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How fast is HST?

Old 10-20-2020, 11:50 AM
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Default How fast is HST?

How Fast should I go for HST?
Itís the #1 question people ask, I get it all the time. Since there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question the theories presented below are offered to help people make their own judgment on what HST means to their application. I regularly chat with HST trollers both on/off the forum, many of them I consider to be better at the sport than I am so I listen carefully to what they say. Since this is a consortium viewpoint please add or argue any point you like.

Sweet Spot:
Your boat is probably the single most important thing in determining the best speed for HST. The speed range normally considered to be HST is 12-20 knots with outliers on both sides. Before you even put lures in the water itís best to find the ďsweet spotĒ of your boat somewhere in the range. For my last three boats the speed has been different but one thing has been a constant, when the chine wake collapses into the draft of the boat Iím in my HST range. Once inside the HST range you need to find the speed that is the most consistent to operate at. If your speed is surging or youíre going on/off plane itís going to be very difficult to be consistent with the fishing. Driving ďuphillĒ for long periods of time is going to be exhausting and burn a lot of fuel. If youíre having a hard time finding a sweet spot you may need to make some changes to your boat. Weight distribution changes are my favorite because you can change the attitude of your boat without adding drag. It may be as simple as moving heavy coolers forward or as hard as moving batteries forward. Moving something from the stern to the bow will generally make 2X the difference of the weight itself. Trim tabs or hydrofoils are more common choices than weight distribution. On a past THT thread I was surprised at how many people running outboards said they were running hydrofoils.

Sea State:
This oneís pretty obvious, the calmer the sea state the faster you should travel. The sweet spot of your boat will inherently increase in speed as the seas lay down, listen to your boat! In chunky water my HST speed will drop to as little as 12 knots. If I canít do 12 knots Iíd rather do the Mrs., so itís time to go home.

Terminal Tackle:
Once youíve found your boat speed figured out itís time to put some hooks in the water. You can drag just about any non-directional lure you want for HST provided you put enough lead in front of it. The limiting factor is usually how much static drag is imparted on your rod/reels so itís common to stick with darts or streamlined jets. The ďbellĒ lures are very popular but in my experience they pull like tanks in mud. When it comes to trolling sinkers size matters. You want to reach a point where when you look back at the spread you see absolutely nothing. If you donít ever see a lure or trolling sinker break surface youíre doing as good as it gets. If you do see a lure or sinker you should either slow down or switch to a heavier sinker on that lure. Another option is to switch to a more compact sinker shape. I donít find the trolling bar sinkers to be as effective at taking a lure down as other comparable weight sinkers. Too much sinker weight isnít good either, it can cause your sinker to spin and wrap the mainline up to the point of failure quickly. Think of it as a kite, with the lure being the tail. Too little tail and the kite spins out of control. Lastly, donít buy into that ďmy lures can be pulled at XX knots without a sinkerĒ story. While itís true many lures can be pulled at XX knots without a sinker are you out there to pull lures, or catch fish?

Presentation:
I cringe every time I hear ďitís just a reaction biteĒ. While itís true every bite from your largest Kona Slants to your smallest Sabiki rig is a reaction bite there still has to be a quality presentation to elicit that reaction. Wahoo tend to lay low in the water where their cobalt back wrinkles camouflage them in the sun wrinkles and use their burst speed to rocket to the surface to snap up a lunch that didnít see them coming. Donít think thatís an ďaccidentĒ by any means. ďItís a reaction biteĒ is a self-limiting prophecy that you can only catch them when a pack is feeding near the surface and will eat anything. Now that youíve dialed in your boat speed itís time to dial in your lure speed to match. My #1 response to the #1 question is GO AS FAST AS YOU CAN WHILE MAINTAINING GOOD LURE PRESENTATION. Taking your boat, lures, sinkers and sea state into consideration be flexible on the actual speed compared to presentation. I WILL ALWAYS SACRIFICE SPEED IN FAVOR OF PRESENTATION.

Modus Operandi:
Another factor determining speed is definitely what youíre trying to accomplish with HST. While most of whatís above is true for dedicated HST it also comes into play for those doing HST during travel time. If you want to do HST on your runs in/out, while scouting or just traveling from Point A to Point B but donít want to slow down that much itís certainly an option. For higher speeds focus on more hydrodynamic lures, smaller lures and/or drop the lures further back. Presentation remains an important matter.

Conclusion:
Q: How fast should I go for HST?
A: Go Fish!




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Old 10-20-2020, 12:25 PM
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Can you add one more category???? HST etiquette....

