Slow-trolling live bait is a great way to cover water and increase your offshore success. Pacific Coast anglers slow-troll sardines and mackerel to hook up with tuna and dorado, while Atlantic and Gulf coast anglers troll live menhaden, goggle-eyes and blue runners for king mackerel, mahi and sailfish. Try these techniques on any coast.
1. Hearty live baits, capable of swimming while being dragged at 1 to 2 knots without spinning or tangling, are required.
2. After the initial flurry of bites on a trolling stop wanes, nose-hook some baits 150 feet behind the boat and slow-troll a large circle.
3. If you have to, bump the engine in and out of gear to keep your speed down.
4. Keep the reel in free-spool with enough thumb pressure to maintain control of the bait.
5. Be ready to feed the bait back for a few seconds before setting the hook.