Trolling in a kayak

I had never trolled from my kayak before this weekend. Saturday my son decided to try it on the way back to the put in and caught 4 fish in about 15 minutes. Sunday we went back and intended to troll between our usual fishing spots. However, we ended up trolling all day as it was way more productive. We caught around 22 fish, a mix of white bass, stripers and largemouth. We must have paddled 10 miles and my shoulders and back feel it this morning. Anyway I have a few questions about trolling.

1.) What lures can be used effectively for trolling? We were using floating/diving minnows that were running 2-4’ deep.

2.) Is trolling always as productive or is it because we are in the prespawm/spawning stage? Most of the fish we caught were in water 12’ or deeper.

3.) How can you get a lure to go deeper and stay there (without worrrying about hangups)?

Here are my answers:

1. I have great results using a blue/silver A.C. Shiner.

2. I catch many more fish trolling than I do casting, though I split my time between the two.

3. A split shot a few inches in front of the lure will help get it down.

These are the quick answers. Hope they help. Good luck.


I like trolling a Rapala lure - the plate keeps it under water. The bigger the plate, the deeper it goes. The big thing up here lately is trolling a tube and worm (T & W) for stripers - supposedly very effective, though I haven’t tried it yet. It’s a long, colored surgical tube with a hook at the end with a worm on it.

Trolling’s a great way to combine paddling and fishing, with the emphasis on paddling. I never feel right anymore just going for a paddle, unless there is a line trolling behind me.

I also fish out of a scupper pro. Have it set up with two scotty style rod holders (flush mount) that are roughly where my ankles are. SPent a lot of my fishing time last summer learning how to troll and I’m still working on it. I prefer float and dive plugs so that when stopped they don’t settle down and snag. Also, tend towards shad shaped plugs as the white bass love them. As far as specific plugs, request a spring catalog from bass pro. For most of the lures they list the depth they will dive to. Using lighter line will get them down deeper. I use a lot of walmart “starfire” (i think) with the big lips. They’ll get down to 15’ and aren’t too expensive.

Just saw you’re from TX, how far from the godforsaken town of Dalhart?


Trolling - Oh my…
I love to troll, Rapla is my favorite #9 floater, spoons do really well also…but you have to put the swivel on them so your line does not twist.

most lip style lures are designed to be trolled at 5 knots, since this isn’t possible usually ,put a small barrel sinker in front of your swivel connected to your leader. putting it on your leader is suspicious looking and won’t allow the swivel to work properly and the action of your lure is dulled. also if you snag something this less likly to break off so the chances of recovering the lure is greater.dark lures in dark water and bright lures in clear and sunny condition, natural baits reflect thier surroundings like mirrors. Catch em up Lees

give up your rod
I also use the standard list of floating and sinking lures. But have gone to a hand line to make it less cumbersome when paddling. An idea can be seen at

you certainly can make your own

I mostly troll with flys. Bright day bright fly (silver body and flashabou tails). Dark day dark fly (gold body and gold flashabou tails). Because trout and small mouths are my major river and lake fish I look for 10/15 feet of water near points and inlets. In addition, by tying metal chain eyes on top of the hook the fly swim inverted, or upside down reducing hangups, I mostly use 5/10/15 foot sinktip lines and in deep water a 25 foot sinktip. We have landlocked Chinook salmon that average about 6 pounds in most of our major lakes (Folsom, Berryessa, Shasta and Oroville).