If you see boats bait fishing on a certain spot please do not go blowing through there at 18 kts.... just plain rude....
Old 10-20-2020, 12:54 PM
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Um, no, not really, but if you want to start your own thread on that feel free to.
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:15 PM
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Can you make the Corona virus go away so some of us can figure a way to get within 2000 miles of the damn ocean


Great advice as always Mark
Old 10-20-2020, 01:30 PM
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Get it, and get over it seems to work. 🙂

Thanks for the kind words, it’s a question I can’t answer so I’m hoping others will add to what I’ve written.
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Old 10-20-2020, 01:57 PM
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Good info. in your post. I will add that cedar plug daisy threesomes were very effective.
Old 10-20-2020, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by muskrattown View Post
Good info. in your post. I will add that cedar plug daisy threesomes were very effective.
Thank you.
How much trolling sinker are you putting in front of the daisy chain?
Is the daisy chain tracking like single lures, or is it going wide in the turns?
Are you running cable all through the chain? I would think the front lures would be a target for secondary bites.
Old 10-20-2020, 04:36 PM
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This is an interesting topic in a world of speedy outboard boats that are plowing from 8- 20 knots...

Last edited by HTJ; 10-20-2020 at 04:45 PM.
Old 10-20-2020, 05:57 PM
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Great info! The guys at black Bart said something very similar to the owner of a 36YF I fish. Stepped hull boats are hard to get consistent but at 12kts its an amazing ďslow high speedĒ presentation. I think a lot of anglers, including me, get caught up on speed. If weíre fishing offshore off NC we can run Atleast 25mph or weíre home. Obviously you canít run 25mph easily HST so 20 is easier. BUT your lures have to look and swim good. If that means running at 12kts you make the call to move fast or slow-HST for hoo. The slower speed means you need to be marking fish/bait and be in an area that holds them. Itís a lot of fuel to fish HST for several hours. Good info like yours should help guys wanting to get better at it
Old 10-20-2020, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HTJ View Post
This is an interesting topic in a world of speedy outboard boats that are plowing from 8- 20 knots...
Agreed, many boats have a difficult time operating in the range. Iím on my third HST boat and Iíve had to make some changes to each of them.
For me weight distribution has been the most effective and enduring change. My current boat is light compared to the previous so I have different weight setups for traveling solo and traveling with someone else on board.
Old 10-20-2020, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoo wacker View Post
Can you add one more category???? HST etiquette....

If you see boats bait fishing on a certain spot please do not go blowing through there at 18 kts.... just plain rude....
Are you talking anchored and bait fishing or trolling baits..... if the later then why should bait fisherman get special privileges?
Old 10-20-2020, 06:37 PM
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Great post. I will add a few thoughts because I HST ALOT in South Florida and the Bahamas.

I run 5 lines from the rod tips in a 27 ft single diesel cc. The boat matters. I out fish outboard boats 2:1. I burn virtually no fuel, Clean wake, constant speed and I plane off at 10 knts. That said, I usually carry roughly the same amount of fuel for weight distribution reasons. I have rear saddle tanks and if the boat has more fuel than normal I will add a 55 gallon drum to the bow and fill it with water because I like a certain boat angle.

I actually disagree on the lures staying in the water. This is true for my 4 lines closest to the boat, but I run my furthest lure without a weight because I like to see it skip every minute or so. I get a lot of fish on the furthest lure that skips.

Tight turns are important. It allows the lures to sink and then rise out of the turn on the ledge. Mark your lines with floss so your distances are correctó no tangles.

I keep track of all of my fish and bites with ~ 15 data points so I can see patterns. Some of the obvious patterns show. However, if you only fish outgoing tide on a full moon with a falling barometer etc then itís a self fulfilling prophecy.

moral of the storyó you canít catch fish from home. The more time the lures are in the water the more fish you will catch HST. Itís that simple.

the original question was how fast. I agree it depends on boat, sea state, where you are, the time of year and the goal. However, there is no such thing as too fast.

Last edited by laythewood; 10-20-2020 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:42 PM
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This thread also needs a few pictures.






Old 10-20-2020, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by laythewood View Post
Great post. I will add a few thoughts because I HST ALOT in South Florida and the Bahamas.

I run 5 lines from the rod tips in a 27 ft single diesel cc. The boat matters. I out fish outboard boats 2:1. I burn virtually no fuel, Clean wake, constant speed and I plane off at 10 knts. That said, I usually carry roughly the same amount of fuel for weight distribution reasons. I have rear saddle tanks and if the boat has more fuel than normal I will add a 55 gallon drum to the bow and fill it with water because I like a certain boat angle.

I actually disagree on the lures staying in the water. This is true for my 4 lines closest to the boat, but I run my furthest lure without a weight because I like to see it skip every minute or so. I get a lot of fish on the furthest lure that skips.

