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First Time Troller

Took advantage of great weather. Left SLI solo around 8:00 headed South to Pecks lake area and limited-out on Spani-Macs in about an hour or so. Went closer in searching for some Bluefish action near the beach with no luck. Talked to a kayaker who was paddling back toward shore (he caught his limit of Mac's) and said he'd seen Cobia's, but no luck hooking up with one. Me either...

Decided to troll back toward the inlet (40-50 ft of water) with a Shimano Waxwing I bought a couple days earlier, what the heck, something might be interested in hitting this thing, right? Made it to the inlet still in 50 ft. of water and turned West... to my surprise my reel started buzzing! After a short (but very welcome fight) I boated a 6 lb. Bonito. My day was done pretty much, it was around 2:00, so I joined the entourage of boats inbound being careful to slow down when I reached the dredging operation. :angel -I had listened to the dredge operator most of the morning on 16 shouting expletives :grin to those who were not complying with the no wake restriction around his vessel, rightly so. Boat Rage! :willynilly - Got back, ran into an old buddy who told me how to take belly strips out of that Bonito and rig it for trolling. I decided to head back out Tuesday and try my luck with the Bonito strips...

Got a late start, headed out of PBI around 9:30 to smooth seas. What a glorious day! There were lots of vessels off of Juno/Jupiter and points North. After rigging two rods with Bonito strips with a skirt, I set them out. Note: the last time I went trolling was 25 years ago with a buddy, so it's been a while, and I don't know jack-squat about what I am supposed to be doing.
- But after reading this forum for the last month or so, I had a few idea's (thanks to all you folks who post such great comments and advise!) Set one side long, and one side shorter and started off in 90 ft, out to 200 ft and back in to the 150-120 ft range. After about 3 hours with nothing, the wind and seas were kicking up a bit, and I decided to try the bottom with a chicken rig.
Started my drift in 95 ft. of water with a building wind/current. Got a nice hit on cut squid that felt like I had hooked into the bottom. After some persuasion, got a huge Trigger up and brought him aboard; Dinner! Caught 2 grunts, (and a couple more fish I don't know.) They look almost like an eel, and have a dorsal fin that runs all along the top of the fish to the tail, the gill plates are sharp, their skin is smooth and tough to cut through, and they don't put up much of a fight. (Anyone that can tell me what these guys are would be appreciated.) It was about 4:30 and I headed back to PBI from North of Juno in what seemed like 3-4 ft. seas with a strong SE wind. Needless to say, got my butt kicked in the Bay boat on the way back. At Phil Foster park by 5:30 - gave the grunts to a couple from Canada passing through on their Sailboat, kept the trigger for me and my wife. - At least I didn't get skunked for the day.

Will keep trying to educate myself on trolling baits and rigging them, or what artificial lures make good trolling baits. Would really get a kick out of fighting something like a Kingfish, Mahi, or if I am really lucky a Sail or Wahoo. Meantime, Life is Good!
Thanks for all the great threads here, as well as advise. :hail

Pura Vida!


  • brianbbrianb Posts: 2,509 Captain
    Good for you man, you got out there and saw some action. As far as educating yourself, obviously this forum is a good resource plus all the articles from FS, you can also get tons of information just "googling," over on the hull truth, and by becoming buddies with your local tackle shop and bait guy. If you have a couple extra bucks, I would hire someone to go with will save a ton in the long run. Keep up the good work and we'll see ya' out there! (put a pic of your boat as your profile pic)
  • Fi$h2nguyenFi$h2nguyen Posts: 7,804 Moderator
    Great report! Trolling is addicting, especially after you get your first quality hook up!

    Keeping busy while away from Florida
  • Machine HeadMachine Head Posts: 2,634 Officer
    Great job on the detailed report.
    Head down to your local bait shop.
    They will give you all the info you need for trolling.
    If the mystery fish was silver, sounds like a cutlass fish, ribbon fish.
    Great bait to troll with.
    "There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." - Kenneth Grahame
  • Uncle BuckUncle Buck Posts: 1,197 Officer
    They look almost like an eel, and have a dorsal fin that runs all along the top of the fish to the tail, the gill plates are sharp, their skin is smooth and tough to cut through, and they don't put up much of a fight. (Anyone that can tell me what these guys are would be appreciated.)

    What color? Flat or round body?

    Like Machine Head said, if it was silver (plus flat body with gnarly teeth)... it was a Cutlassfish. (But I don't think this is what you caught, because you didn't mention 2 of the obvious characteristics: silver and teeth; and cutlassfish are usually caught at night.)

    But if it was more yellow/tan with reddish tail, a rounded body, with a dopey face... Sand Tilefish. (A somewhat common catch during the daytime while reef/bottom fishing.) This is my guess.


    Sand Tilefish:
    Meanwhile, on the little fiberglass boat Uncle Buck...
  • FWCSnookFWCSnook Posts: 886 Officer
    Bill beat me to it. Sand tile.
  • Flight RiskFlight Risk Posts: 2,491 Captain
    FWCSnook wrote: »
    Bill beat me to it. Sand tile.

    Yep! It's number 2 - The Sand Tile fish. I've caught them before, just didn't know anything about them. I ran out of bait once and cut one up in chunks for bait. Got some hits on it too. The skin is tough as leather though. Are they good for anything?

    Thanks for the nice response guys, will change the profile pic too.

    Pura Vida!
  • Dolphinman432Dolphinman432 Posts: 148 Officer
    Learn how to rig a ballyhoo on both mono and wire leader with a chin weight and drag those around in the same depths and you should get plenty of action on the right day.
    Follow me on instagram @capt_askey for frequent pictures of my fishing adventures! Sailfish Alley Outfitters Sponsored team member.
  • LET'S GOLET'S GO Posts: 2,041 Captain
    B/B you did great on a first time troll! There is so much about TROLLING that it is really a art and needs a lot of practice. You should try to find a form member or hire some one like E$ to spend some time with you. If you want P/M me and maybe if we have a open seat you could join us.

    baf44a4e-6651-4a38-8a03-7b1c3b6bd22b_zpse5ca0565.jpg L.G. LIFE IS GOOD ON THE "LET'S GO!"
  • Flight RiskFlight Risk Posts: 2,491 Captain

    Pura Vida!
  • StepaboStepabo Posts: 1,052 Officer
    Nice job, sounds like your well on your way, Salud
    “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.”
    ―Hunter S. Thompson
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