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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Something I want to do more this year is work on my trolling game while on a kayak. I don't have a pedal drive system but plan to do this using a paddle on a SOT kayak. I've research downrigger set ups for kayaks, and I've seen snap weights being used instead. Wondering if anyone on this form regularly trolls for fish while on a kayak (paddle) and their thoughts. I plan to target hybrids, saugeyes, crappie and catfish with different swim baits and worm harnesses. Any tips or recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Also starting about mid June the worm harness/saugeye bite will start heating up. I would suggest Mack’s smiley blades with slow death hook. You can troll them super slow and imo outperform regular harnesses. Just use a 2oz. bottom bouncer to tick the bottom. Should work well from a kayak.
 

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I've had pretty good success trolling on my SOT after mounting a Garmin Stryker 4. I discovered that I was actually paddling too fast for most conditions.
As Opiedog mentioned, 5&7 Flicker Shads will cover most any situation. I try to stay around 1.5 mph.
I'm glad you mentioned the speed. I hook a large percentage of my fish while sitting still while fighting a fish on the second line. I too find myself going too fast too often and need to remind myself to slow down and periodically even stop.
 

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I've seen the slow death hooks but never used them and never heard of the smile blades. So, google being my friend, I went looking and must say I'm intrigued. A question though. It seems to me you would need to use a swivel to minimize line twist from the spinning of the hook/worm. I've gotten away from using swivels, do I need to go back to using them if I decide to give these slow death hooks a try?
 

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I've seen the slow death hooks but never used them and never heard of the smile blades. So, google being my friend, I went looking and must say I'm intrigued. A question though. It seems to me you would need to use a swivel to minimize line twist from the spinning of the hook/worm. I've gotten away from using swivels, do I need to go back to using them if I decide to give these slow death hooks a try?
Bottom bouncers have a swivel.
 

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Bottom bouncers have a swivel.
Yes, I'm familiar with bottom bouncers. I was thinking of other applications, but thank you for the response. You've basically affirmed my suspicions.
 

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Codger we both fish Alum and you’ll want to use bottom bouncers for saugeye. If your not at or very near the bottom you won’t get bit. I’ll keep some of the harnesses I make in my boat and give you some next time I see you out there. Oh and I do make mine with ball bearing swivels on the end but not necessary with bottom bouncers as already stated. I’m just not a fan of a loop on the end.
 

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Thank you MM. I used to catch LM & SM on spinners and on plastic worms, so I'm thinking that the smile blades with slow death hook rig may entice the more reluctant fish to bite. I wouldn't use a bottom bouncer for this since I would be casting instead of trolling. If it doesn't work, I wouldn't be out anything since I would still be enjoying my time on the water and would have the rigs to use with bb's for saugeye.
 
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if you're fishing bigger game fish I'd suggest trolling just 1 line. I trolled a lot with my paddle a couple of summers ago. If you get a big fish on, all of your lines can get tangled because the fish can pull you in circles.

I also use crankbaits predominantly. They go plenty deep enough for most of the inland lakes around....

I hope that helps.
 

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Yes, I'm familiar with bottom bouncers. I was thinking of other applications, but thank you for the response. You've basically affirmed my suspicions.
Those swivels that come on bottom bouncers are junk, I immediately take those off and replace them with high quality spro ball bearing swivels. The better the swivels, the better the slow death hooks will spin.
 

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Good idea. I switched to using the good swivels (when needed) when I stopped using snap swivels. Don't know why it never dawned on me to replace the swivels on the bottom bouncers. Thank you.
 

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Personally I’ve never felt the need to replace them. Never once have I had a fail with the stock swivels. Can’t say that it’s not a good idea tho. If you think it’ll give you an edge then do it. That’s what most fishing actually equates too. If it makes “you” more confident do it for sure. Saugeye are sissy’s and don’t put any strain on equipment. Catch a big channel cat or blue and they will test your gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I found the Berkley flicker shad are amazing and the same for the worm harnesses. I've been having decent success on my trolling game this season. I look forward to trying bottom bouncers soon. I also found snap weights very helpful getting the flicker shad and harnesses to the desired depth.
 

