How to Troll Live Bait

How to Troll Live BaitFrom rivers to lakes, many varieties of fish will eagerly attack live bait trolled behind a boat. Rigging live bait is fairly straight forward, but there are some methods that will help prolong the life of the bait and allow for a more natural presentation.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • 7-foot heavy fishing rod with matching reel (minimum)
  • 15-pound test or stronger monofilament fishing line
  • Appropriately sized circle hooks (sized to the live bait being used)
  • Live bait such as minnows
Step 1
Determine the depth you will be fishing. If the live bait will need to be presented deeper in the water, consider using some type of weight to help bring it down to the desired level. There are many different types of weights, but consider using a crimp-on or a type of weight that can be secured up and away from the bait so as to allow it to swim freely.
Step 2
Tie a bait holder or circle hook to the end of the line. Use a clinch knot to attach the hook. Feed the loose or tag end of the line through the eye of the hook with about 3 to 5 inches of line extending through. Wrap the tag end six or seven times around the main line. Feed the tag end back down and through the small loop formed above the eye. Moisten the knot and pull tight.
Step 3
Select the live bait. Make sure it is active and appears healthy so that it will be more active in the water.
Step 4
Hook the live bait through the nostril, not the mouth or head because that will typically shorten its life. A nostril hook will also allow more freedom of movement.
Step 5
Cast the rig into the water behind the boat and allow it to settle to the desired depth. Slowly pull the bait along at a speed that will allow it to move naturally. Do not drag the bait or it will die quicker.

Tips & Warnings

Reduce the amount of drag on the reel when trolling. This will help in preventing break-offs when a fish takes the live bait.
Use caution when handling hooks and monofilament line since both may cause cuts or abrasions.

Article Written By Tara Dooley

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.

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