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Thread: Trolling for Trout with Leadcore Line

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Offshore
    Posts
    160

    Default Trolling for Trout with Leadcore Line


    4yr.-old Keilani Sun holds a nice trout she caught while trolling with leadcore.


    Trolling for trout has been a proven effective method of fishing for years now, probably since the introduction of the first outboard motors. It doesn't get much easier than letting your lure back about 100' behind the boat and creeping around at 2-4 mph. This method works fine when the surface temps of the lake are at 65 degrees or less. However, during the warmer months lake surface temps. can reach in excess of 75 degrees and the trout are forced to move deeper to find their comfort zone. This is when the leadcore troller can find superb action while others go blank!

    Trolling Gear
    The Rod
    You will need a fairly long, medium action rod suitable for 12-25 pound test. I use a 7' Penn Power Graph Medium-Heavy action rod. The long length and stiff backbone helps with the hook-set, which is necessary because the leadcore line will usually "sag or droop" when trolled and you'll need a long swing to make up for the slack line.
    The Reel
    You'll need a large level-wind reel capable of holding at least 300 yds. of #20 test. The level-wind is necessary because it helps keep your line from bunching up - which can damage the braided line. The Penn 209 level-wind has been a popular choice for leadcore anglers throughout the years because of it's price and durability. This is what I use and it works fine for me, but there are some newer level winds on the market with higher gear ratios which could also aid in keeping the "slack" out of the line.
    The Line Leadcore line ranges from #12 to #20 test and generally comes in 100 yard spools. It is a braided nylon line with a hollow inner core that is filled with soft lead. It's usually color-coded at 10 yards per color. The general rule of thumb is the lure will sink 5 feet for every color of leadcore let out. This will vary of course, depending on trolling speed, lb test of leadcore, length of leader and type of lure you are using.



    The Leader
    I use #6 test Maxima fishing line, which is probably closer to #8 test when compared to other lines. I like it because it's very abrasion-resistant. You'll find when trolling leadcore (especially when first beginning) you will come into contact with the bottom a lot. Having a good abrasion-resistant line will sometimes make the difference between getting your lure back and not! I also believe Maxima's "Ultra-green" formula is one of the least visible line when underwater. Some people use flourocarbon and this is fine too. I'm not a big fan of the stuff but some people swear by it. Just make sure to use at least five feet of leader tied to a high quality precision ball-bearing swivel. The precision swivel will prevent "line-twist", a common problem when trolling some lures. Tie the other end of the swivel directly to the leadcore or "snubber" if you care to use one. A snubber is a sort of bungie cord that acts as a shock absorber. Since leadcore does not stretch like monofilament, a sudden run from a big fish can pull the hook out or snap the leader. I personally don't use one since I prefer the more direct contact with the fish for a better hook-set. I also have yet to hook a trout while trolling that will break my #6 Maxima, but I guess if I ever do, I may be sorry!
    Lures
    I could probably write an entire book on trolling lures for trout. I won't get into the hundreds of different types of trout lures and gizmos on the market but I do want to mention a key factor to remember when selecting a lure. Different lures will swim at different depths and this will affect how many "colors" of leadcore you need to let out to get to the desired depth. A deep diving crankbait will naturally swim deeper than a fluttering Needlefish spoon.
    Trolling Technique
    Trolling Speed
    How fast you should troll depends on what type of lure you are using. Most of the time you want to troll just fast enough to bring a good action to your lure. Test this by letting a few feet of line out and dragging your lure next to the boat. Crankbaits should have a nice "wiggle" to them, a spoon should "wobble" and a spinner should "spin".
    Trolling Depth
    As mentioned before, the general rule of thumb is the lure will sink 5 feet for every color of leadcore let out. This will vary of course, depending on trolling speed, lb test of leadcore, length of leader and type of lure you are using. The only way to get a good idea on how deep you are running is trial and error. A fish finder is extremely helpful in determining this. Watch your graph and hold your rod and pay attention to how many colors you put out. If you start to feel your lure bumping the bottom at 35 feet, you know that's how much line you will need to let out to get your lure at that depth. Of course, you must also figure out what depth the fish are holding at as well. Once again, this is where a fish finder becomes an extremely helpful tool.
    Other Tips
    One of the biggest problems I have run across while trolling with leadcore is keeping the line tight after hooking a fish. As mentioned before, leadcore line will usually "sag or droop" when trolled causing a lot of slack in the line. My slow-ratioed Penn 209 probably does not help either. I have found a way to compensate this though and that is by leaving the motor in gear while reeling the fish in. This of course cannot always be done, especially if you are by yourself or on a very small lake and headed to the bank. But if you can get away with it, it's a good method for keeping the line tight and the fish connected to it! Another tip for running deeper is to add a 3/8-1/2 ounce sliding egg sinker just above the swivel. You'll have to re-calculate your "depth vs. colors of line" theory but it will definately get your lure down deeper without having to let so much line out. References: fishguppie, Muskyman, troll miester, greg


