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2007 Stratos 486 FS
13,614 Posts
How to use a Trolling Plate and Trolling Bag
By Dave Adams

Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, was not very fond of me this day. Like all other anglers - or us who like toys - I had to have a trolling plate. That's right, if they had it - I wanted it. Well, soon enough, I had my new trolling plate installed. The next weekend found me trolling near the smokestacks. I was hitting the bass hard, but totally ignoring the building seas. Then, I was pooped on the next wave (took one over the stern.) Trying to swing away from the next wave, I pushed down on the throttle. Guess what? I forgot to pull the trolling plate release. Fortunately, in the excitement, nothing broke. I took a few waves (while trying to pull the release) and then, headed to the safety of Presque Isle Bay. Not every invention is best.

Anyway, when used correctly, fixed-position trolling plates don't affect the performance of motors. When in the up position, the plate acts as a stabilizer, smoothing out the ride in rough water and reducing porpoising and cavitation. In the down position, it serves as a brake (stopping or redirecting thrust). But they have a few disadvantages. First, typical of all marine gear, is price, trolling bags cost less. Second, trolling plates must be permanently mounted by drilling holes into your outdrive. Finally, and what I consider the most important - if you forget to pull the release, the outdrive, on hard acceleration, will be damaged.

A trolling bag is an excellent alternative to drilling holes through your outdrive. They are efficient, inexpensive, and easy to use. Similar to a drift sock, but stronger - one or two bags will slow any boat. Simply fasten one line to a forward side cleat and attach release line aft. Then start fishing. When it's time to move or a change of speeds is needed, the rear line is pulled and the bag is flipped into the boat.

When the subject of trolling distance is discussed, successful Lake Erie anglers agree - the farther the better. The lake is very clear and the fish are easily spooked. When flatlining plugs, we use leads up to 300 feet. Dipsys will have leads around 155 feet and worm harnesses will run 150 feet back of a downrigger ball.

By the way, you'll love your I/O as compared to an outboard. When it comes to fuel efficiency, well, let's just say that you'll be able to buy more fishing gear this year. Good Fishing,
Capt. Dave Adams

Dave Adams

Dave Adams is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association. He is a Licensed U.S.C.G. Master and has over 20 Years experience fishing on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. One of the best things Dave says about fishing is "I enjoy fishing for the great experience of good company and memories that last a lifetime".

Writing credits:Pennsylvania Angler and Boater, Pennsylvania Game & Fish, Ohio Game & Fish, Great Lakes Angler, Fishing Facts, Ohio Valley Outdoors, PA Hunting & Fishing News, Outdoor Times, Lake Erie Walleye, Ohio Fishing & Hunting News, Valley News Dispatch, Outdoor Times, Outdoor Territory, and Outdoor Journal

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