Trolling For Trout: How To Catch Boatloads Of Trout In Idle Zones!!!

By: Joseph Simonds on February 25, 2020
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how to troll for trout

It’s trolling time!

And I’m not talking about offshore trolling for mackerel or tuna…

I’m not talking about trolling inshore waters for speckled trout!

Most people don’t troll inshore, but it’s actually a really fun (and effective) way to fish.

Here’s why:

  1. If you’re passing through an idle zone, you might as well have a line out
  2. A small trout feels like a monster when you’re trolling
  3. It’s a great way to beat the heat and get a breeze going
  4. There can be tons of action

In this short podcast, we caught four species, including several trout, and we were getting bites almost nonstop.

This style of fishing is great if you just want tight lines, if you’re taking family and friends out, or if you’re waiting for the tide to turn.

However, even though this is an effective way of fishing for many reasons, we’ve learned some lessons through trial and error that you’ll want to avoid.

Listen to this podcast to learn:

  • The best types of spots to troll for trout (including depth and how fast to troll)
  • The exact equipment you’ll need (including braid, leader, jig heads, and lures)
  • What not to do when handling fish
  • The surprising key component that can make or break your trolling run
  • And much more

I recommend watching the video below to see all of the action, but you can also listen to the audio by clicking the play button under the video, or on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify and leave us a review

Trolling For Trout [VIDEO]

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Trolling For Trout [PODCAST]

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One thing that Luke mentioned in the podcast is that he uses his phone to navigate and find out where the edges of the flats are.

Check out this video to learn how to use your phone to find good fishing spots and navigate shallow water safely.

Conclusion

winter trout inshore slam

What a fun way to fish!

It seemed like every time we put a line out there we were getting bites fast, and even though the fish weren’t huge, the moving boat made them feel like monsters.

This is a great way to fish if you want tight lines, want to put friends and family on fish, or are just waiting for the tide to turn.

All you have to do is put a Slam Shady or other paddletail on a jig head, cast it out, and hold on!

Have you ever trolled for trout?

Have any questions about trolling for trout?

Let me know in the comments below!

Also, if you have any captains you’d like us to go out with, or have any requests for species, types of spots, or states to fish in for these live podcasts, leave those in the comments, too.

Know someone who would like to catch fish this way, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Mt Davis
Guest
Mt Davis

What size hooks are you using?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

what size hooks are using with your slams?

Jonathan Morgan
Member

Y’all may have addressed this earlier, or in the video, but how fast were y’all trolling?

Clint Bowers
Member

It seems like this could work for Spanish Mackeral. Has anyone had luck with that?

Dennis Gregoris
Member

I’m surprised I thought everyone did this. I’ve been trolling between spots for 45 years. I’ve been in Florida for 5 years, kayak fishing. The one thing for sure, if you don’t have a line in, you can’t catch anything. I go up to 4 miles to spots, peddling is great, I can peddle all day at 2.3 + or – and I usually get more numbers trolling to and from, than I do throwing soft plastic. Of course the fish I’m throwing for are reds and Snook. Often I stop trolling because it takes to long to get where I’m going, takes time to catch and release 10.to 20 trout and lady fish.I now have a skinny boat, I catch more fish from kayak. Getting old, don’t know how much longer I can kayak, had to get a boat, don’t plan on stopping fishing as long as I’m upright.
Denny

Everett Kimball
Member

I tried this trolling at Crystal River Fl. Left Pete’s Pier and started trolling, in a few minutes I caught a nice Catfish, then later I caught another one. Got more bits. Was really surprised I caught catfish but was fun. I will definitely will start trolling in no wake zones. Thanks for the tip.

Sam Craparo
Member

I’m 65 and when I was little commercial trout fisherman would troll with about eight cane poles behind a small outboard motor boat. I would also troll behind a canoe with a trolling motor to my spots. Kinda feels like am cheating but hat the hell.

Curtis Miller
Member

Great PodCast… I’ve often wondered if trolling behind boat or paddle board when moving between locations would produce and what equipment to use, now I know 😉 Thanks guys

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Curtis!

Everett Kimball
Member

I just tried some trolling yesterday at Crystal River Fl. Was just leaving Pete’s pier and started trolling. Within 10 minutes I got a hit it was a nice size catfish. After that got some hits then another catfish. Did not expect a catfish. Did get a lady fishing . It was fun and will do it again on my way out to the gulf. Thanks for this tip.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Glad to see that you had some action on your first try.

