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Trolling shallow Rapalas deep...


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For all you Trollers out there...

I am looking for a way to get my favorite shallow running baits deeper. I would like to get them down to 18-20 feet deep.

I do not have any lead core line, nor have I ever tried it. I would like to but do not know where to start.

Has anyone had any success following the trollers bible, by adding weight to the line?

If so, how much weight have you used, and how far from the bait should I go.

Just looking for a little advice.

Thanks for all responses smile.gif

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deep diving husky jerks are great on 15-20ft breaklines. just long line until you feel bottom. this has produced 5 eyes over 28' for my boat in the last season. very easy and does not need line counters. plus tolling is great because it leaves hands free for a beverage.

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The long line tolling thing has too many variables for me. This year I'm trying snap weights with shallow cranks to get deep.

It's kind of the cheap mans down riggers.

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a trick I use is a three way swivel with a bell sinker and then a 6-8' leader off the back end tied to the crank bait

It's sort of like lindy rigging with a crank bait instead

has worked well for me for many years out on the flats

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Best way I know is with leadcore. It takes a little practice, but once you get it dialed in, it's incredibly precise.

Basically, for contour leadcore trolling, start with 18# leadcore, with a 15' mono or flourocarbon leader. Can use Fireline too if you want.

To figure depth, figure out the running depth of your bait with 15' of whatever leader material you're using (or look it up in a Precision Trolling book), at around 2 mph (just as a baseline speed). From there, figure roughly 5' of depth for every color leadcore you run out. So a crank that runs 4' on 15 feet of 10# mono, with 3 colors leadcore out, will run *around* 19'. It can vary a little based on all sorts of things, but the 5' rule of thumb gets you in the ballpark, and you can fine tune for your particular setup from there.

The cool thing about leadcore is it's very speed-sensitive, and you can adjust running depth without reeling in or letting out line just by varying your speed, because as you speed up, the water resistance of the leadcore will overcome the weight, and the lure will run shallower. Slow down, and the weight will overcome the resistance, and it'll run deeper. Once you get the hang of it, you can walk baits up and down a breakline just by varying your speed. You do have to adjust the amount of leadcore out to run baits at different speeds sometimes - just pick a depth you want and the speed you want, and let out line till you start hitting bottom, and adjust speed to run shallower or deeper from there.

One thing to be aware of, especially if you're running a Fireline leader, is leadcore doesn't stretch at all, so you need to be a little careful when you're fighting fish or you can tear hooks out.

Other nice thing about leadcore is you can buy a cheap level wind trolling reel, and it'll work just fine. Not a lot of fancy equipment required, so no huge investment for something you're only going to do once in a while.


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Precision Trolling gives you some good rules of thumb as far as snap weights. I have used 3-way rigs, leadcore, and snap weights, depending on several variables:

When I use leadcore, I generally troll a little faster because it will get a belly of slack at speeds below 2mph. 10 feet of depth per color is the general rule. I don't pull the standard Rapala Floating Minnow with leadcore generally, because at the (relatively) faster trolling speeds the bait "turns over" (rolls).

On my trolling rig with a linecounter reel I use 14lb Fireline, which generally increases the dive curve for a given crankbait by 33%. You get the same 33% of additional depth by adding a 1oz snap weight 20 ft up the line from your crankbait.

Don't be afraid to experiment. Linecounter reels can vary - accuracy can vary depending on line diameter, etc. I have an older version of Precision Trolling, so I got a general idea how deep some of my newer baits go by finding gently sloping flats with sand or mud bottoms and letting out line until the bait ticks bottom. 3-way rigs, as mentioned in a previous post, can be a lot like pulling Lindy rigs - experiment with "snell" and dropper lengths. For pulling #13 floaters I like a 2oz pencil weight on 1-1/2 to 2 feet of dropper and at least 10 feet to the lure. The amount of line you let out then depends on trolling speed and water depth. Get the boat moving, let out line until the weight hits bottom, then reel up a few cranks. Some guys like the Husky Jerks better because they dive deeper naturally, others prefer to use Rattlin Rogues on leadcore, so there are plenty of stickbait options.

None of the stuff here is new. Use it as a place to start and find what works for you. I saw an interesting quote in one of the walleye rags I subscribe to - "...the wrong lure in the right place has a better chance of getting bit than the right lure in the wrong place..."

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Oops, my previous post said 10 feet per color - 5 feet is the general rule of thumb. Hopefully I can get this corrected and posted before someone else points out the error of my ways. If that's the worst mistake I make today that's pretty good.

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Thanks for the great info.

I can't wait to get out this weekend and try expirementing...

Lead core line, Any suggestions about brand or # test?

Thanks again

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I would use a huskt jerk or a countdown with a three way swivle and drop till you hit bottom but the bring in up a crank or two then troll slow enough to get the right action works every time

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