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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seems like more people are trolling than drifting. I dont fish lake Erie much but by reading the reports and stuff I read in magazines it seems like more and more people are giong to trolling for eyes. I thinks its pretty boring myself. Anyone have any insight as to whey trolling has become so popular, I'm assuming that its more productive but I was wondering why. Is it water clarity? Are people just getting better at trolling?
 

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Twistertail,

I think there's several reasons that trolling has become more popular. One of them has to do with the fact that it has become a proven way to cover water and put HUGE fish in the livewell. 10 or so years ago not many people would have dreamed about a 5 fish basket weighing 50 pounds or more. people like to catch big fish. Trolling on Erie is generally the best method to present baits that produce larger fish.

The walleye population today is down and from the early '90s from an estimated 80 million fish to about 20 million or so (not counting the booming hatch of last year). It makes sense that with fewer fish in the lake, the more water that you can cover, the better chance you have to contact and present your bait to more fish. As the water clarity has increased fish tend to suspend a bit deeper. It makes sense that if you can troll with you bait in "the zone" 100% of the time vs casting/drifting with a bait presented ot of "the zone" much of the time, trolling will be the more effecient method of catching fish.

More people have boats today that are made for or adaptable to trolling with the advent of big boat-friendly kicker motors and motor brackets, trolling bags, trolling plates, etc. This "new" technology is constantly being developed and refined to make trolling easier and more fun.

I'm not saying that you can't catch fish by drifting-it's still done every day out there. I am definitely what you would call a troller (on Erie) but I still would rather stick a big walleye with a jig or rig and feel that head shake all the way to the boat. In my honest opinion though, to catch larger, and often times more walleye, get set for trolling it's the name of the game.

Tim
 

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I still much prefer to drift and cast for walleye over trolling. Most days I can catch enough walleye by drifting to keep me happy.

Trolling without a doubt is the most productive, consistant, method for taking walleye on Erie for all of the reasons stated by toolman.

As an example, last Sunday, fishing 60 FOW, the fish were so scattered, and so few of them, that I don't really know if we would have caught any walleye drifting.

I have on many occasions while trolling on Erie hit a group of fish that had so many fish at such a defined depth, that I would stop trolling and cast for them with great success, not because I could catch more casting than trolling but just because it's my fishing preference.

Kim
 

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Trolling catches more walleyes when the fish are scattered. When the fish are tightly schooled in large pods,drifting and casting can be very affective.
sammyo
 

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Lundy is certainly the expert....as his livewell ussually shows.

I dont troll because I am not set up for it. Trolling involves too much specialization in equipment for me. I am constantly struggling this year with spending money on fishing equipment that I can use now or decoys for my new layout rig, which for me is more enjoyable to use. If your priority through the year is to catch big walleye and lots of them, the get out the planner boards and good luck...I know where you can get rid of some of those fillets...

I love the simplicity of drifting. As Justcrazy or Crappiebub will tell you, I shy away from complication when I fish. Just not smart enough for all that stuff. It is bad enough that I have gotten away from Catfishing, that is all I used to do. But a nice drift is just as relaxing, and I still get pumped when I see a 22" eye tail next to the boat. Heck, I still have fun fighting sheephead...
 

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Thanks for the boost of my ego, but even though I've been fishing the lake for a lot of years I've still got plenty to learn.

I struggle sometimes with trying to determine if trolling is a science or an art. I think I've decided it's a combination of both.

There are some members here that have exhibited a trolling knowledge and an ability to catch fish trolling far beyond my abilities while trolling. There are many, but a couple that immediatly come to mind are Toolman and EZMarc. If you ever get a chance to troll with someone like these guys that has the science and art combination perfectly melded into a consistant skill set, don't pass on the chance.

I love fishing Erie, especially the diversity that it offers being able to fish it from Toledo to Erie PA. There are always new things to be learned.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So it seems that most people would rather drift so you can feel the fish hit and fight it in instead of the fish just hooking himself but in order to catch more and bigger fish you troll? I'm sure trolling is a lot different if you have your own boat, when I go trolling on the lake with someone it gets very boring just sitting there waiting for a fish to hit. Sure I have learned to run the planer boards and jet divers and dipsy divers but after that I just sit there. I imagine if its your boat you get some kind of satisfaction by getting into fish, weather or not you actually real in the fish. Its like it almost becomes a hunt, you get a satisfaction of knowing where the fish will be and when and what to use and depths and all that other scientific info stuff and that gives you more excitment than actually reeling in the fish.
 

