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To troll or not

This time of year we tend to think about the arrival of the number one winter fish, the sailfish. I have never seen video footage or a still shot than even comes close to the real thing. The way bill fish light up their fins close to the boat is a sight every angler should see at least once. The only problem with sails is that most are still caught trolling, yes I know now more captains are going to kites and other ways but trolling still catches the numbers. Trolling has changed though it used to be get to the area then put the spread out then troll. This is to me as bad as it gets 99% boredom then 1% manic after less than one hour I am fighting to keep awake. That’s old school now the new school this is called run and gun. Everything is ready to troll but you only troll when there is a reason to. The ocean can be a big empty place for anglers and fish but there are always reasons for fish even in water over 1000ft deep. My number one is birds as an old skip once said they have to do it for a living so any birds start trolling and buy watching the birds you can normally work out which way the fish are moving. Next is debris my best day offshore was long before I started doing fishing holidays in the Florida Keys when we came and rented boats and was a pallet 9 miles off shore. If you area small fish any thing at all is a place to hide and these things are just fish magnets. Next is weed some times you feel kind of sorry for offshore weed it spends its life just floating round the world but again just the place for fish to hide and attract the big ones. Last but not least are what we call colour changes these are caused by tide rips and flows and can be very pronounced. The way the sails work these is to swim in the dirty water then ambush bait in the clean side using the diry water to hide in.

One of our best holidays for trolling was a few years ago when Gerry from Gerry’s of Morcambe came over with friends. One day Gerry nailed a big sail then just to piss his friends off again had a fantastic white marlin.

Not to be out done on of his friends had a stunning blackfin tuna yum yum. Yes it can be boring but if you are doing it in a fishy area then it can be very exciting. The sound of the line coming out of the outriggers then the drag running with every one shouting fish on can be as good as it gets. I can even remember a day on the tuna grounds when we couldn’t get four lines out there were so many takes.