Trolling in the Trough

Tips for trolling in heavy seas

Marlin tips trough

Marlin tips trough

Tips for trolling in heavy seasFile Photo

When wave heights build to more than 4 feet, trolling in the waves’ troughs, versus straight up- or down-sea, will keep your spread working and looking its best, especially when pulling lures.

If you are trolling straight up- or down-sea in larger waves, the boat’s speed will change noticeably as it surfs down a wave or pounds into one, resulting in your lures or baits slowing down and “dying” or jumping up and flying out of the water. Trolling in the trough keeps the boat’s speed more consistent, which means your lures will work better.

If you miss a bite, or raise a fish and then lose sight of it, chances are the fish will head down-sea. If you are in the trough, you are already in a position to make a 90-degree turn left or right for another shot at the fish.

Also, a lot of times, when the waves are big, billfish like to “tail” and surf down-sea. By trolling in the trough, I think you stand a better chance of intercepting them by crossing their paths at 90-degree angles, instead of paralleling them and possibly missing them by just 100 yards.

When it is necessary to troll up- or down-sea to cover ground, or to get from point A to point B, tack your way along in a zigzag pattern by taking the waves on the bow or stern quarter. This may take a little bit longer, but it can pay off in more encounters.