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I have gone "trolling" once with Ray IL. Toolman, Buck,rodbender ,mrfishohio and a few more guys. I prefer drifting, but I was also amazed at the work involved in trolling. But for the fight of the fish, trolling isn't the way to go. It's for putting fish in a live well. Which is fine when chasing large 'eyes. These are my opinions and don't reflect the thought of the OGF site nor it's leaders............ :D :D :D DA KING !!!
 

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I believe that trolling is more successful. That does not relieve me of my preference to cast or drift. I find myself cleaning my tackle box, sight seeing, cleaning the debris, reading instructions on next trolling gadget to figure out, etc...of course the sheephead keep me on my tip toes when I can't master the eyes.....been doing dipseys, starting jets, thinking about planers...a lot of it is simple once figured out and tactics fine tuned...
 

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I caught this little guy drifting with homemade spinner harnesses, as well as five of his slightly smaller friends on my fourth time out ever. Now, that may not be typical for drifting, but I am sure that it is not the last one I will catch like this. Not a bad day for an amatuer like me, if I do say so myself....and I will.....
 

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My first choice is casting as you are truly doing the manipulation of the lure in an effort to tempt a fish into biting. :) I also like drifting and must admit it is the easiest and most relaxing way to fish for the eye's. :D I am not the best or dedicated troller but sometimes I am lucky enough to blunder into a combo that works. :confused: I will say that trolling is by far the most work. :( I'll settle for anyway at all that works for a given time as long as it puts a walleye on the end of my line.
 

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Id have to agree that trolling can get a little tiring. But we have always made it a point to constantly try new lures depths and speeds to find active fish. And you would be suprised how fine tuning or changing things completely can turn fish on, when you would swear they just arent going to hit. So it can be very fulfilling.

Yeah the fight is pathetic on small fish, and it would be better to fight them drifing, but the big ones stay down and fight all the way to the boat.

I also think it is nice that we are flexible like lundy said. We never go out and say we are only going to troll all day long. and we never set so many rods that its a pain to set up and break down and worry about tangles.

for trolling to be fun you need to have a say in where you go and what you use, so that when you do hook up its you catching a fish and not someone elses boat snagging one by chance, and its your "turn" to drag in the "meat".
:rolleyes:

-josh
 

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I Agree With Some Of The Other..i Love To Cast To The Fish And Work The Bait Or Baits That I Am Using, Whether It Be Live Bait Rigs Or Art. Nonetheless, I Love To Drift...and To Be Quite Honest I Have Never Really Trolled Much Until A Few Times This Yr, And It Is Alot Of Work, But Like Other Have Said, It Does Put Some Fish In The Boat....just My 2....tony
 

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I prefer to drift for my eyes (usualy in the Lorain area which is dominated by trollers). I find that on most days we average close to the same as the typical troller. However, even on the best of days we would be hard pressed to compair with a better than average troller who is keyed in to that magical blend of art and science that can make trolling an effective fish taking method. The only days the average troller outfishes the good drifter is when the wind is light and the water is flat.
 

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Figure I might as well throw my $.02 in here also. I'd rather catch a walleye on a jig or a homemade spinner harness any day and the majority of my fish are caught that way, Erie and inland lakes. Trolling definitely has it's place in my boat though as it is a great method to cover water and search for active fish. If I can locate active fish via trolling I'll often stop to cast or drift for them and I'll stick with that if it proves to be productive. Some days though it's trolling or nothing, just depends on what the fish want.
 

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i certainly don't fish erie as much as i use to but i think the water clarity is what made trolling the more productive method.
before the water became so clear the only time we would troll was when the lake went flat and there was no drift.even then, because the water wasn't as clear as it is now,all we had to do was use lures and put the pole in a rod holder.no planers,dipseys,etc. the fish were still at a shallow enough depth to be caught.once the water cleared up it drove the fish deeper.
trolling does put fish in the cooler but it just never gave me the enjoyment that drifting did.drifting just felt more like "fishing" to me.
 

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Last year was really the first year that I gave walleye fishing much thought. I just drift in my 20 ft. bass boat and did pretty well. Caught a 10lb 5 0z last year drifting . Seems like the trollers may catch more numbers but if you aren't set up for trolling don't worry there are plenty eyes to be caught drifting and casting.
 
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