Kayak fishing on big bodies of water like the Great Lakes can be a daunting task. Big boats seem to have the advantage because they can move fast and troll a large number of lures at once covering a lot of water. The Mirage® Pro Angler 17T is the perfect boat for large waters like the Lake Michigan. In Wisconsin and Illinois, we can troll three lines per person. With another angler in the PA17, I can troll six rods.
The key to trolling so many rods is to be mindful of where each lure is and to keep them separated. Planer boards are my favorite tools for spreading out my lines and covering large areas of water.
Planers are simple devices that clip onto the fishing line and pull my baits away from the boat. The more line let out the further to the side and back they go. When a fish bites the line pulls out of one of the clips so the board stops planing and slides down the line to a stop. With planer boards, I can cover an area over one hundred feet wide instead of just the spread of my rod tips.
Each rod needs its own rod holder set at different angles to keep the rods vertically separated. I like to have three rods on each side. The planers set furthest from the boat should be positioned towards the front of the boat at the highest angle and the closest should be near the back at a horizontal or downward angle.
Trolling with a six-line spread is a task for two people. One person pedals and steers while the other sets each line one by one. It is important to keep the boat moving in a straight line until all of the lines are set to prevent tangles.
Once the lines are set turns should be taken very wide to keep all the baits moving. I like to keep deeper baits on the inside rods and shallow on the outside. It helps cover water vertically and allows for the shallower baits on the outside to pass over the inside baits when being retrieved.
It is important to keep the boat moving when a fish bites. One person pedals as the other fights the fish. I want to keep the other baits moving so they don’t get snagged on the bottom. It is also a good opportunity for multiple hook ups. The fish typically falls back to the center of all the lines as it fights but when a big chinook is on the line we will pull in the other rods since they will wipe out the whole spread.
Trolling multiple rods is a great way to catch a variety of species on any large body of water. It is also a great way to map out new areas so I can come back later and fish using other methods.
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