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Locate fish first then troll your lures in them you do not need to have your downriggers on the bottom they suspend in this lake most of the time

 

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Seems like a simple question at the outset but actually the answer can be quite complicated. Seneca and many of the Finger Lakes have a very different bottom structure than say much of Lake Ontario that is more like a basin. Seneca has a very diversified bottom both in terms of consistency (e.g. silt, weed growth, cobble, and rocks and sharp drop offs and outcroppings and pronounced points jutting out from shore where it comes up radically in a short distance. You can be trolling in deep water and then abruptly come up into shallow water. what  this means is that you have to be constantly monitoring your down rigger position and the bottom itself and making adjustments to the rigger. It is very easy (and common) to get the weights hung up on bottom when your attention drifts sometimes even momentarily. If it is a soft or mud bottom you may be able to retrieve the weights without much problem but in rocky or even cobble areas they can hang up so no matter what you do have the drag on the rigger set so that it can slip out if it hangs up. I once saw a guy in front of Sampson get hung up and it rips part of his gunwale out (fiberglass hull) and the downrigger went to the bottom.

 Another factor to consider is what you intend to run behind the weight and how far behind it. Running cowbells near bottom you need to run them short to the weight to prevent hangups while spoons can be run further behind. Some folks have riggers that can track the bottom and this can be deadly but still requires close monitoring and care. I seldom run closer than 5-8 ft from bottom on Seneca and I know the lake like the back of my hand or I wouldn't run that close. Blowback is another thing to consider as you can be further off bottom than you think and strong currents on Seneca can also get you into trouble if not watching intensely as there are cross currents and switching currents that can all of a sudden make the weight go closer to bottom than you had been when running with it. Some folks actually purposely bounce the weight of the bottom itself  to attract lakers and it can be effective but also costly. I know this is probably more than you asked for :smile: but there are a lot of weights of various types on the bottom of Seneca:lol:

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 I know this is probably more than you asked for /cdn-cgi/mirage/bbcd918c8e31f6efe742bb34bcef891048e7c454d38358c3022eca2cbc8be8d7/1280/https://www.lakeontariounited.com/fishing-hunting/uploads/emoticons/default_emoticon-0100-smile.gif but there are a lot of weights of various types on the bottom of Seneca/cdn-cgi/mirage/bbcd918c8e31f6efe742bb34bcef891048e7c454d38358c3022eca2cbc8be8d7/1280/https://www.lakeontariounited.com/fishing-hunting/uploads/emoticons/default_emoticon-0136-giggle.gif

 

 

 Amen to that Les!

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WOW THANKS for all the useful information. I truely appreciate it. My next question is how far should the dodger be from the ball and the spoon from the dodger. Also how far should my cowbells be from ball and than spin and glo from cowbell? I'm a newbie to this way of fishing.

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Once again, this has many answers and hopefully some of the guys will pipe in with their specific setups. When running fairly close to bottom I usually run about 3-4 ft from the weight with flashers, dodgers and fly or cowbells, and slow my speed to about 1.4 to 1.8 sometimes even less with current. A standard for spoon is about 12- 20 feet if run clean if without attractor and with attractor 6-8 ft. or so. Things are different if running a Spin Doctor as they go all over the place rotating so I don't use them near bottom. You'll want to check the specific setup out to see how it is operating at the speed you are going before sending it down. As far as the distance to the peanut or Spin n Glow from the cowbells it is worth experimenting with for your own purposes but as a rule I set mine about 18 inches to about 28 inches being the longest. The Hammerhead cowbells offer the least amount of resistance so you might want them instead of the older type metal ones for easier handling. Both the size # 4 and # 5 work well on Seneca but I most often use the #5's with bait rigs.  Remember to set your release clip to tighter tension with cowbells or flashers etc. to avoid false releases.

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Just too add to Les’s, I’ll run offset on each side until I find a distance that works better. The smaller the blade the father back you can go without it dropping and hitting bottom. The faster you go >1.5-1.8 the farther back you can go.  Warning though when you get deep >150ft or more the farther back your leads are the more of a tangle you’ll have from the currents that Les mentioned.  Find a pattern that works stay with it.  I’ve got some tricks I want to experiment with so I’ll fill you in on those May 29th if they work 😜

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If anyone has the bottom running riggers down pat it is Frogger. He is my idol; especiially since he won the Seneca Derby last year:lol:

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