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Old 04-13-2021, 09:36 AM   #6
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Default Live smelt trolling

Originally Posted by swnoel View Post
If you don't mind me asking... how do you hook up the live bait to troll?

Run a very small # 6 or 8 hook across the smelt's upper lip only..entering either the left or right side and exiting on the opposite side, this allows the smelt to open its mouth and breathe. But some run the hook up through the lower lip and exit through the upper lip.
When drifting or trolling the smelt, it is important to tie a very small swivel to your main line, and, then tie a 6-8' piece of 4 lb fluorocarbon from that swivel to your hook. this allows the smelt to swim straight and true. Sometimes, when the wind is stiff, you might want to add a very small split-shot at the swivel. Let the live bait out carefully, do not cast. Let it out a good 40-50 yds.
Add an elastic band around your rod handle just forward of the reel bail, and slide your line under the elastic band in a loop. Make sure your reel bail is open while drifting or trolling....That way when the fish grabs the smelt, it will pull the line out from under the elastic, easily, and the fish will be off and free running till you can get to your rod, close the bail, and set the hook. Make sure your drag is set to about 3 lbs. Also, if you prefer to troll rather than drift...trolling speeds of 1 to 2 mph is faster.
Be very careful when putting the hook it as quickly as possible, and do not make the holes any bigger than necessary. If you aren't careful, the smelt can swim right off the hook with its erratic movements. Check the baits every 20 minutes or so, reel them in slowly, so as not to make the hooks make bigger holes in their lips.

Last edited by WINNI BOB; 04-13-2021 at 10:06 AM. Reason: a couple of add comments
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