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Offshore trolling recommendations

I mostly fish from Boca Grande to Sanibel offshore waters, out to about 40+ miles. Currently I have been trolling Stretch 25 and 30, jigs and spoons with no planer. Trolled on 6500 class spinning reels with 20 lb mono to 65 lb braid. I don't troll much but I want to improve. I don't have outriggers yet, but the boat has the mounts for them so I will get some at some point. I also plan on getting some planers. For now I troll 3 rods. Usually the spoon or jig on one and a 25 and 30 on the other 2. For grouper I try to keep it at 3 mph and for pelagics I have been bumping it up to 5 or 6 mph. I'm not killing it would be an understatement. I could use a few tips on lures, speed, planer size, and even rod reel combo set ups more dedicated to trolling. Thanks in advance.

Replies

  • ScoutboatScoutboat Posts: 2,418 Captain
    The best diving planer that I've used is the "Dipsy-Diver".
    It's a directional diver that you can set to run away from the boat, giving you more space directly behind.
    Jim
  • crossbonescrossbones Posts: 127 Deckhand
    The biggest problem trolling Pelagics on this coast is that most people don't believe it can be done productively. Trolling for grouper is a little different. Trolling for grouper and even kingfish happens relatively close to the coast. As such it is within reach of many people and inexpensive. You don't really need numbers to catch grouper trolling. Instead you find your numbers trolling for them. Same for kings when they are running. Of course you are more likely to find gags and kings if you already know where the bottom structure is. But, when trolling for coastal kings and gags you can cover a lot of ground to find productive grounds which can be fished with other methods at other times. Trolling plugs you should be going about 6-7 mph and bumping bottom every now and then. For those who think you can't pull them that fast you are wrong. Some lures will run true right out of the box others won't. If they roll over and pop out of the water send them back under warranty. We pull stretch 40s offshore for wahoo all the time up to 10-11 mph. Don't let a bad lure convince you they can't be run faster. For grouper run just 2 deep divers at different distances from the boat and if you want to a shallow runner further back for kings. The kings will eat the deep runners too.
  • crossbonescrossbones Posts: 127 Deckhand
    Trolling Pelagics other than kings is different. How many miles from shore is immaterial. What you are looking for is depth of water. In my experience 140 few is the place to start to begin seeing consistent opportunities at blackfin tuna and wahoo. Granted, you will always here reports of desirable fish being caught shallower. But those opportunities do not happen consistently enough to bother with. The further up the coast you go towards st Pete the faster you get to deep water. 40 miles out of ft Myers isn't deep enough. 40 out of Venice and further north is deep enough to start. Next you are looking for the greatest number of differences in a targeted area. Before targeting an area you find out as much as you can about the conditions offshore. I recommend subscribing to rip charts and or Hilton's real time navigator and learn how to use them. Call the guys who run the sites, they are very helpful.

    We are lucky enough to have the loop current in the gulf. The loop is the precursor to the magical east coast gulf stream. Lots of folks think you need to go fish the gulf stream on the east coast to find Pelagics. And if you are only willing to go 5 miles out they are right. But if you learn to identify where the fish are likely to be and then go fish that area you are likely to be rewarded. After all, all those fish you hear about being caught are in the gulf too right?

    Blackfin and wahoo should be a dependable catch for those who are willing to make the runs, I'd the right water and spend the time to get the bite. If your looking for numbers of sails I would fish Jupiter in the winter. If I wanted gaffer dolphin and marlin I would begin fishing in 600 few in the gulf.

    If you can find areas with structure, hard bottom, temp breaks, rips, weed lines, chlorophyll changes, altimeters changes you will find the fish
  • whipachawwhipachaw Posts: 505 Officer
    Great info. Thanks. On just the right days I think I could get out to about 150 feet, but I am not sure how that will leave me on fuel for trolling. I may have to keep closer to shore and hope for the best.
    I assume when the gulf stream dips in closer will be my best bet?

    What gear are you pulling the stretch 40 with?

    Is this link helpful in seeing when the gulf stream comes closer to our coast? http://www.myfoxhurricane.com/custom/models/rtofs/rtofs_current_gulf.html
    Thanks again.
  • stoutnerstoutner Posts: 256 Deckhand
    It looks like the loop current is about 150 mile offshore of Tampa....
    Capt. Wayne Stoutner

    Reel Stout Sportfishing

    Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout fishing

    www.reelstout.com


  • stoutnerstoutner Posts: 256 Deckhand
    Scoutboat wrote: »
    The best diving planer that I've used is the "Dipsy-Diver".
    It's a directional diver that you can set to run away from the boat, giving you more space directly behind.
    Jim

    I use Dipsy Divers up here in Lake Ontario. You can run 2 divers off each side if you set one on the 1 setting and the other on a 2.5 setting. Up here we all run divers off 7 strand steel wire fishing line. Mono has way too much stretch to run dipsy divers. You can run them off braided line also but up here we get "sea fleas" during mid summer that stick to braided line like cottonwood...

    I'm going to bring a couple down with me in April and try some trolling with them. I'll run them off braided down in the Gulf.
    Capt. Wayne Stoutner

    Reel Stout Sportfishing

    Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout fishing

    www.reelstout.com


  • crossbonescrossbones Posts: 127 Deckhand
    We pull the stretch 40s with bent butts and 50s.

