Pelagics Play
  |  First Published: March 2010

There are many different ways and methods of trolling for pelagics. In this month’s story we will be covering the basic how-to for species such as mackerel, tuna and wahoo.

The main areas we troll are around Hutchies, Caloundra, Mooloolaba and around the reefs off 1770.

Firstly, we’ll look at techniques for mackerel. The most effective way we found for catching mackerel on the troll is using a pilchard with a skirt or trolling a live bait.

The rig to use for trolling a pilchard and skirt is very simple to make: Get some quality gang hooks that will be able to handle the power of the mackerel teeth as well as some quality wire trace, around 60-80lb. Either twist or melt the wire to join it to the hooks and swivel (nylon-coated you have to crimp or single strand wire you twist really tight together). Once joined, cut the wire about 50cm in length and feed your skirt on so that the head of the skirt faces your swivel, make sure you use quality swivels and some different coloured skirts. Then on the other end tie your swivel on, and then you’re ready to go.

Put the hooks through the top of the pilchard and make sure it’s on as straight as possible, then test it when slowly idling along. If it spins in the water next to the boat take it off and put another pilchard on. Keep doing this until you get one where the pilchard isn’t spinning in the water, because the mackerel won’t touch it if it is spinning in the water.

When trolling a live bait for mackerel you need a very similar rig, except use a stinger rig set up instead of gang hooks. You will need to get some quality treble hooks to use for your stinger hook. A good quality treble is Owner trebles or Mustad treble. For your front hook use a live bait hook, Gamakatsu or Black Magic, both make good live bait hooks.

For the stinger rig you still have to use wire so you don’t get bitten off. Get the end of the wire and join it to the treble hook. Then space about 10cm of wire and join it to the live bait hook. Then add another length of wire about 50cm long to the live bait hook and tie the open end to the swivel. Troll live baits also in idle; to stop them from spinning or dying in the water.

You can also troll for mackerel using hardbodied lures. When using hardbodies it’s always good to have a wire trace to stop them from biting you off. Good hardbodied lures to troll are Lively Lures, Blue Water Classics or Rapala X-Raps. Troll the lure as fast as you possible can without it jumping out of the water, around 6-8 knots.

Trolling for wahoo is very similar to catching mackerel. The main way to catch wahoo is trolling good hardbodies like Lively Lures and X-Raps and trolling Hexheads. A good colour for wahoo in the Hexhead style is red but any colour will work really. When using Hexheads troll them at 9-15 knots, remember that wahoo are one of the fastest fish in the ocean. Troll your hardbodies around 7 knots. It’s always good to use wire traces again because wahoo have got very sharp teeth. Good places to troll for wahoo are around Cape Moreton, Hutchies, Mooloolaba and off 1770.

Lastly, trolling for tuna is just a combination of the above methods. Use similar Hexheads but in a smaller size, and bright colours tend to work better. The main difference is that you don’t have to have wire trace as most tuna don’t have huge teeth. Tuna are also a fast fish so look at trolling speeds of around 10 knots. You can also use small hardbodied lures and tuna don’t mind swallowing whole live baits either. Good areas for tuna are around Cape Moreton, off Caloundra, Mooloolaba and around the reefs yet again off 1770.

Hopefully you can now go out and catch yourself a pelagic fish.

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