The best trolling techniques for stripers

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Vince Hoium from Moyock made this catch recently.


By Mike Sweeney

Saturday, December 2, 2017

When we talk about fishing for rockfish here in our region most of us are trolling for them which means we load up some lures and drag them behind the boat in hopes that one of them will work.

This is a tried and true way of fishing and has worked for years but there are some subtle techniques that I use to help improve my catch.

Lets first discuss trolling around bridges in our area be it the sound bridge, Mann’s Harbor or whatever bridge you fish.

I like to drag lures that run different depths and are different colors in order to establish a pattern. If the bridge is deep like the sound bridge I like Mann’s stretch lures in 10’s, 15’s and 25’s in order to cover the water column.

I will run a shallow lure short on one rod then on a long rod I will drag a deeper lure both in different colors.

I always try to hit or bump the lure up against the columns till I get a strike but that means you have to constantly keep an eye on abrasions in the line and retie often. If I am fishing a shallow bridge like the Wright Memorial where it only gets around 12 or so feet deep I like to also add a Rattle Trap in the spread.

Here to I like to use different colors and sizes till I find the right bait for the day. I cant tell you how many times I fished for hours without a bite then all of a sudden one lure catches all the fish off the same piling.

Always keep an eye on which piling the fish came off because you can go right back with the same presentation and catch another as soon as you can turn the boat around.

If you are trolling open water like Coinjock Canal or in the rivers under some birds then you want to match the depth with the correct size bait. What this means is say you working a ledge where one side of the boat is in eight feet of water and the outside is in 15 feet then you want a shallow bait like a Rattle Trap or stretch 10 working the inside rods while deeper baits are on the outside of the boat. This allows you to cover the entire water column till you find your fish.

When you do get a strike pay attention as to where the fish hit, how deep and on what color lure and repeat the presentation again in hopes that the fish was not alone. If you have a G.P.S. on your boat mark a waypoint to keep the spot exact in order to focus on that particular area. There is a reason they are there so keep it in the area till you are convinced they moved on.

These are just a few tips that I hope will help you out next time you are out for rockfish so good luck and don’t forget to send me those reports.

What’s biting, where...

We had a few offshore guys get out this week and the tuna cooperated with them.

It only seems fair that if you are going out the fish should work with you don’t you think and that is what happened. Blackfin and yellowfin both came to the docks this week along with a wahoo or two.

On the beach and piers it is all about the mullet and redfish.

We had some huge mullet runs on the piers and when you get mullet you get redfish so it is no surprise that the fish are working hard right now. It has been so good that Avon Pier is staying open till Sunday this weekend to let everyone catch some fish.

The fishing has been so good that they didn’t want to close so go out and get you some of those fish while they are still biting.

We have also had some good speckled trout in the surf along with some puppy drum in the slot if you want them.

Here in our waters there is a lot of catfish and rockfish biting with some huge cats coming in on fresh cut bait.

Vince Hoium from Moyock is catching them on the Northwest River and the Chowan has been paying off all year. The striper have been settling down with the colder air and water temps falling like they are.

The bridges are the main attraction with stretch lures and Rattle Traps paying off here.

Coinjock is also pretty good but you have to weed your way through the small ones to get to the keepers.

If anyone gets out this week send me a report and some bragging pics to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.