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Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

Old 04-24-2006, 08:11 AM
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Default Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

I caught perhaps 15-20 YFT last year in my first full season trolling various 4.5" jetheads. I want to hone my skills though to do better so I pose the following questions.

1. I fish 4 lines (2 outrigger and two flat) from a 17' Whaler so naturally, I get pushed around quite a bit in the seas. I only get my speed reading via the chartplotter and since the speed reading from a GPS is merely an "average" vice actual speed, my speed is not precise. I realize that if my GPS says I am going 8 knots, I might actually be going anywhere between perhaps 5-10 knots at any given time. If we can agree the ideal trolling speed for YFT is 6 knots, should I just make the boat speed (via the GPS) 6 knots or should I aim for a lower speed (again since GPS is not a precise speed)??

2. Let's say we are fishing a mixed spread for Marlin and YFT and are chugging along at 6 knots. I am running two correct (matching the hatch) daisy chains from the outriggers, a Yozuri Bonita from the longer flat and a nice Marlin rig up in the wash on the short flat. I see a huge bird pile perhaps 100 yards ahead and want to get there before they sound. What is the right thing to do? If I barrel ahead to catch them, I will foul my Marlin lure and Bonita but I will get there....if I continue to chug along at constant speed, I will ikely miss them and they may sound before I get there......what should you do in this situation?

3. When selecting the correct chase bait to rig on the end of my daisy chains, I understand the "chaser" should look a bit different so as to stand out and also to mimmick a straggler. If I am running Fish Magician's 4.5" green/black squid chains, is using Zuker medium feathers (in green and white) as chase baits fine or would this be an inappropriate combination?......I just ordered the two Fish Magician chains but have loads of other good tuna lures to use as chasers.....just trying to figure out which would be best.

Thanks a million!
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Old 04-24-2006, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

I'm nowhere near being an expert on YFT and I fish more lines. But given your setup, I'd probably run the marlin lure as a chaser on one outrigger and the yozuri on the other. I'd put two cedar plugs on the flatlines and run everything very long. Keeping them long will allow you to gun after those busting tuna and swing your lures around right into them without even getting that close. I don't even bother with feathers because our YFT's absolutely love cedar plugs and yozuris. I'd keep one marlin lure there because the cow YFT's love them. Various combinations of that pattern (with more lines) work for me. On saturday, running six lines, we got YFT on the two cedar plugs, the yozuri and the biggest YFT was on a Moldcraft Tsunami Chugger running behind a squid daisychain. I hope this helps.
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Old 04-24-2006, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

1;speed is dependent on the hull if you have a good wake at x speed then run x speed your looking for clean lanes to present the lure to the fish
2; run at the same pace the change in pitch from the engine will spook them faster than you think also head at an angle to be in front of the school If you can get the sun behind you even better
3Chase baits same color next size up put a sponge in the chase bait soak it in a scent/chum whatever and I prefer to double the lenght (for me exactly) between the last bait and the stinger I have them with different colors different baits all together but they do no better then the next size up If you use the sponge technique it is even better as it gives something they are looking for for confirmation imho
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Old 04-24-2006, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

Your worrying to much about the speed, schools of bait fish don't swim at the same speed, they cruise, dart and dash in hopes on not being someone else's snack.

If you got a little distance between the marlin jig and the Bonita, they'll pass each other without tangling. Keep a swell or two between them. If you really think you need that much speed, keep the Bonita, on he deck that's the most critical to speed, to fast and you put a lot pressure on your outfit...stay cool...

Your chase bait can very in number of ways, Size, color, shape, or a combination of those three. Don't over due it, but make SOME CHANGE in the case bait..it still could be the same color if it's fatter, shorter, or longer, or a different color or a combination them.

Best of Luck to ya, any further questions you PM, or email me...
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

Remember that it is speed thru the water that matters, not speed over the ground as GPS gives you. Depending on the current, SOG could be anywhere from 0 to 12 kts for a 6 kt trolling speed.
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Old 04-25-2006, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

PeterA - 4/25/2006 1:53 PM Remember that it is speed thru the water that matters, not speed over the ground as GPS gives you. Depending on the current, SOG could be anywhere from 0 to 12 kts for a 6 kt trolling speed.
All that is a bit nitpicky in my opinion. What's most relevant is having your lures swimming the way they were designed to or the way you like them to.
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

Pull at least 2 bars.
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Old 04-25-2006, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

Thanks for the recommendations guys. I am going out this weekend and will try a few of these ideas.
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Old 04-29-2006, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

- The best speed is normally the one that is the best sea speed for your boat in the conditions. Smaller boats will always have an element of speed fluctuation, don't worry too much about it. You can minimize speed fluctuations somewhat by tacking into and down sea rather than taking the seas head on or directly astern. But you will still find that you speed up sometimes and slow down other times. As long as your lures are fishing effectively you should be OK.

- On such a small boat I would probably run not more than five rods unless I was fishing with experienced hands on deck. For tuna I would fish the daisy chains or plugs on the 3rd wave and jets from the outriggers on the 5th wave. The daisy chains and plugs will be rubber banded down so the line angle enters the water at a shallower angle. They normally fish better this way than directly off the rod tip. If conditions are calm enough, run a fifth rod from the rocket launcher down the middle. I like either another jet or a smaller feather or bullet lure behind a bird. 5th wave is not a bad place to start and working back from there but I will avoid getting line dragging on the surface in front of the lure. The ideal is to have as little line in the water ahead of the lure as possible. If blue marlin are in the area I'll go to a staggered pattern on either the 3rd to 6th waves or if the outriggers don't give sufficient spread to run lures further back, run the lures on the 2nd and 3rd waves on the flatlines and the riggers on the 4th and 5th waves with the bridge rod on the 7th. The largest marlin lures will go on the short flat line and long flat line, a smaller lure between 8-9 inches on the short outrigger (ideally a heavier resin lure) and tuna lures on the long outrigger and stinger. Be careful because blues often do snap up a smaller lure.

