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TROLLING THE DITCH (inquiring minds want to know!)

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  • grey_beardgrey_beard Posts: 38 Deckhand
    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: 302 Deckhand
    4/0 senator, 60lb mono, equivalent trolling rod with a roller tip
  • HallTHallT Posts: 21 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: 302 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: 21 Greenhorn
    Thanks windeebill.
  • HallTHallT Posts: 21 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: 79 Deckhand
    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: 122 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: 5,351 Admiral
    Good tips, thanks
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
  • winderbillwinderbill Posts: 302 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: 1,151 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: 496 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.
  • ALASKA GUYALASKA GUY Posts: 114 Deckhand
    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.

  • ALASKA GUYALASKA GUY Posts: 114 Deckhand
    does any one use downriggers? 
  • SeaSearcherSeaSearcher west FlPosts: 111 Deckhand
    edited August 2018 #48
    does any one use downriggers? 
    Yes, plenty of guys do, especially in Tampa bay in the channels, I'm sure it works offshore too. If you ever get a chance to go to a Vance Tice seminar(if he still does them) it's worth it.  He goes into detail about using downriggers. They use 4-6oz jigs with an 6-10" curlytail grub(white glow or pink) mostly, about 40-60' ft back from ball.

    I use Rapala magnums and Striker 30s(rattle), two different wobbles down to 35ft or so. Just have to try, see which gets more hits on any given day. Some days it doesn't matter color, wobble or current direction, other days I can't get a bite. Different colors, IMO, work better at different times of the year, water temp, water visibility, sunny, cloudy etc..
  • rmeladine1982rmeladine1982 Posts: 43 Greenhorn
    does any one use downriggers? 
    Yes, plenty of guys do, especially in Tampa bay in the channels, I'm sure it works offshore too. If you ever get a chance to go to a Vance Tice seminar(if he still does them) it's worth it.  He goes into detail about using downriggers. They use 4-6oz jigs with an 6-10" curlytail grub(white glow or pink) mostly, about 40-60' ft back from ball.

    I use Rapala magnums and Striker 30s(rattle), two different wobbles down to 35ft or so. Just have to try, see which gets more hits on any given day. Some days it doesn't matter color, wobble or current direction, other days I can't get a bite. Different colors, IMO, work better at different times of the year, water temp, water visibility, sunny, cloudy etc..

    Thanks for recommending our product. Check out the new colors we just got at www.strikertackle.com


  • SalteyDogSalteyDog Posts: 65 Deckhand
    Take me with you! Send email if you have room! I'll be there 1st week in November!
  • wrhattwrhatt Posts: 14 Greenhorn
    I usually do shallow water fishing from my bay boat but with snook, reds, and trout catch and release only until 08/2020 I will have to try this if I want fish in the freezer. When the big ships are traversing through the channel is there a required distance you have to stay away from them?
  • winderbillwinderbill Posts: 302 Deckhand
    seldom
    wrhatt said:
    I usually do shallow water fishing from my bay boat but with snook, reds, and trout catch and release only until 08/2020 I will have to try this if I want fish in the freezer. When the big ships are traversing through the channel is there a required distance you have to stay away from them?

    seldom an issue unless the ship is carrying some security sensitive cargo inwhich case they'll have an escort that'll warn you to keep a distance...I'm trolling the channels dropoff so I'm not in their path anyway
  • SmoothwaterSmoothwater Posts: 146 Deckhand
    edited September 2019 #53
    Pink Bomber CD 30.  Made a quick run in the channel. Go stealthy 80lb Diamond Braid FG to 60lb Fluoro. 
    Everglades 243
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 13,290 AG
    Nice!   so Braid wasn't an issue when that slob it your lure?    
    Like is like a Helicopter.  I do not know how to operate a Helicopter  
  • Salty Dawg44Salty Dawg44 Homosassa, FLPosts: 1,228 Officer
    Nice!   so Braid wasn't an issue when that slob it your lure?    
    I'm a bit to the north, and do most of my Grouper trolling in rocky bottom areas in 12' to 30' of water. I always use braid with 8' of mono leader. The lack of stretch in the braid tends to prevent the Grouper from getting turned back down to the rocks immediately after the hookup. I'll use 50# mono line instead of of regular leader material because it is not as stiff and gives the lure better action. If not in really shallow water, I'll add 6" of single strand wire to the mono to keep from losing lures to Kings.



    MY WORST FEAR......THAT WHEN I DIE MY WIFE WILL SELL ALL MY BOATS & FISHING GEAR FOR WHAT I TOLD HER I PAID FOR IT.......

    I may not always agree with what you say,
    but I will always respect your right to be wrong!
  • trousertroutmantrousertroutman Posts: 1,363 Officer
    does the plug on the left have a trace of wire? 
    Make the forum great again.....consolidate general fishing with for sale or business but keep reports separate!
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    Hello everyone. Any recommendations on a solid trolling setup that doesn't break the bank? Mainly trolling in the bay and west of the skyway. 
  • gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 727 Officer
    "Many" years ago I used planers and cursed the things every time I put one out.  Then downriggers became available and I was an instant convert.  There are still some hassles with them, but all in all they work much better.....for me.

    Reading on these forums for a long time now, I see references to planers and their use over and over.  Is there a reason you guys prefer planers to downriggers ??
  • gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 727 Officer
    "Many" years ago I used planers and cursed the things every time I put one out.  Then downriggers became available and I was an instant convert.  There are still some hassles with them, but all in all they work so much better......for me.

    Reading these forums for some time now, I see frequent references to the use of planers and setting them up.  is/are there reason(s) you guys prefer planers to downriggers ??
  • Salty Dawg44Salty Dawg44 Homosassa, FLPosts: 1,228 Officer
    edited December 2019 #60
    does the plug on the left have a trace of wire? 
    Yes, they both do. On the on on the left the mono to wire connection can be seen about 6" above the plug. Here I routinely catch King Mackerel while trolling for Grouper in 20 or more feet of water, so I add 5-6 inches of wire to my mono leader. Losing plugs gets expensive.

    MY WORST FEAR......THAT WHEN I DIE MY WIFE WILL SELL ALL MY BOATS & FISHING GEAR FOR WHAT I TOLD HER I PAID FOR IT.......

    I may not always agree with what you say,
    but I will always respect your right to be wrong!
  • winderbillwinderbill Posts: 302 Deckhand
    gogittum said:
    "Many" years ago I used planers and cursed the things every time I put one out.  Then downriggers became available and I was an instant convert.  There are still some hassles with them, but all in all they work so much better......for me.

    Reading these forums for some time now, I see frequent references to the use of planers and setting them up.  is/are there reason(s) you guys prefer planers to downriggers ??
    If you read the original post, the system I use is all about planers. If you're telling me you do better with downriggers than you did with planers then I suspect you didn't properly employ the planers. I once was of the opinion that downriggers were a better option until Capt Bob demonstrated both simultaneously with the planer outproducing the downrigger 6 gags to one, consistently. Now I know people who do well using downriggers and anyone of them, as are you, are free to share their secrets here as I have;)
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