How to troll

Now that we have established how to locate the prime areas to find marlin, the next step is to troll properly. The speed to troll a spread at will vary between 6 and 10 knots depending on the boat and weather. In rough seas it is best to slow down a little and quarter along with the waves, not only will the lures be able to run at their optimum, but it will also make it more comfortable for the crew.

Punching straight into a swell is far from pleasant and generally not as productive. A following sea will offer a gentle ride but, surfing down the waves will invariable causes the lures to blowout as the boat speeds up. To avoid trolling into the weather take the time to carefully plan the day ahead after seeing the weather report.

Many crews troll over a canyon once and then head off to the next one. Instead of concentrating on the productive areas, a majority of the day is spent in transit. Choose a specific location and work it thoroughly.

It is imperative that the peak fishing period around the tide change should be spent on a productive area, not travelling between locations.

On the same note, don’t just fish right over the structure. Work the wider area just in case the bait and predators are up or down current of the structure. Often, particularly when there is a healthy current running, the upwelling is actually past the feature. It is exactly the same as a mountain stream, when the current is running; the fish often sit on the pressure wave up current of the rock and not behind it as many anglers may think. Despite the obvious difference in locations the dynamics are the same and the fish often hold station up current. Use your sounder to pin point the locations of bait schools deep in the water column then concentrate right on top of them.

A patch of birds circling about could indicate a patch of bait or possibly even predators. Instead of charging right through the centre of the birds, work around the edges. The predators will be shadowing the bait waiting for an opportunity to attack. Sooner or later a fish will appear so just keep working the school.

Another trick is always waypoint every strike on the GPS. This is particularly so for tuna and wahoo which are schooling fish, but even marlin will congregate in an area. So if you get one bite chances are if you work the area you will get more.