Tight turns are important. It allows the lures to sink and then rise out of the turn on the ledge. Mark your lines with floss so your distances are correctó no tangles.

I keep track of all of my fish and bites with ~ 15 data points so I can see patterns. Some of the obvious patterns show. However, if you only fish outgoing tide on a full moon with a falling barometer etc then itís a self fulfilling prophecy.

moral of the storyó you canít catch fish from home. The more time the lures are in the water the more fish you will catch HST. Itís that simple.

the original question was how fast. I agree it depends on boat, sea state, where you are, the time of year and the goal. However, there is no such thing as too fast.
Thank you for the positive feedback. Also nice decks full of meat. Thatís what itís all about!

My post was tailored towards those thinking about HST, just starting out or struggling to find the groove. I appreciate your input and we really disagree on nothing.

I also keep records on every trip. Good notes lead to good decisions!

I stand by ďgo as fast as you can while maintaining good lure presentationĒ.
Old 10-20-2020, 07:40 PM
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Pictures are always good.
Old 10-20-2020, 11:52 PM
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Thank you for the thread. Good info.

When youre starting, do you try to hop on plane and slowing back down to a speed? I find that if I can't stay on plane at 18-19 knots it just becomes too difficult to stop surging and falling on and off plane.

When you pull one of your weignited head lures, how much do you adjust your trolling weight by? Based on spread location do you prefer or not prefer certain lures? Your pick has a yozuri or similar. Where in the spread do you run that.

75,150,225,300,shotgun?

Thx, its about that time.
Old 10-21-2020, 02:22 AM
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Jasongator, Thank you for the positive feedback. I did the “beginner’s guide, thanks to Laythewood for stepping in with the advanced course! Hoping others will join in as well 🙂.

Every boat is different. On my current sled I’m running leveled out, but just below plane. If I get on plane I get a four knot surge in speed immediately. The combination of a hydrofoil to lift the stern and weight transfer forward allows me to get leveled out below plane. Driving “uphill” sucks, and burns a lot of fuel.

I’m serious about working on your speed before you even put a lure in the water. It may seem like needless leg work but knowing your working speed may have implications on what lures you can pull well.

Yes on different lures in different positions. I’m one of the few who uses outriggers for this so I pull smaller lures on the riggers. Almost all of my lures are heavy lead or chromed brass so I don’t change weights much. More based on sea state than anything.

Yozuri Bonita is good lure for me but my water is often too chunky to pull it well. On calm water days I pull it in the short position only. They do not track the corners like the other lures so it has to be on the short leash. A 64 oz. sinker holds it down pretty well but I had no luck with trolling bar sinkers on that lure.

Drop lengths are a whole different discussion. To be brief run your short 75-100’ back, and every lure after that two shock leader lengths beyond the one in front. That’s a starting point.
Old 10-21-2020, 04:37 AM
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Do you have twins? What hydrofoil do you use, permatrim?

Never considered that!
Old 10-21-2020, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Jasongator View Post
Thank you for the thread. Good info.

When youre starting, do you try to hop on plane and slowing back down to a speed? I find that if I can't stay on plane at 18-19 knots it just becomes too difficult to stop surging and falling on and off plane.

When you pull one of your weignited head lures, how much do you adjust your trolling weight by? Based on spread location do you prefer or not prefer certain lures? Your pick has a yozuri or similar. Where in the spread do you run that.

75,150,225,300,shotgun?

Thx, its about that time.
I run 75, 150, 250, 350 and 600 (I run the shotgun further back because I donít use a lead and like it to skip). I only run the yo zuri Bonita in the short 75 position behind a 64 oz lead. I run 30 ft shock chords. Light leads as you go back, 64 oz, 48 oz, 32 oz, 16 oz and lure with no lead.
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Old 10-21-2020, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by laythewood View Post
I run 75, 150, 250, 350 and 600 (I run the shotgun further back because I don’t use a lead and like it to skip). I only run the yo zuri Bonita in the short 75 position behind a 64 oz lead. I run 30 ft shock chords. Light leads as you go back, 64 oz, 48 oz, 32 oz, 16 oz and lure with no lead.
Nice, I do something similar except use a weight on my shotgun, 16oz. Im still working through it all and learning. This is a fun one.

One thing that always gets talked about is what to do on a strike..

I keep speed for the length of the run + 10 seconds about, then I back down to about 10. Ive lost a fish (and everything else) on my shotgun when I kept the speed up too long and the drag couldnt stop the fish and the boat at 18mph.

Interested to hear how you guys approach and then what causes you to alter your standard practice.

Ill toss a pic in for some fun



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