Trolling can be an effective way to locate feeding fish. Trolling for certain species can be effective the majority of the year, especially for our white bass species.
As the water continues to warm, more of the predators in our Texas waters are apt to chase a moving bait presentation.
Trolling live or artificial baits will allow you to cover a lot of water in a short period of time. This is also extremely effective when the bite is slow and you have to search for those few fish that will bite.
Many folks will troll until they locate fish and then stop and work the area. Others may continue to troll over a point or hump and pick up fish on each pass of the location.
Sometimes the moving boat can stop the bite, other days it doesn’t matter. Just be aware the driving through a school of fish, especially if they are in shallow water, may scatter the fish and upset the bite.
Many anglers all over the country use trolling techniques to catch fish. Up north many folks troll all the time for species such as salmon and lake trout. Most every species can be caught in this fashion.
In fact it can be so effective it is outlawed in most black bass tournaments. I never really totally understood why it is not allowed, but it has to do something with covering more water than the other guy who is casting and chunking baits.
The types of artificial baits that are normally trolled include jigs, crankbaits, spoons and spinners. Sand bass and stripers are generally the species most seek with trolling, but many will troll for blacks as well.
The simplest form of trolling and most widely used is to drag your bait behind the boat and go as slow as the big motor will allow. The fish will essentially catch themselves when they hit the bait. You will need to vary the distance behind the boat for depth and stealth purposes.
When using crankbaits, try a variety of baits that dive to different depths. Some of the largest lipped crankbaits will get you down near 20 feet. Standard lipless crankbaits such as the popular rattletrap will go between 2 to 4 feet.
For colors that work on our area lakes, I prefer chartreuse colored baits with an orange belly especially in murky water and/or overcast days. On clear days, I prefer a chrome, white, bone, or blue/chrome, or black back/chrome combinations.
One of the most popular baits trolled on most every North Texas body of water this time of the year is the Petspoon. These spoons come in a variety of sizes and are commonly trolled behind a Hellbender, which allows you to get the bait fairly deep without a downrigger.
Get a Hellbender without hooks, put a three-fourth-ounce Dipsy Sinker on the front and tie a 2-foot leader from the Hellbender to the Petspoon. You may need to vary the size of the leader.
Smaller Petspoons are used for sand bass and the larger sizes can be used for stripers/hybrids. Gold or Silver colored spoons will work.
The line size you use will also affect how deep your baits will dive. The lighter the line the deeper the dive. Boat speed can be crucial. When using your big motor you may be moving your bait too fast depending on the season.
Other fishermen in specialized boats control their speed accurately. Most of us here just go as slow as we can. Early in the year, I will troll on occasion with my trolling motor to slow the presentation down.
Other boats utilize kicker motors to get those slow trolling speeds, which is very effective if you can afford it.
Downrigging, as you all know, is an effective way to get your baits to the desired depths. This is generally a summer pattern, but will work at other times of the year. I have used my downrigger in the winter with my trolling motor to cover more water when the fish are scattered.
You can also troll live bait, but generally you must go slow as you will probably drown the bait if you trolled with your big motor. Just let out enough line to ensure you have the bait at the desired depth.
Hood County Fishing Report
I continue to receive some great white bass reports on our home lake. Limits of large sandbass with some small fish mixed in are being caught from the 377 Bridge downstream to the dam.
Whitney and Possum Kingdom also continue to report good catches of white bass.
Granbury black bass continue to be good as well. Many anglers have been frequenting Granbury due to the good fishing. Striper fishing on Granbury continues to be slow.
Squaw Creek is warming up, but anglers are still catching fish. Blacks to 6 pounds have been reported. Whitney black bass are good to 6 pounds on the upper ends. Black bass on PK are reported to be good to 10 pounds.
Best hybrid action is reported on Lake Lewisville on live shad.
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