- If you see birds and need to catch up, get your deckhand to wind in your short lines as you go for them. Sometimes you only need to wind in one short line. If you are targeting tuna around birds, boat and lure position and the distance the lures are from the boat is often more important than the number of lines you troll. You may want to fish only 2 lures, both from the riggers, and concentrate on getting the right position. Make sure the lures pass in front of the bird pile rather than through the middle or behind the pile and don't break up all that action with your boat. If they are particularly spooky you may need to troll quite far back in order to get bites. Another thing you can do as you are working the school is to jig the rods ... its best to run the rods as flat lines and get your anglers to pick up the rods and pump the lures to give them a different action. Finally, if you still cant get bites, go smaller in lure size and leader size. You may be surprised how 5 3/4" to 4 3/4" clear pink or clear octopus skirts with a small lead bullet, or small kenken feathers on straight 30 lb or 40 lb line.. no swivel or leader just pass the reel line straight through the lure and tie direct to the hook... can open lockjaw on finicky YFT and skipjack.

- Daisy chains I normally just use hollow squid as the hook bait, but weigh it down with about 2-3 oz of lead so that it doesn't get pushed aside by a big fish on the strike. You can run almost whatever you like here though.

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Old 04-29-2006, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

Good advice from Patudo, John.

I will try to add a couple more options.

I will generally run a large splashing marlin lure with hooks down the middle to draw attention to itself and to the smaller feathers and lures on either side.

If the tuna are busting on the surface, keying on flying fish or other surface feed and slow to hit the trolling gear, try driftin or running to one side of the school casting one of these to them, reeling it very fast so it skips on the surface, and hang on.

http://www.robertslures.com/surface

Blue and white at 3 oz works best here on yfts.
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Old 04-29-2006, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

That link doesn't work Bull.
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Old 04-29-2006, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

Sorry, hope this other one works.

http://www.robertslures.com/product.asp
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Old 04-30-2006, 08:40 AM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

As always, top-quality feedback from Patudo and Jeff - thanks very much guys!

Just to be clear on my personal "style", I'm not too big on having tons of lines in the water. Since I fish from a small cc and normally only with one partner, four lines (max) is all we'll do. In my opinion, two guys in a small boat can't really effectivey fish more than that when factoring line clearing, navigation, etc. We run two flats in tight and two off outriggers way back.
When we get a double Tuna hookup, the boat slows to around 4 knots and one fish is fought while the other guy clears the flats really quick. We rarely lose that second fish as long as one of us clears the flats quick and the boat keeps going at a descent clip. I shudder to think what we'd do trying to manage 6-7 lines on my rig. Lots of times when working big bird piles, we'll just run two tuna lures off the outriggers and have ONE additional large Marlin lure (just in case) running off the short flat and it is in really close. Your advice about how to run relative to the bid pile is really great as I think that is where I am screwing up at times. Again, thanks for the advice, I know it will go a long way toward coaxing in those SHY Yellowfins.
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Old 04-30-2006, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

John,
I do the same thing in my 20.

But remember about the rangers as they really work when the yfts are shy, even though they look like they won't. They got over 20 strikes on one rod in an hour, when all the other boats that were trolling and using live bait got nothin. Casting yozuri and frenzy poppers on other rods on our boat brought only 1 strike in the same time period, so as you can see, I am really sold on these, especially on larger fish.

I too have trolled around huge schools many a time only getting 1-2 fish, throwing everything in my tackle box at em for hours, so I know what you mean by shy yfts.15-30 lb schoolies will bite anything, but the 80-120 pounders are a lot smarter.
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Old 04-30-2006, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

Good point, sometimes casting works better than trolling for finicky tuna. It must be the lack of boat disturbance but if you are having difficulty getting the bite or the fish are really spooky, casting is definitely worth a shot.

Another thing, there's no need to go crazy on the size of your marlin lure, for the average size marlin in Guam, 10 inch lures are plenty. Odds are, even an 8 to 9" lure will get you marlin bites. Rig them with 200 to 300 lb mono leaders and medium size hooks between 9/0 and 10/0. Small marlin don't hook up well on the big 12 inch plus lures and big hooks. Smaller striped marlin and spearfish will hit your tuna lures.
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

The big marlin lure can be more easily seen in the motor turbulence than something smaller, and out here, big mahi, blues and sails have hit it well over the last 20 years.

I'm talking specifically about a 12" Sadu purple, 1" diameter big eye resin head scooped face that runs well at most speeds and distances.

And since evrything else I troll on top is real small, I like to have at least on big bait out there.
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Old 05-01-2006, 08:15 AM
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Default Re: Need YFT trolling advice from the experts

Marlin will find a 10" lure in back of your boat on the 3rd wave, or even the second. No law saying you can't run a big lure but for Guam fishing, I suggest something with 9 1/2" size skirts for better hook up rates. If you consistently can't get strikes then change. A smaller 12" may be worthwhile but I think I'd only run one if targeting blues. JMO
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