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There are advantages to fishing from a boat that is “small” or between 20-27 feet, including less risk of error, particularly if the weather turns on you. A small boat usually also has a fuel tank that gives you enough to cruise 8-10 hours and can take you at least 20 miles out. When it comes to trolling, here’s what seems to work when trolling in a small boat.
Trolling Tip #1: Add Rod Holders
Firstly, most boats don’t seem to have enough standard rod holders. So, you’ll want to have three flush-mount rod holders on each side of the craft, with the same number of vertical rod holders set in a leaning post, T-top or hardtop. Extra vertical rod holders go on the hardtop-power legs.
By using more rod holders, you’re ensuring there’s more usable space still on your boat as now you can troll six or so rods, and if two get hit, then you can reel in the extra setups and stow them out of the way, so people aren’t falling over them. You won’t have to worry about having enough rod holders now when fishing from a boat that’s considered small in size.
Trolling Tip #2: Use Rod Riggers
Also get a set of rod riggers to increase the reach (horizontally) of your trolling baits by spreading the baits or lures apart. These riggers can be made of various materials, from anodized aluminum to stainless steel or chrome over brass. Essentially, they’re like your boat’s hull, minus the drop-back following a strike.
Trolling Tip #3: Storage Racks
The final tip is to use horizontal storage racks. Put them beneath the gunwales and use them to store your tagging sticks, gaffs, and boat hooks, so they won’t take up valuable real estate on the craft.
Trolling Tip #4: Create the Ultimate Wake
Of course, your boat’s wake needs controlling. If it creates too much white water, the fish will hide under it but won’t see your baits. Instead, you want a jet stream of bubbles from the prop wash, as well as a smaller stream of bubbles from the outer edges of your boat, which will bring bait and predators to you. Essentially, less white water is better when fishing from a boat.
Finally, keep the lures and baits underwater when trolling so that they look as natural as possible. Depending on your rigger setup, you may be able to troll as many as 8 or 9 outfits.