How To Troll The Flats (For Redfish, Snook & Trout)


Have you ever been trolling for redfish before?

Ever trolled on a grass flat?

How about out of a kayak?

If not, you’re going to love this!

Trolling can be an effective way to catch fish on the flats, especially if you’re on the move a lot, because you can’t catch fish if you don’t have your lure in the water!

But if you want to maximize your chances of catching fish while trolling the flats, there are six tips to keep in mind.

Want to know what those tips are?

Watch the video below.

6 Tips For Trolling The Flats [VIDEO]

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If you want to try trolling the flats, make sure to keep these six tips in mind:

1. Troll perpendicular to the wind.

When you’re paddling or motoring, you’ll be spooking fish as you pass over them.

These fish will dart off to the sides, which is where you want your lure to be, and by traveling perpendicular to the wind, the wind can act as an outrigger and keep your lure off to the side.

2. Angle your rod holder out away from the kayak or boat.

This is another tactic that will help keep your lure off to the sides, as opposed to directly behind your boat.

3. Put your rod on the side opposite the wind is blowing.

This tip will also help keep your lure off to the side.

4. Don’t just paddle steadily forward.

Slowing down, stopping, and starting up again are all ways that switch up the lure’s movement and encourage a fish to strike it.

It’s kinda like working the lure with your rod.

5. Use the right lures.

Here are several lures that I suggest trolling with:

6. Rig them weedless.

Of course, when you’re trolling, you’re going to be passing through a lot of water and floating grass or debris.

Rigging your baits weedless will help keep your lure debris-free and attractive to fish.


fishing for redfish

Trolling the flats is a fun way to catch fish, especially if you’re on the move a lot traveling from spot to spot.

Have you tried trolling the flats before?

What did you think?

Have any questions about trolling the flats?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who should try this style of fishing, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Joe Amentastro
7 months ago

What boat speed is good for trolling the flats?

Jerry Ashford
9 months ago

Great comments from everyone, took a bunch of notes! Would like to see more videos on trolling.

Michael White
2 years ago

For trolling are you tying a line to the lure? If so do you have any trouble with the line twisting?

Roy B
2 years ago

I fish out of a pedal kayak in the Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass areas. Trolling as I move from spot to spot has been an extremely successful method for me. I have caught trout, Redfish, bluefish, ladyfish and Snook. Keeping a lure in the water is my top priority when kayak fishing. Sometimes my next spot is a thirty minute pedal so trolling saves me a lot of wasted time and gives me a chance to keep catching fish. My go to trolling lure is a paddletail. Thanks Salt Strong! You guys rock!!

Mark Priester
2 years ago

I like to regulate the speed so the lure bumps the bottom . Weed less gold spoons ,paddle tails ,curly tails and shad imitators are all deadly. BTW Flounder can’t resist when you bump the bottom in their turf . Action turns on around November till Feb/March around NE FL.

Chris Guerrieri
2 years ago

great job. You can add additional trolling lines using planner boards. Pretty easy to manage, but I wouldn’t recommend using more than two at a time. They are directional, meaning they will pull your line out to either the port or starboard side.

Steven Free
2 years ago

Yea Tony great video and info even though I haven’t used my yak in about 3 years now on the acct that the one area I loved to fish has changed so much on it being drained to early in the spring for weed control gauna reservoir and isnt filled to a good fishing level until early fall i still use my boat to troll in fact in the wintertime especially when it gets really cold for trout that’s my primary way of fishing but unlike you that fish in ole skeeter lagoon thats very shallow i have a spot in another river that’s attached to the st John’s river called ft George river just inside sisters creek area I usually troll just outside of the grasslines and stay just outside to avoid the oyster bars that line them I like about a 5 and a half to 6 ft depth in either an incoming or outgoing tide the area is very close to the Atlantic Ocean inlet so the tides can get pretty strong but the action is pretty consistent I tried doing it in my old hobbie but it’s tough fighting the current and tide one has a much easier time using a boat in this location because of this I use gulp grubs in pearl and a quarter ounce bighead in red color and silver and black slash rapalas but sometimes I use gold and black as well but during the winter the water does clear up a lot so silver seems to work best also rattletraps in silver seems to work also I just put the motor in gear and no more according to my lowrance fish finder that’s about 1.5mph I have 2 rodholders that I use that keeps my lures from getting to close to the rear of my boat I have them angled to the side a great technique to find where the fish are at works for me????

Capt. Ray Markham
2 years ago

For years I’ve slow-trolled the MirrOlure 52M and TTR lures with terrific success on trout, redfish, jacks, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel and others. While they are best trolled in 3 to 5-foot depths you do have to be aware of the lures fouling with grass and keeping them clear of the grass. MirrOlure’s Catch 2000 and MirrOdine suspending lures are even better in shallower water from 2 to 4-feet when trolling as they suspend or sink much more slowly. One of the most effective lure combos that work well for folks who have difficulty casting or working lures with finesse is the DOA Deadly Combo that has a popping cork and artificial shrimp arrangement. Just use a length of leader from the cork that allows the lure to suspend just above the top of the grass and move it slowly. Wave action will give the floating cork movement up and down which in turn lightly twitches the shrimp. I’ve actually won trout tournaments with this rig using this method. Obviously, weedless rigs like Texas-style rigged jerk baits and swim baits or paddle tails all work well when trolling uneven bottom with a lot of grass.

Steven Free
2 years ago

Never heard of using a twitchbait like the ole mirror lure 52m for trolling I figured if it didn’t have a lip on it it wasn’t ment for trolling I thought the lip is what gives the bait it’s action where as using it as a twitch bait it’s to be jerked or twitched simulating a dying or injured baitfish where the lip isn’t needed I guess you learn something new everyday especially in this great fishing club of saltstrong thanks capt I might try that sometime ????

Capt. Ray Markham
2 years ago
Reply to  Steven Free

Most people over-work MirrOlures and many other hard baits. In fact, the 52 and TT models will have an action similar to a lipped bait and wobble when pulled at the right speed, but otherwise, the bait has little action other than darting when twitched. When fishing a DOA Baitbuster for tarpon, again, most people overwork the lure and fish hardly touch it but give it a chance to appear to be a dying bait and it gets nailed. Suspending lures sometimes have a tendency to get hit more often than faster moving lures because they stay in a fish’s strike zone longer. A trolled lure will reach its optimal speed for a fish and how he wants it when it gets eaten. It’s your job to find out what that optimal speed is for the conditions you’re fishing. because it changes.

David Stone
2 years ago

As others have said, great video. I used to troll tandem bucktail jigs in 2-4 feet of water along sandbars for trout. I had some success but nothing to get excited about, especially when I ended up cleaning grass off the jigs on most trolls. Your suggestion for a paddle tail or swim bait rigged weedless on a weighted hook is something I will put into my tool bag for my next trip on the flats.

Thank you!!!!

2 years ago

???? I did some trolling earlier this year. Pulled a rattle trap and couldn’t keep trout off of it. Between them and the mackerel I was constantly reeling in fish but no reds or snook. It’s tough around anclote with so much free floating grass everywhere but I’ll try the soft baits and see what happens.. good article! Trolling lets you relax a bit.


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