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Late to the game - Snap weights - I definitely wouldn't fool with a rigger around here. If you want to do snap weights instead of a down rigger, go with 6-10 oz for 2.5 mph or less. Use the offshore releases with a pin, snappers, or at least double wrap with that kind of weight. If your using long leaders with harnesses, high quality swivels are a must, and you still might get line twists especially with big blades (that you don't need inland), snaps are fine for stickbaits. I agree with the others, you don't need to do this for most applications. It is something different to do and kinda fun to see your weight on the fishfinder and adjust it to the depth of the fish. On a boat, you can adjust rod placement to get the weight in the ducer cone, you might need to rely on weight size more in a kayak. Bigger blades increase line twist potential. On erie, in the boat, I might throw a rig like that into the mix if we are trolling bouncers.

If your new to bouncers, line angle is critical. 45 degrees is std and that lets the bouncer stutter across rocks. It still matters in mud too. 1 oz in 15 FOW with std Colorado blades, 2 oz in 30 FOW. More weight if you wanna go faster that walleye speeds and faster can be the ticket for saugeye. On erie, buddy used to go with more weight than me and would fish very vertical, I'd do 45 degrees. It would vary throughout the day, every day, but it was very common for him to outfish me 6 to 1 in the morning, and then I'd rule in the afternoon and Vis versa. It had everything to do with the amt of bottom contact. Sometimes just touching or occasional touching, sometimes not touching. Harness length is a big deal with bouncers too. Longer is not always better, sometimes 3 ft (or even less) can be optimal. CJ fish like 3-4. I generally go 4. Line length affects the blade action and twist potential. Blade size, color, and shape is huge too. Briefly, (for me) back in the day - at CJ and west erie, I'd fish #4? blades Colorado (width of a quarter/nickel), Indiana (width of a dime), chrome, hammered chrome, chrome with light green prism tape, copper, and red in that order. Chart blades was never a thing for me. Fish almost ALWAYS had a preference. Dialing this stuff in can make the difference between 1 or 2 fish a day vs 40 (or 1-2 fish vs no fish LOL). All the really cool mixed colors available now complicates dialing stuff in and though I don't know names I lean towards mixed stuff with white, purple, pinks, confetti on copper, don't fish monkey puke enough... I tend to run bigger blades in the central and eastern end of erie. Buddy likes double blade rigs, especially willows... Going big never worked for me in west erie or cj and real big has never worked anywhere. Hachet blades work but are under utilized. IMO, you won't need to upgrade std bouncer swivels with small blades. Haven't fished harnesses for saugeye enough to say much but knew guys that used smilies slow and guys that speed trolled std blades in modern painted colors with 3 oz bouncers on Alum and they both caught fish. Kinda think the fast guy may have done better...

Smilie blades are the bomb for some situations and fish much slower than blades. I recently stumbled across a WI or MN u-tube video that showed using a med size flatfish (maybe f7 but very unsure, maybe f5?) in front of a harness with just a slow death hook for ultra slow speeds. Paddling and row trolling imparts a different action than an electric motor does, which can be a very good thing...

For casting harnesses, research what's now called mayfly rigs on erie, but maybe use a whole worm (maybe not). Basically, you put a slip sinker egg in front of the harness. Lindy used to make one, maybe called a red devil IDK. You can use split shots or rubber core if you want to fish higher or tweak the slip sinker weight. Walking slip sinkers have a place too. For trolling, snap weights or inline sinkers with chain swivels, they impart very different actions. You can position snap weights closer to the harness to duplicate in-line weights but there is an efficiency to in-line and perhaps arguably a different profile for the fish to see.

Used to fish by rowboat and canoe with and w/o electric and with and w/o electronics. The kayak thing looks like it would be fun. Saw some guys bring rigs in on trailers for a tourney of sorts on Hoover last year. Wow! Impressive rigs. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks JCarp for that info. I used a combo of 3 oz snap weights and a downrigger and just regular trolling with no weights/downrigger. I did well using all 3 methods, caught a bunch of crappie and catfish using both styles. I didn't get into the saugeyes unfortunately. I preferred the downrigger since I could be more exact on depth, and I could detect the bite better. I'm probably not using the correct rod on the snap weights since I could not detect a crappie bite at times and sometimes was surprised to learn I had a fish on after reeling it in. It was fun on the kayak using a paddle but it would be far more efficient and less exhausting using a trolling motor or on a pedal-power kayak.
 
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