The day seems perfect: light winds and clear, calm water. Just one problem: no fish. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Sometimes fishing is at its worst when the weather is at its best. The culprit? Perhaps you’ve hit the peak of a high-pressure system, or maybe the moon is in the wrong phase. Or could be it’s just too calm. These tricks can help rough things up a bit and attract a fish or two.
1. On slick-calm days, trolling doesn’t produce much boat motion, so your baits aren’t particularly active. Jerk your lines by hand to produce an erratic motion.
2. Use surface agitators. Birds, lures that “smoke,” and jigs that skip over the surface may be more productive.
3. Fish are sometimes hesitant to attack on the surface in calm conditions. Accordingly, put a bait or two below the surface with planers or downriggers.
4. Vary trolling speed radically. Go from 5 to 7 to 10 mph (make sure your baits aren’t spinning), then notch it back again.
5. Troll in an S-pattern. Sometimes fish will hit just as your lures or baits cross over your wake and enter smooth water, and sometimes they’ll hit when the lures cross back the other way.
6. Vary your trolling direction in relation to the current. If you started downcurrent, shift to cross-current. Then try upcurrent, and then cross in the other direction.
7. Put out four teasers to rile up the water.
8. Yell at the lifeless ocean at the top of your lungs; blame the captain; blame the mate; blame your ex-wife who put this curse on you. But enjoy a day spent on smooth water.