    Unless your fishing out of a sport fish trips to the main body of the loop current are normally too distant to get to consistently. You don't need to get there though. It's the loop eddys that you are looking for. The main body of the loop is normally 100 plus miles offshore, typically mor like 150 or 160. On this coast The yellowfin are usually found out there in 10000 feet with the main loop. Marlin can be found closer as they are more solitary and don't have the same food requirements of a ravenous school of yellowfin. They will chase a really nice eddy because the eddy will contain plenty of food. Similarly blackfin and wahoo don't need as much food as the yft or the marlin. As a result they will follow eddys for longer periods of time. So as the eddy spins off the main loop it travels toward the coast carrying with it the forage as well as the predators we are hunting. Sometimes the eddys can get pretty close to shore. When you here about sails and bft caught in close proximity to the beach you can take it to the bank that there was a loop eddy that brought them there. Learn to find and follow the eddies and you will find the fish.

    Tha fox hurricane site isn't going to provide you with the detailed info you need to find the fish.. View the tutorials on ripcharts and Hilton's and you should understand.
  • whipachawwhipachaw Posts: 505 Officer
    Thanks again for the great info. I have been checking out both Hiltons and Ripcharts. Both seem great. Do you have a personal preference? Is there any reason to have both? Do you have a pound test preference when trolling those 40's? I assume braid is the best bet. I have been using a section of mono on the braid to supply some shock absorption. The stretch 30 pulls pretty hard and with 65 lb braid on a 6500 Fin Nor spinner, I have the drag set so I hear a click from it now and then as I troll. I already lost one stretch to a break off on the hit. That's when I added the section of mono and started running the drag looser. Sorry for all the questions but the more I learn, the more questions I end up with sometimes. I'm hoping to head out Monday or Tuesday after work. I may just stay within 10 to 20 or so miles of shore and try some trolling for king, but the info I have gained will still come in handy for that. Again, thanks for the time and info. It's been a great help.
  • dwarddward Posts: 30 Deckhand
    Don't want to hijack thread but we fish out of Marco Island and get out to pulley ridge on the south end frequently and we catch a lot of grouper, snapper on top and the deep fish in 500-1000 feet when deep dropping. But would love to catch some big tuna in the deeper water. I've read where the roffers reports are what some use. Just curious if there might be any yellow fin tuna out in the deeper water south of pulley ridge?? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks - Dan
  • ScoutboatScoutboat Posts: 2,418 Captain
    stoutner wrote: »
    I use Dipsy Divers up here in Lake Ontario. You can run 2 divers off each side if you set one on the 1 setting and the other on a 2.5 setting. Up here we all run divers off 7 strand steel wire fishing line. Mono has way too much stretch to run dipsy divers. You can run them off braided line also but up here we get "sea fleas" during mid summer that stick to braided line like cottonwood...

    I'm going to bring a couple down with me in April and try some trolling with them. I'll run them off braided down in the Gulf.

    Don't run the chrome colored ones, they'll get bitten off.
    Jim
  • crossbonescrossbones Posts: 127 Deckhand
    whipachaw wrote: »
    Thanks again for the great info. I have been checking out both Hiltons and Ripcharts. Both seem great. Do you have a personal preference? Is there any reason to have both? Do you have a pound test preference when trolling those 40's? I assume braid is the best bet. I have been using a section of mono on the braid to supply some shock absorption. The stretch 30 pulls pretty hard and with 65 lb braid on a 6500 Fin Nor spinner, I have the drag set so I hear a click from it now and then as I troll. I already lost one stretch to a break off on the hit. That's when I added the section of mono and started running the drag looser. Sorry for all the questions but the more I learn, the more questions I end up with sometimes. I'm hoping to head out Monday or Tuesday after work. I may just stay within 10 to 20 or so miles of shore and try some trolling for king, but the info I have gained will still come in handy for that. Again, thanks for the time and info. It's been a great help.

    the old way we pulled the stretches was straight from 130 lb braid. we are transitioning to a shck leader using 300 lb braid. we are using 300 so the same rigs can be used for high speed wahoo trolling. if you're using stretch 40's your wahoo hunting and they don't care about leader size. might want to run a short piece of wire or cable right off the lure before the leader

    i currently use rip charts. used to use hiltons, but haven't seen their product in quite a while. i like rip charts very much and all my friends use it to
  • crossbonescrossbones Posts: 127 Deckhand
    on our coast yft are probably the least prdictable species. they are so fast and need so much food and our coast does not have any real deep strucutre to hold them consistently like in the northern gulf. sounds like you are already doing some kick *** trips.
  • stoutnerstoutner Posts: 256 Deckhand
    Scoutboat wrote: »
    Don't run the chrome colored ones, they'll get bitten off.
    Jim

    Good Point. I paint all of mine flat black. Even up in the Great Lakes.
    Capt. Wayne Stoutner

    Reel Stout Sportfishing

    Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout fishing

    www.reelstout.com


  • ScoutboatScoutboat Posts: 2,418 Captain
    I think that the bright colors attract fish, but down here some fish have cutting teeth that will sever the line.
    Jim
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