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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Trolling a fly  (Read 781 times)

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How does one rig up for trolling a fly on a fly rod? I have a 5wt el' chepo cabelas combo that I have barely ever used.  Has some floating line on it and a backing IIRC.  Can I add some split shots, or do I need to swap the floating line out for a sinking line?  If so, I think I read they come in different weights?  Then I need a leader/tippet as well?  Just looking to try something new for trolling for trout basically, something like a woolly bugger or whatever. 


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I troll flies fairly regularly although I don't do it with a fly rod.  I just use general trolling gear.

I've probably lost you already as it doesn't really pertain to what you're trying to do but I'll continue anyway.  I use a bead chain swivel to about 3-4 feet of leader.  3-4 feet probably isn't necessary but I wouldn't go less than 2 feet.  If I'm to add any weight, I do it above the swivel.  On the tag end of my leader I add a wiggle fin action disk followed by a bobber stop.  After the bobber stop I tie on a woolly bugger.  The purpose of the wiggle fin is to give the woolly some action.  The concave nature of it causes it to displace water and dance from side to side.  The bobber stop allows you to move the wiggle fin closer to the woolly bugger for tighter, more erratic action or if you move the bobber stop several inches away from the woolly bugger, it will have more wide sweeping action.

Also, I don't use the bobber stops made by wiggle fin.  I've heard terrible things about them.

This is a general idea although I don't follow it exactly.

Here is an example in the difference of where the wiggle fin is placed.

I know, completely unrelated to what you do.  Hopefully it will help somebody.  Lol.


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If I was gonna troll with a fly rod, I'd be worried that the large diameter fly line would just get pushed up to the surface with any speed.

I'd put a different reel on it.  The reel seat should hold a baitcaster.  Use a small diameter line to keep it fun, and then use whatever mechanism you would normally use to get it deep.

I used to swap out reel types all the time so I could carry fewer rods in the back-country.  My UL spinning rod was also my favorite small stream fly rod, until I got a proper 2wt.
Fish laugh when I paddle by.  Sometimes they laugh so hard they fall on my hook.


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. . . and then use whatever mechanism you would normally use to get it deep.

Seems like a downrigger would be ideal. In fact, I recall that there was some discussion of this a while back, but I can't remember the details...
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It depends on how far down the fish are and how fast you are trolling.
I've caught fish on both set-ups. Floating and a 20' sink tip.
If you are floating, you can vary the depth with a longer leader, heavier fly (weighted) and slower speed if you need to get a little deeper than the line will allow.

Just as with a sink tip, you can bring it up by shortening the leader and using an unweighted fly and trolling faster.

It all depends on what presentation the fish want.

One thing nice about interchangeable spools, you can have one floating and one sinking so you (for the most part) have all your bases covered.


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I don't know if this counts as trolling, but more than a few times I've had my fly hammered by fish as I just drifted very slowly along with my I-line dragging in 10-20fow with a nymph or bugger - while casting another rod.

Caught a couple of stripers on the SUP paddling slow, with about 40' of line out with T-14 and a clouser. Do't know how deep I was but fish didn't care.

Also, I've had luck with trout trolling a clear I-line with 6-8' of straight 6-8lb flouro leader and a wooly bugger. If you see fish rising just pull it up and cast to them - this was my Amador "technique"
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 04:09:22 PM by novofish »
AOTY 2011 - 9th
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AOTY 2013 - 6th
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