ReelLazy77

Chesapeake Bay Striper Trolling Help

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Hi I'm I'm looking for some advice on trolling. I'm new to trolling, went out on my buddy's boat on Tuesday on the bay and got skunked. He is mostly new to trolling as well. We set out 3 rods, 2 with umbrella rigs and one with a parachute rig. No bites. We were getting plenty of hits on his fish finder at varying depths, mostly between 20-30ft. I'm wondering if we are getting the rigs down deep enough. Here is the set up we were using: 3 levelwind reels spooled w/ 65lb braid on 6'6" boat rods, 1 larger (probably 14‐16in across) umbrella with a 12in shad trailer (probably 6oz?) and a 4oz inline sinker placed about 18" in front. 1 smaller (12in?) umbrella with a 6in shad trailer (4oz) and no added weight. 1 parachute rig, 6oz and 4oz i believe w/ no added weight. We varied our trolling speed between 3-4 mph. Not sure how much line we were letting out but my guess would be around 100yds for each rod. How much do we need to let out, or how much weight to add, to get down around 20-25ft? I will say that the weather was weird the day we went out, super foggy and no wind until around noon, maybe that had something to do with the lack of bites. But im more inclined to believe we we're doing something wrong. We left out of Edgewater and fished the main channel areas outside Kent Island. Read some things about the water being funky right now from algae, it did look a little reddish in some areas. Anyways, any and all help appreciated! We are newbies just looking to get some fish for the grill! We're headed back out on Monday.

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I suspect you're going to need a wire line outfit or two. Failing that, slow down.  If you were doing 3/4 mph INTO the current, your rigs were probably just under the surface. Going with the current, I'm guessing you were down no more than 15 ft.

 

Even with wire, 100 yards is a lot, but with anything other than wire, you're just not getting down. 

 

This one should draw plenty of comment. If it doesn't, on your request I'll transfer this to Boat Fishing.  First, let's let this ride here.

 

 

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Thanks Brian that's definitely helpful. I was wondering about wire line but I'm hoping to avoid respooling the reels I have if possible. Is it possible to add enough weight via inline sinkers, in addition to dropping trolling speed, to get down that deep? Also, if anyone has any advice on areas to troll between the rte 50 bridge and chesapeake beach that would be very helpful as well.

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Not all reels lend themselves to wire line. A Penn 4/0 Senator (used is fine) is almost classic. A Penn 349 Mariner was designed, albeit in an earlier era, for wire. What reels are you using?

 

I'm going to wait on comments from the more knowledgeable before opining further.

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The SEnators sound appropriate.  The Okuma, I don't know. Keep an eye on galvanic corrosion issues if you go to wire, that can happen on aluminum spools; a chromed spool is preferable for wire use for that reason. (You might post a question in the Penn Forum, for the appropriate spool, if you decide to go to wire.)

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2 hours ago, BrianBM said:

Anyone else thinking of Capt. Ronnie Lepper and his boat "Kim?
"

The guy ruined me. You chimed in. :) 

 

 

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Back years ago I trolled with a group of guys every year. One guy made custom tackle. One thing we always did was put a divers depth record guage on a small caribiner and slid in down lines that were not on the down rigger. When we cleaned the lines we would check the guage to see max depth. We then made a accurate chart on which bait ran at each depth depending on how many bars of line we let out. One bar is a one pass across the spool when putting line out. This really helped us dial in depths and speed. Trolling is a science that must be mastered to be successful. Good luck. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

IMO, you guys were moving too fast with your speed. Cut the speed in half, 1.5 to 2.5 mph would be a better speed. 3 to 4 is a better choice if you targeting Spanish Macs. If you don't know how much line you had out, there's no possible way you can know what depth you're getting the lures down to. You need to mark your lines in some manner, or get a line counter. 

 

I know a lot of folks who troll that area of the bay & they don't use wire. You can get down deep enough without it, but again, you have to know how much line you have out or it won't matter what you're using. 

 

Marking fish on the electronics does nothing if you can't get your lures at that depth. For all you know, as Brian said, you could have been several feet over their heads, and chances are that was your problem at the speed you were moving. 

 

Also, where was the tide while you were out there? If you're not checking the tides & using that to your advantage, you're going to spend a lot of time riding around, and still not catching any fish. You want some current. You're also usually better off trolling across the current than with it, or against it, but that can depend on the boat traffic and where you are in bay. 

 

The MD DNR site has a tidefinder link, and it was always a good one. 

 

It's been a long while since I've been on the bay, but If I remember correctly, the main channel down in that area on the eastern side can be rather deep. ( 50' and deeper?) 

 

You'll figure it out, eventually, but you need to come up with a better plan, and set your lines so you know how deep your trolling. 

 

 SOL, does have a Chesapeake Bay forum, so your questions may also be more appropriate there instead of the main forum. You might also be better off asking this of some of the guys on a site like ****. I stopped going on there several years back, due to too much BS, but there used to be more guys there that trolled the bay than you'll find here. 

 

Edit: I didn't realize that site name would get blocked out. It's more of a Chesapeake bay site, so do some searching. Check out a fellow on Facebook, Skip Zinck, he fishes the bay, often out of Sandy Point but doesn't usually mind giving general advice. You might also check with Shawn Kimbro, who does a lot of light tackle fishing in the bay. I don't know how much trolling he does, but maybe he can direct you to someone. He has a blog too. 

 

 

Edited by Jim H

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Awesome info, thanks everyone. Will definitely be better prepared for Monday! Mr. Bigdeal I was wondering if you could elaborate a little on the eels, do you use them all the time or are they good for spring or summer specifically? And how do you fish them? 

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Reel Lazy if you have PM privileges, PM me your email address and I will email a couple of articles and write ups from the past several years and a couple that have the rods, lures, weights, distances etc well displayed.  It it just too much information to post here.

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One easy way to get deth is let out enough line so you hit bottom the reel up a little grom there.  Most days you want the lure within 10 feet of the bottom

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