Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cowboy Wisdom -- Lead Core Trolling

My dad had been an enthusiastic fisherman during his entire life.  When he retired -- in his mid sixties -- his passion for fishing shifted into high gear, so he moved to northern California where he could be even closer to better lakes.

I was fortunate enough to take my kids and rendezvous with him on a number of occasions at his favorite fishing spots -- Lake Siskiyou and Bridgeport Reservoir. 

Dad introduced me to the fine art of lead-core trolling.  I remember sitting for many hours as dad worked his Valco aluminum boat in and out of coves and off various points in search of the next big trout.  

The droning putt, putt, putt of the motor and the smell of exhaust never appealed to me, but I treasure the hours spent with my folks -- both of which have been gone for many years now.

Dad with a nice catch of rainbows picked trolling on the surface

Mom could hold her own, and often caught the biggest fish

I'm getting ready to head off on another fishing adventure of my own.  They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

My fishing methods are a wee bit different than dad's -- I prefer the near silent sound of a canoe moving through the water with only the gentle dripping of water from my paddle.  

I also prefer to troll with a lighter rod and reel, but I must admit dad's lead-core rig generally yields larger fish.

Yesterday while checking my gear for the fishing trip I dug out dad's old tackle box to see what I'd need to do some lead-core trolling.  I also located his instructions that I wrote down many years back…

Dad's Lead Core Trolling Rig

5' - 8" Kencor trolling rod (rated for 10 - 20 lb line)

Penn Mag 10 reel

30 ft of a fishing reel backing line (not absolutely necessary)

100 yards (10 colors) of 14 lb lead core Cortland line 

27-30 ft of a 20 lb monofilament -- use a lead-core leader knot (illustrated above) to attach monofilament to lead-core line.

ball bearing swivel

Luhr Jensen Ford Fender "Lake Troll Model T Flasher" (brass/nickel overcast days and bright nickel for clear sunny days) -- my favorite -- but cowbells or half fast flashers also work pretty well.

16-20" of 4# monofilament

Tru-Turn size 2 (cam-action) hook.  Thread half of a nightcrawler over hook with worm threader.  You can also use a needle fish, super duper, or similar lure.

You'll have to find your own favorite lake.  I recommend starting at three colors (roughly ten feet deep for each color or 30 feet).  Trying fishing shallower or deeper until the action is best.

Happy fishing

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