Marc Wisniewski
Guest
Marc Wisniewski

Great video and topic. On a few lakes in Wisconsin where I live, we discovered this for bass and Pike. We have lakes where two or more are connected by mile-long navigation channels. The resident fish in these areas were so accustomed to boat traffic that they use the disturbance of the prop wash to disorient baitfish and feed on the easy-pickin’s. As an experiment, we would pull off the to the side and cast. If no boats were going through, not much happening. A boat would go by and we would throw into the trailing wash, wham… hooked up. It was funny because many boaters would see us fishing and yell, “sorry” for driving through where we were fishing… and in actuality, we here hoping boats would come through!

Love your podcasts and videos!

Luke Simonds
Admin

That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing the cool story. I have been in a similar situation like that with seatrout in canals… the boats can sometimes turn them on too.

Jerry Dexter
Member

I like the no editing, because it shows what really is going on, I once was on a shell reef in galveston, Tx , using the troll mtr to get back , and tossed out a paddle tail lure, and caught a trout!

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the comment Jerry!

Jerry O'Connor
Member

I also want to vote for the unedited videos. We get enough canned stuff where you only see the best bite they ever had. Being realistic gives those of us trying to learn a much better idea of what to expect and to watch what is really happening.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the helpful comment Jerry!

Chuck Bissler
Member

For some reason, I cannot find the Slam Shady talked about. Is there a website to purchase them? You did send me one last week, but not being the computer wizard, I was unable to connect.

Luke Simonds
Admin

They are only sold in our online store: https://shop.saltstrong.com/products/slam-shady-paddletails

Note: We’re out of all sizes except of the 5″ version now… next shipment is coming in on Tuesday.

Tom Wenz
Member

Here’s a tip regarding Joe’s comment to keep rod pointed down…when trolling by myself like this I place the rods in a rod-holder and let the lines out as normal. I then place a rubber band across the top of the line and the spread the rubber band across the rear boat cleat keeping the angle of the line very low as it enters the water. When a fish strikes, the rubber band snaps off and you fight the fish as normal.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for leaving the helpful comment Tom! Looks like it’s a great idea.

Delbert Young
Member

Enjoyed the live event. I’ve trolled for trout using live bait on a popping cork using a trolling motor, but never tried it at idle speed using the boat engine. I definitely will. I know my grandsons will love it. Thanks for the video Joe and Lukie… LOLOOL (only a brother could get by with Lukie).

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Delbert!

Warren Dale
Member

Another great Video. I like the unedited versions because you tell us what you are thinking and how you adjust to the conditions. I have one question about trolling the Slam Shady on the 1/4 jig head. What kind of knot do you use while trolling it?

Luke Simonds
Admin

I use the non-slip loop knot for almost all lures: https://www.saltstrong.com/articles/non-slip-loop-knot/

John CARULLO
Member

Great video. Love trolling. I find it is best to troll with rod in rod holder, not held in you hand (think jig runs more steady like a swimming fish instead of you moving it around holding the rod and you also don’t try to set hook like when in your hand when feel strike). To slow your boat down, you can pull a 5 gallon bucket behind the boat. If not a purest tip jig with mud minnow.
Thanks keep up the good work…

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the helpful comment John! I never thought about using a bucket to slow down the trolling speed… cool idea!

Robert Singleton
Member

Catching Lizard fish, that was a pretty big one. Last Summer I caught the biggest one I had ever seen jigging for flounder, it probably went around 3 pounds, I could’t get my hand all the way around it and they fight like crazy. I am going to the NC Insider meet up this weekend in South Port, NC

Luke Simonds
Admin

Wow! That’s a giant lizardfish. They supposedly are very good to eat, so that one would have been coming home for dinner had I caught it:)

Thomas Marks
Member

Let’s get this out of the way… love the live on the water pod cast. Whew got it! Okay, now about trolling. Before I came down to Florida I was a charter captains/guide on eastern Lake Erie. When it came to walleye fishing it was all trolling. I noticed your comment going with the current the bite slacked. On Lake Erie we saw the same thing and that’s because the change in direction changes the action of the lure. We used electronics that monitored the speed at depth. That way we can keep the lure action the same regardless of the direction.

What about your speed? My experience we troll anywhere from 0.5 to 2.5 mph on Lake Erie. To determine what speed the fish want we troll in an “S” pattern. The lures on the inside of a turn are moving slower vs the outside. Depending on the side that you get a strike you know if you need to speed up or slow down.

On Lake Ontario we troll for salmon and steelhead. Speeds are faster 2.5 to 4 mph. However, the same techniques for determining speed at depth at the lure. The “S” pattern as well.