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Cedar Pines Park, CA
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    512

    Default

    Just another FYI...if your fishfinder indicates fish at 20 feet, for instance, it's best to troll your lure (or bait) just above the 20' mark. Also, if trolling a dodger, you must remember that your dodger will also take your lure down in addition to your leadcore (how far depends on the length of your leader) If I'm running 20 feet of leader with a dodger and the fish are at 20', then I will troll 3 colors. This puts my lure roughly around 18' -19' deep.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Palmdale, CA
    Posts
    73

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    Question: When trolling for trout with lead core is there a way to get the line to go out by iteself? I have 12# leadcore and mainly use a 1/4 oz. lure. The lure is not heavy enough to pull the lead core line off my Penn reel so I have to strip it out by hand. I was hoping someone had a neat trick that I can use so that I don't have to hand peel 3-4 colors every time I let the line out.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    torrance
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    554

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    Check your cast control and make sure its no to tight. Line should be able to pull it self off after just a couple of feet in the water while trolling.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    hemet
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    326

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    To FO- There are a few trolling tricks that you can use to make leadcore trolling actually fun. When you are first starting to let your leader line out, it's almost impossible to have your leadcore peel off automatically. But, once your first color is in the water, you should have no problem. I use 15lb leadcore and have done this a million times. Make sure your reel is letting line out freely. As your first color is completely in the water, point your rod directly in the direction where your line is making contact with the water. Also, speed your boat up just a bit faster than your normal trolling speed. You'll find that the leadcore will start peeling off nicely. After your leadcore is at your desired depth, you can slow the boat down to your normal speed. It may take you a few tries, but you'll get the hang of it. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Palmdale, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrouTracker View Post
    To FO- There are a few trolling tricks that you can use to make leadcore trolling actually fun. When you are first starting to let your leader line out, it's almost impossible to have your leadcore peel off automatically. But, once your first color is in the water, you should have no problem. I use 15lb leadcore and have done this a million times. Make sure your reel is letting line out freely. As your first color is completely in the water, point your rod directly in the direction where your line is making contact with the water. Also, speed your boat up just a bit faster than your normal trolling speed. You'll find that the leadcore will start peeling off nicely. After your leadcore is at your desired depth, you can slow the boat down to your normal speed. It may take you a few tries, but you'll get the hang of it. Good luck.
    I will give this a try. Peeling 3-4 colors by hand is pretty tedious so there has to be a better way

  7. #7

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    I just started fishing with lead core earlier this year. I had the same problem as fadedone. I think my lead core is 17lb. I Use 20 ft of 15 lb leader and smallest barrel swivel I can find so when i reel it in it goes through the eyelets all the way to the reel. I can attach my 6 lb line from that to my lure or what ever I feel like doing. I ended up buying some flashers http://www.luhrjensen.com/products/l...ows-lake-troll to help me pull the line off and to attract fish.
    The 5 foot depth per color is at 2mph. foot +/- for .5mph +/- . you also have to count the colors in the water. not from your reel.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anaheim
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    4,497

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    Quote Originally Posted by SierraPeaks View Post
    Just another FYI...if your fishfinder indicates fish at 20 feet, for instance, it's best to troll your lure (or bait) just above the 20' mark. Also, if trolling a dodger, you must remember that your dodger will also take your lure down in addition to your leadcore (how far depends on the length of your leader) If I'm running 20 feet of leader with a dodger and the fish are at 20', then I will troll 3 colors. This puts my lure roughly around 18' -19' deep.
    Very good, I was about to say the same thing. Dont wanna snag all the fish and scare them away!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Cedar Pines Park, CA
    Posts
    512

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrouTracker View Post
    To FO- There are a few trolling tricks that you can use to make leadcore trolling actually fun. When you are first starting to let your leader line out, it's almost impossible to have your leadcore peel off automatically. But, once your first color is in the water, you should have no problem. I use 15lb leadcore and have done this a million times. Make sure your reel is letting line out freely. As your first color is completely in the water, point your rod directly in the direction where your line is making contact with the water. Also, speed your boat up just a bit faster than your normal trolling speed. You'll find that the leadcore will start peeling off nicely. After your leadcore is at your desired depth, you can slow the boat down to your normal speed. It may take you a few tries, but you'll get the hang of it. Good luck.

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I've had to tell people to point their rod straight back when letting line out.

  10. #10

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    Another thing...I use a "willis knot". You can find it on google. Others I've seen (and they take a 4" or more, section of lead out of the line) use an albright knot and some tie onto a swivel.

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