with Capt. Mike Hogan
Don’t let this rod’s “musky” label fool you. In my opinion, it’s the perfect striper-trolling rod for the following reasons:
Length: 8 feet: The extra length compared to traditional trolling rods gives you the ability to put pressure on a big fish with a relatively light rod without losing sensitivity. It also allows you to fight a fish away from an outboard.
Trigger Grip: Allows you to troll with the rod with one hand while still maintaining a perfect, balanced grip.
Long Butt Section: Originally designed to give the angler leverage for lobbing big musky plugs, the extra length is great for bracing the rod against your torso while trolling. It also gives you a good gripping point for the jigging while trolling.
Reel: Avet LX 6/3
A high gear ratio reel is hard to beat. Here’s why:
Checking your lure for weeds: Simple math. The faster you get the lure in to check for weeds, the faster you can get the bait back out there, thereby increasing your fishing time.
Picking up and moving: I often make very short tactical passes over structure when I’m trolling. Sometimes a trolling pass can be as short as 4 – 5 minutes of prime time fishing.
Reeling down on fish swimming toward the boat: I’m trolling in some pretty fast moving currents and in some pretty hairy places. So that means if I’m drifting with a fish and it swims down tide, I’ll have extra line to capture between the fish’s movements and the boat drifting over the bottom.
Line: Cortland LC-13
Backing: I prefer 40-pound test braid for backing on these outfits. The braid flies off the reel faster, cuts the water better and you can put more braid on a smaller reel. 160 – 200 yards should suffice.
Line: My secret line has always been Cortland LC-13 fast sinking fly line. It is hard to find but is superior to regular lead core line. LC-13 is a braided line with a lead core that has a slick gray coating to help cut through water better than other lead core lines and it is much more durable. It’s made for use in shooting heads and sink-tips for fly fishing but it makes a dynamite trolling line. This is some of the fastest sinking tip material on the market. Cuts through cold water extremely well@ 8.75 ips. I use 100 -125 feet of LC-13. It is tough stuff to connect braid to, so I recommend a few drops of glue on a uni to uni knot. If you can’t find Cortland LC-13, traditional lead core will work almost as well. I still recommend only staying with 125 feet, so you have easier time controlling the drop back techniques.
I recommend starting with 10 to 12 feet of fluorocarbon leader. It’s not cheap, but I am 100% convinced that fluoro is worth the additional expense. It’s low visibility and good abrasion resistance make it a worthwhile investment. Lead core line has a relatively low breaking strength, so I don’t worry too much about how heavy my leader is. Since I often troll in shallow areas and or for very finicky fish, I err on the side of lighter leader, say 40-pound test. If I’m in an area where I’m getting a lot of bluefish, I might up size to 60-pound test.
I’m a big believer that less is more here. If I am trolling with soft plastics, I will tie direct with a loop knot. The bait is relatively small and I worry that a snap or snap swivel will inhibit the action and also impact the appearance of the lure. A loop knot will also allow the bait to swing more freely. If I am trolling with larger lures such as our SI Perfect Tube, I will use a 150-pound Backlash snap. I like the easy interchangeability those snaps provide.