You are in shallow water regardless, but depth control is still important in the presentation. We use a lot of “devices” (in-line weights, lead core line and a lot more). Down here I think lead core lines would be very effective, it’s weedless… and a simple setup. Inshore or nearshore trolling is a technique that is probably under utilized.

Great job guys.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks so much for making time to leave the helpful comment Thomas! I’ll be sure to try out the S pattern next time… makes perfect sense.

Nick Strickland
Member

I catch a lot of trout trolling around anclote. I was into some big mackeral one day and decided to troll for them. Threw out a gold rattletrap and started trolling pretty fast, as you would for mackerel. Had to be at least 4-5 mph and all i caught was trout after trout. Shocked me but i learned an easier/faster way to find the fish.
They love the gold rattletrap….for me anyway.

Dennis Wheelus
Member

Great video guys, did you say what size jig head? Looks like your trolling fast, any idea how fast?

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks Dennis! We were using 1/4th oz jig heads (https://shop.saltstrong.com/products/zman-trout-eye-jig-heads-1-4oz-glow-3-pack). I’m not sure how fast we were going, but I sped up and slowed down based on the depth, and we caught fish on both the fast and slow spectrums, so there wasn’t a specific speed that got results.

Steven Free
Member

Ha you finally did it if you noticed most of my winter reports were done by trolling for trout but it seems no body else wants to do it I can’t tell you how many anglers I would pass trolling and catching trout and they would just look at me and keep sitting in there same spot catching zilch but whatever more for me ha ha and yes it’s very easy I like to stay in depths of about 5 to 12 ft and troll just fast enough by grasslines with scattered oysters by just kicking the outboard in gear my lowrance hook 2 5x has a speedometer on it and I have found that about 1.5 to 2.5 seems to be the right speed but sometimes when the trout are very active even speeds up to 3mph is good I like gulp swimming mullets in pearl and also pearl and chartreuse combo and xraps in black and silver and black and gold using a spinning rod with the grubs and baitcasters with the rapala let out about 3 passes each of line meaning let out the line by taking the rod and moving it back and forth 3 times with the spool open then click it or snap the bail tight very productive especially in winter months when water is cold mostly small trout caught but occasionally a big one to works for me thanks for all you do😁

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks so much for making time to leave the helpful comment Steven! Keep up the great catching.

Don Miller
Member

Again, another great video/podcast! Whenever I move from spot to spot in my Pelican Catch 120 I always troll a Slam Shady behind me and most always stop to reel in a trout or flounder.
Speaking of Slam Shady, when will the new color be available?
Thanks for all you do!

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the comment Don! There will be a new body and material of the Slam Shady paddletail coming out in the next couple weeks (3.5 inches). We’re working on a new color too, but there’s still a lot of testing that will take place before that goes live.

Teresa McCullough
Member

Anotehr great video and rally like the live on the spot ones and non edited keep them coming guys. I catch tons a crappie trolling and also this year trolling for trout this past fall and got my 4 fish limit in less than an hour from the kayak. I don’t troll as fast as you guys do.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the helpful comment Teresa! I had to troll pretty fast that day in order to keep the lures from dragging the bottom and getting snagged… the depths there went up and down from 3 to 5 ft in most of the areas, so I couldn’t go the slowest idle.

Stuart Secler
Member

I have trolled with a paddletail from my kayak for a few years. I try to keep my speed between 1.6-1.8 . My wife trolled a jerk shad a caught a 70-80lb tarpon trolling from her kayak. Usually troll in 3-5’ of water also. I will at times stop after I catch one and cast back to the area and usually catch another few more trout.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks so much for making time to leave the helpful comment Stuart!

Bernard Kosicki
Member

Really cool video guys. I will be in Ft. Meyers in April and plan to try this technique in a kayak. Please continue with the live pod casts!

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Bernard! I hope you enjoy the trolling as much as we do. Tight Lines!

Mike Foy
Member

Hey guys–very much enjoy these videos. Please continue doing them unedited, cause you know we need to learn the good, bad, and the ugly!
One question I had was at the end of the day, did it matter going with or against the current?

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks Mike! The bite seemed to be slightly better when we were going with the current, but it wasn’t a game-changer… most likely because the current was not moving very fast while we were trolling.

Jerry O'Connor
Member

I love the video. I have been experimenting with this method lately and have found it productive just like in the video. There is one problem with the video. PLEASE PLEASE WEAR LIVE PRESERVERS WHEN YOU DO THESE VIDEOS. You are trying to teach people how to fish including young people and children. Show them how to do it safely. You are demonstrating standing in a moving boat without a safety device. Not cool.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the helpful suggestion Jerry!

