TROLLING THE DITCH (inquiring minds want to know!)

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Replies

  • grey_beardgrey_beard Posts: 28 Greenhorn
    winderbill wrote: »
    Got me there. I'm content to handline the last 25' or so. Look, I'm the first to concede that this system is not for everyone. It's basically a lazy man's way to put keeper gags in the box. The challenge lies in getting the lure in the zone and enticing a strike. Once the fish is on, it's simply a slow steady retrieve...no setting the hook and definitely NO pumping!

    I'm going to try the in-line method. Will a Penn 4/0 conventional reel on a 20-50 lb. rod be sufficient?
  • winderbillwinderbill Posts: 255 Deckhand
    4/0 senator, 60lb mono, equivalent trolling rod with a roller tip
  • HallTHallT Posts: 11 Greenhorn
    thanks to everyone for the tips. I've tried trolling stretch 30s and no. 3 planers with buck tails as explained in this thread. After 6 hours of trolling the ditch on the slower tide phases (last 90 min to first 90 min x 2 days) I finally caught a short gag.

    I did mark some large fish on the bottom in 47' but didn't have a way to troll that deep.

    Definitely not easy to keep the baits in the desired depth range. I did lost a complete planer rig, so I think I'm getting deep enough.

    Is there anything else I could be doing wrong or does it just take a lot of time out there to catch a keeper?
  • winderbillwinderbill Posts: 255 Deckhand
    I was out last week and caught 10, all shorts! It's getting late in the season and the big boys will be less likely to chase a lure as the water temps drop further. If you're zig zagging the channel's edge, 30-35ft or so, you're in the zone. Don't worry about marking fish. As long as you're marking bait or structure you're fine. Save the stretches for offshore, planers are the ticket for the channel.
  • HallTHallT Posts: 11 Greenhorn
    Thanks windeebill.
  • HallTHallT Posts: 11 Greenhorn
    Tried again today with this method. Zig-zagged in 30-36' with No 3 planers and buck tails on the slower tides. May have one fish on that came off. Otherwise, nothing.

    I don't consider this a lazy man's method considering the tangles and hang ups. Frustrating.
  • maxalloremaxallore Posts: 5 Greenhorn
    My first time trying was a few weeks ago with no luck. Tried for about 3 hours with a 30ft diver and a no 3 planner with a silver spoon. Became frustrated a few times and re-setting the planner without reeling in a the line really puts a cramp in your arm!! Anyways will try again this weekend maybe or move offshore.
  • DigitalchaosDigitalchaos Posts: 25 Greenhorn
    I put a heavy rubber band thru planer eye and hook to snap on back helps reset easily when planer trips .fish will streych pit band when hooked. I also will pull a rapala cd 14 or a bomber plug behind #3 planer . gopd luclk hope this helps
  • tailwaterstailwaters Posts: 115 Deckhand
    Can you educate me on why you use planers instead of deep diving plug? Trolling for grouper pretty common practice here in north Florida (Saint Marks). I'm asking because I never even thought about using them on bottom fish. I've always just used plugs out to 50' of water. A standard setup consist of 50lb braid tied to a 10' section of 50lb leader. If we troll deeper than 40' then I'll drop down to a 5' section of 30lb leader. The braid allows the plug to dive much deeper due to the thinner diameter creating less water resistance. Using a 40lb mono main line we are limited to depths of 35' and less. 

    Anyways, I'm always looking for new techniques and ways to improve.
  • SloughSlough S.w. Ga./ St. JamesPosts: 4,117 Captain
    Good tips, thanks
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
  • winderbillwinderbill Posts: 255 Deckhand
    Can you educate me on why you use planers instead of deep diving plug? Trolling for grouper pretty common practice here in north Florida (Saint Marks). I'm asking because I never even thought about using them on bottom fish. I've always just used plugs out to 50' of water. A standard setup consist of 50lb braid tied to a 10' section of 50lb leader. If we troll deeper than 40' then I'll drop down to a 5' section of 30lb leader. The braid allows the plug to dive much deeper due to the thinner diameter creating less water resistance. Using a 40lb mono main line we are limited to depths of 35' and less. 

    Anyways, I'm always looking for new techniques and ways to improve.

    I only use planers inside the bay to fish a channel edge with strong tidal currents. Offshore, deep diving plugs make more sense, although planers will work fine there also
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 516 Officer
    Using mono is key with big shallow water groupers. Back in the day we used wire line and I had a few wooden rod butts broken by the strength of the bite. Seems to me they fight harder in shallow water.
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 101 Deckhand
    I used to troll over there all the time.  The further you put the plug behind the planer the better.  We ran 60 lb on the rods and ran 40 lb between the planer and the plug.  I always caught more fish on the planer Bomber Magnum combo better than Mann's or Rapalas.  I think it was due to the tighter wobble of the Bomber.  I would get 4X split rings and trebles from TA Mahoneys in Tampa and replace the factory ones.  If two fish hit the plug at the same time they will rip the factory hooks off of the lure.  I would run the plug 40' behind the planer and I also would spray paint the chrome planers flat black.  The paint wears off so you will have to touch it up on occasion.  Chrome gold was always the most productive for Gags, but we would run green or blue back silver sides as well.  You will catch kings on the green or blue back as well as Gags.  Chrome Gold is the deal for the Gags.  Tampa Bay was good to me, but Bayport in the fall was always the best.  When the stone crab traps get put out in 20' of water we would troll through them 20 miles out.
  • bluelobster33bluelobster33 Posts: 14 Greenhorn
    Trolling for grouper? What the heck..Haha. Seriously I've been with him many years ago and it does work. Good to see you post Bill, Fishing season is almost here.
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