Techniques: 4 Trolling Tips to Tempt Finicky Tuna

By Capt. Mike Hogan

Spicing Up Trolling Lures such as a Green Machine

10” Hogy soft baits are the way to go here. They are long enough to emit a “natural quiver” without over powering your lure. You can either attach the bait by hooking it simply through the nose or by using a large “keeper” such as the new Hogy Screw Eye. I particularly like bubble gum and chartreuse colored baits in this application as it offer some contrast that is easily seen in boat wakes.

Simulating a Frightened Squid

Blue fin tuna anglers looking for big fish prefer 14” and 18” soft baits. Black and purple are the most popular choices as those colors easily simulate a tuft of ink from a distress squid. That said, I have done very well with big 18” chartreuse colored Hogys rigged in the same manner.

Soft Bait Daisy Chains

They’re relatively easy to make on your own. I recommend a dropper style daisy chain as each soft bait will dance and quiver on its own, creating the effect of a confused pod of bait that is nervous with predators in the area. In terms of a stinger, that is up to you. Though I typically use a tandem rigged 14” Hogy, I would be remiss if I didn’t also suggest a jet head style trolling lure. The sheer weight of the lure will help keep the soft baits sub surface and also leave a bubble trail that points to your spread.

Soft Baits Spreader Bars

The simplest description of a spreader bar is a collection of a few daisy chains attached to one bar that collectively simulates a small school of bait. A “stinger,” often a different color and larger than the teasers is attached and set back, behind the “school” to simulate a slightly larger predator in pursuit of the school. The idea is that game fish will instinctively go for the easy target, offering more bang for the buck so to speak. Why not take advantage of soft baits in this application? It has been a well-kept secret for years that small soft baits rigged on spreader bars are dynamite sand eel impersonations.

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