George Smith
Member

We have been trolling for trout for a few years now. Try double rigs like you use for flounder. Caught a 23″ and a 26″ trout this fall on a double rig. We use trolling motor as well as the motor especially in creeks to not spook them. You can also add a inline slim cork in shallow areas to keep it right off the bottom. We catch lots of flounder and drum doing this also. Yea lady and lizards too. Tight lines.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the helpful comment George!

Nathan Lindell
Member

Awesome video as always! Never occurred to me to troll for Trout! Ya’ll gotta come to Texas, the fishing here has been bangin’

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks Nathan! I’m definitely itching to make it over to TX for some fishing… hope to get over there soon.

Mike Culpepper
Member

I vote to continue the non edited videos, Also think it would be great to have input from a marine Biologist as well

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Mike!

Wayne Kottman
Member

Just curious about what size Slam Shady you were using in the video?

Luke Simonds
Admin

We were using a new 3.5-inch version that we’ve been testing out the past couple months… will be available in our online store soon.

Richard Hall
Member

I am a 6 month FL fisherman and 6 month Lake Erie fisherman. I have trolling for walleye down to a science in Lake Erie using lead core line, steel wire line, planer boards and downriggers and different times and depth.
I enjoyed seeing you guys troll the flats and I plan on trying this ASAP.
What about a rattletrap? I will give it a try and report but Slam Shady works!
I check you guys out EVERY morning and you have shortened my learning curve for salt water.
Thanks! Tight lines

Jonathan Getz
Member

Richard: I’ve caught redfish trolling a RattleTrap from a kayak. However, if you’re fishing in grassy areas, it will foul up quickly.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Love these live podcasts 💪

Russ Lacoste
Member

Fun video trolling for trout etc, nice demonstration on dropping the poor trout,
How fast are you trolling ? It looked faster than the speed I troll at. Thanks Russ
Kayak Fishing Charleston

Luke Simonds
Admin

I was going slightly faster than the slowest idle speed, but I would speed up and slow down to help control depth coverage (and to more quickly go over areas with less structure to not waste time in zones with lower odds of success)

Travis Taylor
Member

Awesome tips and I love that it’s unedited. I’ve spent tons of time trolling offshore and have applied the same technique inshore for Spanish but never thought to do the same for trout. Really looking forward to seeing what’s to come with the biologist on board.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Travis! We hope you enjoy trolling for trout as much as we do.

Capt. Voodoo
Guest
Capt. Voodoo

When I first moved into the Jensen Beach area I fished with a guy from Ft Pierce in his grandfather’s boat which was a flat bottom wooden skiff powered by an ancient Briggs and Stratton 1-1/2 hp. straight drive and steered with a rudder. We fished with 4 Calcutta poles, two about 15 ft and two about 12 ft. slow trolling pin or pig fish. We could get all that we needed in an hour or two.

Luke Simonds
Admin

That’s awesome!

Everett Kimball
Member

Love this video. Fish out of Crystal River and Hommassa, many idle zones this is great. I will know be fishing in those zones and more. Thanks

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Everett! Trolling definitely makes the idle zones more entertaining.

Dave Otte
Member

I love watching you ‘brothers’ and the unedited fishing trips. Thanks for doing the trolling podcast. It is such a fun way to fish and it was a blast seeing you in action! It is so easy for anyone to do. Just think of how many business deals and clients people can make by just riding around and having fun! Better than the golf course and so much easier!

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for the great tips on trolling for speckled trout Dave! It’s surprising how effective it actually is.

William Velkly
Member

Great video, continue these live videos. Two questions : how would running a small floating rapala work? Also how would it be if you used “in line” planer boards so the baits would spread out away from the boat. I have used both methods with success up north walleye fishing.

Luke Simonds
Admin

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment William!

(1) I have heard that floating crank baits can work great too (that’s what I used when trolling for largemouth bass growing up), but they would be too much of a pain for most areas I’ve been fishing lately because they are prone to snag onto seagrass and/or floating debris too much.

(2) I have to assume that using planer boards to spread out the baits would be helpful, but I have never tried that so can’t say for sure.

John Schaich
Guest
John Schaich

Hey Luke,
Good video. I mainly fish fresh water trolling for Speckled Perch @ 1.5mph with 2 flat lines out the back and 8 on small planer boards, 4 on each side making a total of 10. It works great and want to try this method on the flats. A very relaxing way to spend the day with a friend.
Thanks