Salmon Trolling Rods

Wednesday, August 21st 2019.


Wright McGill Salmon Trolling Rod - cork

$"Built specifically for the needs of salmon and steelhead anglers, these powerful, lightweight rods have IM7 graphite blanks with technique-specific actions. The 1K woven butt section delivers the extra hooksetting power you need to fight fish on your ter

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When I think of trolling I think of sitting on a foggy lake first thing in the morning and having my quiet electric motor putt me around while trolling for trout, but salmon trolling rods are probably the most effective method of catching fish, out of any other method combined!

Trolling rods give anglers that are moving up and down the ocean's coast a large advantage because of the water that is being covered as opposed to a jig or a lure that sits stationary. King salmon and Coho are the most aggressive and abundant species of salmon that will take a trolling lure and the fact that they cover a large area of sea, makes trolling the best way to find them. After a trolling rod is swept across enough water, a fish finder will tell you that this method will find you the most pockets or schools of fish.

When it comes to saltwater fishing trolling gear, commonly called "mooching," has become the number one seller because of it's success rate as well as it's rate of wear or use. Water creates so much drag that leads to allot of stressed tackle as well as the salty water itself! Trolling or mooching rods are constantly under allot of tension as terminal tackle like downriggers, planner boards and "cannon balls" - all different types of weights that are used in order to get bait down deep and fast! It's because of all these factors that trolling equipment is built the way it is and we'll have a look at that next.

There are basically three distinct types of trolling rods that have benn the most popular: stout 6 ½- to 7 ½- foot roller-guided rods; medium-strength conventionally-guided rods of 7- to 8-foot lengths; and lighter 7 ½- to 8 ½-foot fiberglass rods.

Each of these trolling rods serves it's purpose. The grand-daddy of all saltwater rods is the roller-guided sort and is the only one that can withstand the pressure of heavyweight fishing year in and year out without breaking, although it takes away from the "feel" of man against fish. Typically used with a planer board - essentially a piece of board that drags the line down into the ocean - these rods require wire line. Wire line is essential as the pressure of a planer will either break monofilament line or result in too much line stretch for tripping the planer "release mechanism," which allows the planer board to stop producing drag. These rods will take a lure to 150 feet deep.

Roller-guided rods are best used in calm waters - fjords and bays with little or no tidal flow - as engine noise can easily spook fish and give them lock jaw. A distance of 360 feet from the boat at 150 feet of depth, In comparison to lures attached to downrigger lines at the same level at 160 feet from the boat, are going to give you the quiet you need to get closer to the fish.

A fiberglass salmon trolling rod, is the second type of rod that is medium strength and uses weights as a result of it's rigidity as opposed to a high drag planer board. Three types of weights are often used: 1- to 2-pound lead balls; 1- to 12-oz sliding weights; or, 1- to 6-oz banana weights.

Let's have a look at the purpose of each weight; Lead balls are used to reach depths of 125 feet. A 2-pound ball reaches this depth at 250 feet of line, or a ratio of 1 foot down for every 2 feet let out. Main line should be 40 pound test. Alternatively, a wire line roller-guided rod makes a perfectly reasonable alternative. In either case, the gear set up is the same. The main line attaches to a seven bead swivel with a Palomar knot. Over the bead swivel a large barbless hook is strung. Attached to this hook is two feet of dacron line and a lead ball. This setup will allow the weight to be popped off and for a fish to be played right to the boat. Below the swivel attaches 20 to 25 feet of 25 pound monofilament and then a ball bearing end-changer at the tackle end.

Fish can easily change depths with temperature or where smaller prey are swimming. and a a lighter than lead ball weight, such as sliding weights come into play when fish are hanging out in the top 30 feet of ocean water. The advantage with these weights is that they trip, or release, when a fish bites and travel down the line to the terminal end, allowing the fish to be played without fighting the weights of your rig.

Sliding weights are versatile and easy to use and may be added to the main line at any point of your trip; the line slips under the rails of the weight and inserts into the brass clip at a weight’s front end. It's important when setting up that the brass clip faces toward the lure or the weight will not release. This type of trolling weight can be easy to use, but because of it's design, can easily cut your line or weaken the strength of it...not good. You can counter act this by clipping off 6 feet from the main line after checking your line or bringing a fish in and retying the ball bearing end-changer on the tackle end.

The third type of weight used in saltwater trolling is the banana variety, so-called because it resembles the yellow fruit in shape. With a swivel at both ends, a banana weight ties to both the main line and leader with a Palomar knot. Primarily a piece of mooching gear, banana weights have the nice quality of rarely tangling in fishing line. (They become a trolling weight when a cut plug bait is pulled behind a moving boat). They also afford the use of lighter longer rods, distinctly improving the sport of playing salmon. And sport - large doses of adrenaline - is what fishing is all about.

If you would like to learn more about salmon fishing rods visit our salmon fly fishing rods page where we cover the excitement of catching Steelhead and Coho on the fly!! Tight Lines!