for the help.
 

Skook

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

OK. Change of plans. Being that I had two identical set-ups, I decided to spool the lead core on first to see how much backing I would need. I was able to get the full core onto the ADP47LC, but I had no room left over for backing. So much for what I thought I read on the Internet. Maybe not everyone uses backing.

I stripped off three colors (30 yds.) to make room for the 10 lb. backing, connected the two with a nail knot, and wound it on. Then, I got the other reel, tied the backing to the spool and wound it from the first reel onto the second. With 110 yards of 10 lb. backing plus seven colors of Cabela's 18 lb. lead core, I just about filled the spool. It looks like I am within about 1/8 inch from the very top of the spool. Then I added 10 ft. of 10 lb. test fluoro leader material. I connected the lead core to the leader with a very small Spro Power Swivel. It's about the size of a small black ant, but it's rated at 35 lb. test. Lastly, I tied a small snap to the end of the leader.

This may be better than my original plan. The lakes I will be fishing are generally 100 ft. deep or less. I believe the thermocline sets up somewhere between 20 ft. and 35 ft. With seven colors of lead and 180 total yards of line on the spool, I should be able to get right into the strike zone. I may even be able to get all seven colors out, which means that my braided lead core won't be getting worn and frayed in the rod guides.

I decided to go with seven colors so that I would have three colors left over from each 10 color spool of lead core. Now I will use these three colors on two other outfits. Because it's only three segmented colors, I think I could get by without a line counter and use these outfits for shallower trolling (15 ft. or so). I think I'll spool my Ambassadeur 5000 with the left over lead core. I believe it will hold three colors, and, hopefully, some backing. If need be, I'll use thin diameter superline for the backing to get a decent amount onto the spool.
 

Mark_VTfisherman

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Well, I made my move. Today, my son and I went to Cabela's and I purchased two identical set-ups....The boat had rod holders on it when I bought it used. I have a handheld GPS that I'm going to try to use to gauge my speed, but I'm not sure if it's capable of measuring such low speeds (1.5 to 3 mph).

Most of the small Garmins do well at slow speeds from what I have seen. If it is over 10 years old you might find that under 1.0 mph it won't read a speed- the two I have used on my boat are from the 90s.


I have a Lowrance X67c fishfinder....Probably not the best sonar, but it should be serviceable
Good.
I already have some crankbaits, jerkbaits, spoons, and Rapala minnows.

Can I suggest Sutton Spoons in hammered silver (nickel) and silver/brass as well as some generic "salmon" spoons...

I may pick up one of the $12 line counters that attach to the rod, but I don't know how accurate they are.

They are OK with 10# or heavier mono, but they can be inconsistent and I have a love/hate relationship with them. And the love is more like hope ;)


I was able to get the full core onto the ADP47LC, but I had no room left over for backing. So much for what I thought I read on the Internet. Maybe not everyone uses backing.

I have a little bit of 20#-test Stren Super Braid under my leadcore line, but not much. That's on top of a wrap of black low-temp electrical tape to keep it from slipping. My fishing buddy did what you did, but I wanted all the lead on, and it fit fine on my Okuma Magda Pros. I have used the whole spool only a couple of times.

I count about 5' of depth per color for the leadcore, so that's 35' down... But depending on speed, others have claimed less and more... I tend to troll too fast but I landed salmon and lake trout late spring at Seymore last year on a day when most weren't catching anything. I was running about 2.5- 3mph believe it or not.

Then I added 10 ft. of 10 lb. test fluoro leader material. I connected the lead core to the leader with a very small Spro Power Swivel. It's about the size of a small black ant, but it's rated at 35 lb. test. Lastly, I tied a small snap to the end of the leader. This may be better than my original plan....I may even be able to get all seven colors out, which means that my braided lead core won't be getting worn and frayed in the rod guides.

Again, your depth may be more than mine, but the swivel, leader, and snap is my setup. However, I run 12-16' of leader so when the fish gets to netable proximity the snap has no chance of hanging up in the tip guide. Further, it lets me cut and retie a few times if needed.

If need be, I'll use thin diameter superline for the backing to get a decent amount onto the spool.
Works for me...

Enjoy it when you finally get it on the water!
 

Skook

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Re: Trolling Reels vs. Baitcasting Reels

Thanks for the tip on the Sutton Spoons. This is from the Savant Spoons website (they sell Sutton Spoons as well):

" The Savant Spoon was founded on the basis of scientific findings on how game and predator fish feed and react to baitfish. Unlike many lures that attempt to simply "copy" the action and color of other lures the Savant Spoon was designed after extensive review of marine and freshwater research on the habits and attributes of Ciscoes, herring, alewives, rainbow smelt, suckers and shad - how they swim, their reaction to gamefish, the sounds, their environment, seasonal changes, and electrical stimulation given off during feeding."

Interestingly, many, if not all, of the lakes I have in mind for trolling have alewives as the forage base. It looks like these spoons are right on the money.
 
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