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How fast do you troll?


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I've been an avid open water and ice fisherman for years, but I finally bit the bullet and bought a boat. Just wondering what speed you troll at and if you vary it often? I've had some luck at 1.5-2 mph. All the lakes in my area are shallow, and I have been using bottom bouncers.

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Lindy rigs barely have to move at all and really don't have to move at all. Troll spinner rigs just fast enough to turn the spinners as a rule of thumb but maybe faster on occasions to trigger bites. The depths of crankbaits are not speed dependent and generally dive the same depth at all speeds unless you are using some type of weight system such as leadcore or snapweights to get them deeper, but that's another subject. 1.5 mph to 3 mph is pretty close to the range you'll want to run them in most cases. Some cranks run better at the slower end and aren't designed for faster trolling speeds but it varies alot. As far as the actual speed to troll anything, the most important thing is to let the fish tell you what they want. Personally, I like to start trolling crankbaits at 2 mph and vary the speed from there to determine what the fish want on a particular day. Many days, it's a variation in speed that will trigger a strike and I find that it'll usually be just a short burst of speed, say 2mph to 2 1/2mph or 2mph to 3mph that will often trigger a strike. I believe that often times fish follow cranks and that sudden change in speed makes them believe the bait is trying to get away from them and then they'll grab it. When you get your boat, get gps to determine speed and start experimenting. When you find something that works for you, start learning the variations from there. Don't get discouraged because it'll take alot of practice before it all becomes clear. Good luck.

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One more thing on bottom bouncers and spinners. When you toll them, use a heavy enough bottom bouncer to keep them very vertical instead of dragging them (not more than about 45 degrees or so). A rule of thumb is 1 oz. for 0 to 10 feet, 2 oz. for 10 to 20 feet and 3 oz. for 20 to 30 feet. The key with bottom bouncers is not to drag them but to hold them close enough to the bottom so that you can occasionally "bounce" them off the bottom if you drop the end of the rod. That's why they aren't called bottom draggers.

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Think of them as a bottom checker. Drop the tip every 15 seconds or so to make sure the bottm didn't go anywhere, then lift it up a couple of inchs.

My speeds are generally this.

Lindy/3-way/live bait rigging

0.1-0.8 MPH

Slow Death

0.4-1.2 MPH

Crawler harnesses, #3 blades turn at a slower speed than a #6

0.6-1.5 MPH


1.5-3.0 MPH

I will definitly change things up if the fish show me something different. For me, being a technical fisherman the importance of good electronics (GPS) is crucial to repeatability. I cannot tell the difference between 1.1 and 1.2MPH, but the fish can.

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To put it a different way, I troll as fast as I can and still catch fish. Once you make contact with fish, speed up a little bit until they stop biting. The faster you can go and still catch fish, the more fish you will come in contact with during a given time.

Exactly! Me too.

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