Trolling rods and reels

When trolling do you guys use a “trolling rod and reel” or just your standard rods and reels?

I assume that you have a rod holder behind the cockpit–is that correct. If not , how?

If I was to use my regular rod and reel (I usually use an UL spinning combo), do you set the drag really light so you can hear when you get hit by a fish?

I know these may be ROOKIE questions, but I would like to get into trolling, but have no idea how it works from a kayak.

thanks for the help…

I use…
my regular set-ups. I have one rod holder mounted in front and two on the milk crate on my aft. I usually troll only as I move from spot to spot and use the holder that’s in front of me. When I remember to I loosen the drag. Trolling isn’t a primary mode for me so others may have more insight.

What kind of fishing?
If you are targeting smaller fish, it doesn’t matter. Bigger fish usually see me going to a level drag outfit. Cheers

set your drag
at the same level that you would use to fight the fish. adjusting drag while fighting a fish is not’s way too easy to tighten down too much and break off in the heat of the moment.

It varies
I will probably be fishing for northerns or small mouth while trolling.

Trolling Rods & Reels
I always use spinning reel on a 5’6" (10 lb.test)or a 6’6" (12 lb. test) Ugly Stick with a Shimano spinning reel matched to the rod. I keep the drag fairly tight because the forward movement of my kayak will set the hook where keeping a light drag will not set the hook properly.

Trolling is a great way to kayak fish. What is better than paddling and catching a lot of blue fish which always give a great fight. I drift for fluke (summer flounder) and also bottom fish for striped bass, black fish (taugog), sea bass, etc.

I launch off of the beach, and have to go through the surf break, so I use a little soft plastic cooler (what most people would use to keep a 6 pack cool) tied to my kayak to keep my tackle in, and secure my rod into the rod holder so it cannot fall out.

I use a Scotty rod holder. In the High Sierra (4,000 to 7,000 feet), I use a 6 wgt. S/A 9 foot fly rod. In deep water (20/50 feet), I use a full sinking line, while in shallow areas (12 feet, or less) I use a 10 feet sink tip. In the spring and when the fish are on top, I use a full floating line with weighted flys (usually bead head, or chain eyes). In the Sacramento Valley, I will move up to a 7 or 8 weight between 10 and 11 foot, depending on the lakes. We have stiped bass and salmon in several of our lakes and afterbays planted by fish and game. In the Sierras we have brown, rainbow, and lake trout. A good fish there is 3 to 5 pounds, with lakers going about twice that. I like to fish leech, streamers and nymphs patterns and catch about 80% trolling.

I have started trolling a lot this year.

I have one light spinning reel that I use with the drag set for hook setting and fighting. As another reply earlier said its not easy to keep your head and adjust this thing in the enthusiasm of getting a bite. I lose enough fish before I can set the hook without trying to tighten the drag first.

I just bought a conventional reel with a “line out clicker/alarm” which I’m getting the hang of afte a couple trips and I really like this feature. Usually I leave this set up behind me in a rod holder because the alarm will let me know when the bait is taken (or really worried about something). I put the spinning reel in front and just watch the tip a lot while paddline. They make “baitrunner” spinning reels, but I have not tried them.

Good luck, yakfishing is a blast…


Shimano Thunnus is great reel for
trolling.(Baitrunner features) You can adjust tension on the free spool(bail is closed)so that there is just enough drag on the lure, or live bait. When the fish takes the hook, you can see and hear it, just start reeling when you’re ready and your preset strike drag is operable. Works well with circle hooks,also. Reel is smooth casting, smooth drag, and with normal care has been used for several years without a problem. Shimano Spheros(without the baitrunner feature)is great saltwater reel for normal use.

Locking PVC holder for trolling
see my entry under pvc rod holders.