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Need suggestions for trolling for grouper/snapper in 130 ft.


Need suggestions for trolling for grouper/snapper in 130 ft.

Old 02-02-2011, 06:06 PM
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Default Need suggestions for trolling for grouper/snapper in 130 ft.

I love bottom fishing for grouper/snapper off of FL's West Coast. I usually fish in 100 to 140 ft and am always searching for new spots. I'm really interested in finding those very productive grouper holes which aren't very evident on a bottom machine.

To help find these spots I thought about trolling a 6 oz jig/curly-tail near the bottom.

So, I purchased a Z Wing to use on a handline and after spending a considerable amount of time and money on the Z wing and rigging, quickly found it will not reach my target depth.. Big waste of money!

My question is can I use a downrigger to target these depths or am I asking too much?

Any other suggestions?
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:06 PM
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When we visited Lake Tahoe a few years back I was sitting in a bar (imagine that) next to a charter fisherman and was able to talk fishing for a couple of beers.

They deep water troll for Mackinaw trout using a heavy downrigger weight with large lipped diving plugs. They used a slow troll which I would suggest since this will keep your weight and lure closer to the bottom.

If you have a decent bottom machine you should be able to easily pick up the downrigger weight and adjust the depth accordingly. Grouper will come off the bottom to strike at a passing bait so you won't need to be right on the bottom, where you will risk a snag.

I bet this will be an effective way to cover some ground and find some new spots that don't easily show on the FF.

When trolling with the downrigger I use metal shower curtain rings and #64 rubberbands instead of the release clip.

Attach a #64 rubber (2 if you are using a heavy plug) by using a half hitch knot over the larger end of the curtain ring. Like this:

Deploy your downrigger ball by itself (no fishing line line attached) when you have reached the desired depth, deploy your trolling plug out to the distance you want to troll behind the downrigger ball.

Now attach the ''shower ring rig'', by the other end of the rubber band, to the fishing line using a half hitch knot.

Now clip the shower ring to the downrigger cable and make sure it is clipped shut.

Open the drag on your reel and release the trolling plug. It will drag the clip down the the rigger cable until it gets to the ball. This will take a bit of trial and error to figure out when it reaches the bottom.

When you feel the shower ring rig has reached the DR ball wind the ''belly'' out of the line until it is parallel with the downrigger cable. You are now fishing!

When the fish strikes the rubber band will snap and the line will relase from the DR cable.

Reel the fish up without having to retrieve the DR ball. When you are ready to reset the trolling rig simply attach another ''shower ring rig'' and let her down to the bottom.

This rig works great when trolling through weedlines. It allows you to reel up the trolling rig and clear the weed from the line without having to retreive the DR ball everytime.

Make up a dozen or so of the shower rings and you can fish all day without having to constantly be retrieving the DR ball.

Last edited by signmansez; 02-02-2011 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:30 AM
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that's a good idea. i've use this technique for planers, but never for the downrigger. will have to give that a shot b/c reeling that ball up and down all day is a pain.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:19 PM
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I've caught them in 70-80ft using stretch 30's and braid. I bet you could get a Stretch 50 deep enough with 50# or less braid. Tie short, maybe 4ft, piece of 60lbs mono directly to the braid and use a loop knot to tie the mono to the stretch 50.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:59 PM
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I have moved to a 2 bait 4 hook stinger rig with a pair of large - hand sized - pin fish lip and tail hooked running head to toe. Much better grocery shopping. With two down-riggers I can put four live baits right down where I can cover allot of hard bottom for reds or run a ledge for gags. The two bait rig is a hassle but a great strike trigger.

Live bait'n = Less wait'n
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:13 PM
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Do you use this system to scout new spots or fish known ledges? Also, how fast are you trolling and how deep do you run your baits?

Pretty cool, never thought about trolling live pinfish.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:53 PM
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I have a 1000 watt transducer that finds new spots while i am heading to known spots. I mainly use the stinger rigs on known ledges running over live bottom between 45 and 70'.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:18 AM
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I run downriggers at 130 feet while salmon trolling up to about 2.5 knots they will work fine. if the groupers will hit a stretch then you should be able to troll a large rapala or a bomber long-a on the rigger and do well.

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Old 02-06-2011, 08:56 AM
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run your z-wing from your downriggers
8-10 OZ Bubba Jig with an 8" curly tail
Also Rapala Magnums or similar
You troll deeper with braid, makes a big difference
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by benjid View Post
Any other suggestions?
If you want to get serious about it, Monel wire trolling line is another option.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:47 PM
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I second trolling the large planer off the downrigger. Use 300# braid on the downrigger. The shower curtain ring is a good idea or double swivels. Run your lure 100' to 150' back and then let it down on the down rigger.
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