With Wire Line
Are you set up with a good wire outfit? If not and you want to set one up but don't know how or have gotten some advise from a guy who wants to sell lots and lots of expensive stuff please read our section on Setting up a Wire Outfit for a second opinion.
You are using wire because you need to go deep and can't get there with the lures or monofilament tackle you are using. Let me say, "wire is deadly."
Wire trolling is no big deal if you pay attention to details and keep alert. If you've never used wire and are going out there to fish and learn by trial and error, you may learn bad habits, get frustrated, sell your tackle or throw the stuff overboard.
Here's the way I do it.
A pair of Rod Riggers is pretty much a "Must Have". You need to have a good spread on your tackle because you will be sending tackle out a good distance. Probable 150 feet or more and you want to cover as wide an area as possible. If your spread is too narrow you stand a good chance of having a lot of crossovers. Outriggers won't do because the tackle is usually too heavy for the rigger clip to hold. Putting your rods in the flush mount holders makes your spread too close and since the rods are almost straight up in the air, it adds about 50 feet to your drop back. It is now possible for you Tuna Trollers to use rod riggers too. Our offshore rated TGT Rod Riggers will accommodate the smallest of inshore reels on up to 80W's. ( Visit our sites write up on TGT Rod Riggers to see more. )
Get your boat up to speed. About 4 MPH is a good starting point. Send in your rigs. Umbrella rigs, plugs, spoons, squids or whatever. To do this, drop your lures into the drink and let out the wire. Do it slowly if you are in shallow water or rocky areas because a slack wire line will sink quickly and you'll hook the "Big Cork." You don't want to pull up the "Cork" and let the ocean drain, leaving you high and dry. You'll need to keep tension on your line while sending it out. One way to do this is to cut back on your reel's drag and ride it. I don't like to "ride" the drag. I'd rather have a fish ride it. I press the side of my spool with the fingers of my free hand to keep some tension on the line. Don't let go if a fish strikes. You may have to thumb the spool with the hand that is holding your pole at this point. If you let go of the side of the spool before thumbing it to keep tension on, you will get a backlash. Backlashes in wire are devastating. I NEVER GET BACKLASHES. But I have had a few professional asynchronous over speeds followed by instantaneous under speeds.
O.K. How do I know how deep I am? Rule of thumb is, send out 10 feet of wire for every foot of depth. That's what the colored marks in the wire are for. Remember, the marks are at 150, 200, and 250 feet. Gets you down 25 feet real easy. If you need to get down deeper, which is seldom, you'll have to let out some of your backing which I avoid as much as possible, slow down (not good because you'll loose some of the action on your lures) or clip on a drail or other trolling weight. Now that you're out where you wanna' be, put your rod in the rigger.
You're not done yet.
Set your drag at about 2 or 3 pounds after your rigs are working properly. The better pro's are learning to use a light drag. Even that low for tuna. If you consider the speed of the boat, the drag of the line and rigs and that a fish usually rushes the lure and turns away, the 2 or 3 pounds is up in the two digit area. Tight drags tear off too many fish, break rigs, lines and rods. With a light drag, the fish can make his first panic run and tire out a bit. After that first run, I tweak the drag up a bit and start reeling him in. If I'm not making any progress, I'll keep tweaking it up until I do as long as the fish isn't still making those long panic runs. You can back off on the drag when the fish is in the danger zone near the boat. With the TGT Rod Rigger you can set your rod in the rigger which holds your reel directly over the gunnel and adjust the drag there. I set it so when I pull the line off the reel by hand, there is just enough drag to hold my rigs. If you need to speed the boat up to avoid crashing lures into upcoming structure or a boat in the process of cutting you off, and your line starts to run off, your drag is perfect. Just temporarily tighten the drag until the situation clears. Easy to do with the T.G.T Rigger since your reel is directly over the gunnel. No leaning overboard to do this, like with the "model T" types.
There's more. While trolling, you should make turns as wide as possible to avoid crossovers. The crossover dilemma is greatly reduced with our riggers because your line enters the water quickly and your drop back is reduced by as much as 50 feet. Since your line is in the water so much closer to your boat, there's not as much free line in the air which crosses over very easily. The water tends to keep the lines separated much better than air! Sometimes, tight turns can't be avoided due to wind speed, current speed, in a tightly packed fishing fleet or some jerk cutting you off. If people would learn "The Rules of the Road", and understand why boats have a red and green side much of the "Jerk" stuff could be avoided. So you're inna' tight turn through no fault of your own. Whatcha' gonna' do ? Speed the boat up if you can !! And get out of it! Watch your inside line! Don't let it go slack because you'll hook the "Big Cork". If you hook it, you've got a bad situation where someone might run your line over (maybe you) or you may have to break your stuff off. If you do get hung up and have room to maneuver, go in the opposite direction of your hang up and past the point of the hang. Jerk the rod up and down quickly while heading that way, allowing it to have no tension on it the down swing. This technique usually dislodges the hang about 99% of the time. Maybe .999% of the time. I never counted. A little more and we're done. So now you're in a tight turn and the outside line starts running off due to its increased speed. Simply tighten up the drag until it stops. No big deal with the TGT Rod Rigger since there's no leaning overboard to reach it. If it's snotty out there, you don't want to be leaning overboard anyway. We also want to keep our speed where it needs to be. How fast or slow?? I dono! It varies with current speed, current direction, wind speed and the lure you are using. This is the easiest question to answer. Watch your rod tip for proper action with the lure you're using. That's the proper speed! Some stuff will spin at high speed or run sideways, so watch the rod tip frequently.
Our TGT Spoon should be pulsing your rod tip about once a second and is the least prone Spoon to high speed spin that we've ever seen. Check one out on our site. It has a rattle, eyes, two colored powder coat, a teaser tail, larger hooks, hooks closer to the spoon, not hanging off the end of the spoon and more. If one of your rigs stops working at the proper speed but the other's just fine, you probably picked up a weed or plastibag-o-fin. A very predominant species, lately. Anyway, you need to clear it. I usually tighten the drag and grind it in while it's in the Rod Rigger and leave the good one out to keep working for me. One more thing! When you reel in wire, you should never lift your rod tip higher than 45 degrees. Ideally, your rod tip should be pointed at the same angle as the line is to the water. If you need to pump the rod to gain line on a big fish, drop the tip down a bit and pump back to the 45 degrees. You've probably seen the trick of pulling a ribbon over a knife or scissors edge to make it curl. Same thing will happen to your wire if you hold your rod up too high.
If you pay attention to details and follow my suggestions you'll be catchin' em' as good as anybody. After a few trips, all this stuff will become instinctive. I guarantee you'll catch lots of fish with wire. If you want to try using super braids, look up our section on Setting up a Super Braid Outfit.