How To: Open Water Trolling for Bluefish with Swimming Plugs

How To: Open Water Trolling for Bluefish with Swimming Plugs


Hi folks, Capt. Mike here from Salty Cape
and today we’re in a spot called the Hooter which is just a little bit south of the eastern
portion of Martha’s Vineyard. As you can see, it’s a hot, hazy summer day. We’re here just after lunch time. The incoming tide is just starting to roll. Today we’re going to be trolling plugs on
lead core line. We’re going to be using the Hogy 5-inch Slider. We’re trolling at a fast clip. We’re doing about 7-and-a-half knots now. There’s a deep side to the rip and a shallow
side to the rip. So we’re gonna look at a trolling pattern
on how to effectively find these fish. Now the hooter is a cool spot because you
never know what you’re going to catch. Trolling, I’ve caught everything from big
scup, fluke, sea bass, bluefish. The ultimate catch here is a bonito or a striped
bass but today we’re going to look at how to do a search pattern here and really get
into that late, hot, hazy summer fishing. I particularly like the shorter, softer style
trolling rods. This particular rod happens to be an ultra-light
stand-up Tuna rod but it’s rated for 15-30lb. test. More than appropriate for striper fishing
or bluefishing like we’re doing here at the Hooter. And I have spooled this reel up with lead-core. The thing I like about lead-core is I can
fish variable depths of the water column depending on how much line I have out. The Hooter is sort-of a mixed bag in terms
of what you’re targeting here. There’s bonito that are all over the water
column, stripers they tend to hang out here at the bottom, bluefish are all over, sea
bass are all over and again, sometimes you troll up fluke here and they’re near the bottom
as well. So lead-core gives you a lot of options while
trolling. You’ll notice that I’m using this 5-inch Hogy
Slider. Now, trolling a lipped bill is very popular
here. What a lot of people do with the lipped bill
is troll them on spinning reels, the lure dives down, hangs at a nice depth. Works very well. But what I like about this lip-less lure,
this Hogy Slider, paired with lead-core line, is that I can put that lure anywhere in the
water column that I want to based on how much line I have and so for example, if I’m going
over the fish finder and mark a nice fish on the bottom, I can take the boat out of
gear and this lures are going to sink down with the lead-core. And then I put the boat back in gear and they’ll
emerge off the bottom. And this is as compared to traditional floating
style — billed lures — if you take the boat out of gear, the lures are going to do the
opposite of what you want them to do and float up to the surface. So these lip-less swimming plugs are very
effective in this situation because again you can compensate for the depth based on
how much line you have. I’m going to let this back out and see how
it goes. So right now, I am fishing on the deep side
of the rip so I am going to let out all my colors but just one. So we’re going to be fishing a little deeper. I’m also going a little faster. The fast you go, the more your lures will
rise. I am playing around with the trolling speeds
and the amount of line and I feel like it’s worth the extra effort for tweaking boat speeds
and line lengths to really dial in where in the water column most fish tend to be but
again, here at a spot like the Hooter, they’re at all depths. Tight, we got a fish on. We’re going to leave one engine in gear. This feels like a bluefish. You often know when you have a bluefish when
they quickly start jumping on the surface. We just turned on the fish. Jamie is keeping the boat in gear for us but
she just went down to one engine. And that’s going to allow us to keep one line
out while we fight the fish. And when the fish jumps, I know that’s going
to be higher up on the surface so I don’t worry about the other lead-core line. I know it’s clear, I’m just switching to this
side of the boat. So my job as an angler was to make sure the
lures didn’t pick up weeds and that they’re swimming properly. My job as a captain now is to find the fish. There’s a shoal line that goes across here,
there’s a shallow side and a deep side. This is my first time fishing this spot this
year. This spot, the Hooter, tends to fish later
in the summer but any open water spot where there’s open water trolling and fishing various
levels of the water column, you would fish it the same way. The factors you can toggle are the boat speed,
the amount of line and the direction of trolling into the wind or into the tide or down the
wind or down the tide. I will do big circles in one way and then
a big circle in another way or across. I don’t know what it is but sometimes the
fish want the lures uptide, or they want them downtide, in the light or out of the light. I don’t know always know what I’m doing right
but when I discover it, I just replicate the situation. We just went over a target on the fish finder. I am going to take the boat out of gear, I’m
going to let these lead-core lines drop and these plugs drop. Everything drop in unison. I’m going to put these lures as close to the
bottom as I think I can get them. Maybe I’m going to wait 15 to 20 seconds. You don’t often get a hit on the drop but
oftentimes the hit comes as the lures start emerging off the bottom of the water column
and come back up. Very effective technique and using a lip-less
swimmer is a great way to do it because this lead-core line is going to really control
where that lure is going to be. Fish on. Awesome double-header. This spot is fishing hot and the tide is building
up. Awesome late afternoon fishing. Fun little bluefish. And this time of day, this time of year, I’ll
take it. This one feels a little bigger. We got the bluefish on the fast troll and
when we slowed the boat down to land the bluefish, the lead-core, slider combination went down
towards the bottom obviously because as you see, we have this great sea bass. It’s the middle of July, dog days of summer. Super hot. Shorts, flip flops. Middle of the day. Non-stop action, just happy, fun fishing. Not exactly hardcore but high in the fun factor.

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