15 Minutes with: Capt. Mike Hogan
Here’s what we learned…
Introduction: Trolling for Bonito and albies is one of the better kept secrets here in the northeast. Pay a visit to “The Hooter” here in Hogy Central’s back yard (a famous shoal that separates Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean), you see that trolling for bonito and albies is a very common practice and has become mainstream.
Location: Cape Cod, MA
Tides: Either, not slack tide.
Approach: While trolling for small tuna may not be everybody’s bag, there are some major benefits: Its great for those of us who are uncomfortable casting all day. You can cover some ground while you figure out their patterns. If fish are scattered, trolling is hands down the most effective technique.
The last benefit of trolling for these small tunoids is that you don’t have to worry too much about approach. Remember, you are fishing the bottom portion of the ice-burg, i.e the 80% that you don’t see! Your focus is on covering ground, changing trolling speeds and reeling in fish.
Rigging Selection: 5/0 Weighted Swim bait Hook. This hook will help the bait track properly and minimizing spinning. The weighted nose will also stabilize the front half of the bait, allow for maximum quiver of the tail
Bait Selection: The Hogy® 7inch Original.
Why this bait? It has a larger profile. You will notice that more times than not, bonito and albies are on very small bait. Lots and lots and lots of them! So the lure will stick out, especially when fished with the technique below.
Colors: Amber. If you talk shop with me for more than just a few minutes, it won’t take you long to figure out that amber is my all time favorite color. It is bright in bright conditions, dark in dark conditions. While it mimics squid with perfection, it doesn’t “not look like” any one bait fish in it’s natural habitat. However, as with any fishing method, there are certain situations where varying your method pays off.
When in doubt: Go with amber. It ALWAYS does the trick. My favorite!
Cloudy Water: My two favorite colors in cloudy water are bubble gum and black. Bubble gum shows up because its bright and black shows up due to the contrast.
Very clear Water: Bone and amber. Use a long flouro leader or yozuri hybrid and you always be a winner.
Rough conditions: If you are fishing very rough conditions, stick with bright colors such as chartreuse and bubble gum.
Retrieve: There are two basic techniques associated with trolling for bonito and albies:
Twitchin’ Troll: My Favorite technique as I’m a hands on kind of guy. It s as simple as letting out all the desired length of lead core line plus about 20’ of braid. Point the tip toward the water and twitch while you troll. This approach can be fairly tactical as you can let out line, and reel it in, which will effectively allow you to fish multiple levels of the water column at carried speeds without altering the boat speed.
Flat line Clip: Set it and forget it. You don’t technically need the flat line clip, but it is handy to keep a lower angle of line. If you troll off your rod tip, you will need more line out to achieve the desired trolling depth. If you don’t have flat line clips, you can use a rubber band to connect your line to the reel.
Rod: 8′ St. Croix Musky Rod
Reel: Avet lx 6.0:1
Line: 40lb Power Pro Backing, 125′ Top Shot of Cortland LC-13 Sinking Fly Line (Available Here)
Leader: 12′ 40lb Fluoro Leader