Offshore Trolling Tactics for Bay Boats

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Losing sight of landmarks and shoreline is the loose definition for entering offshore waters. The blue water is also the transition zone for what separates the men from the boys in boats.

Center consoles from 27 feet and up and powered by trips and quads are desired for power, safety and subtracting travel time to keep lines wetter, longer.

That’s all good news if you have the money and time to invest in a mega-offshore boat. What about the majority of anglers whose rigs and budget fall at or below the 27-foot length of boat ownership?

In the blue zone, the most productive technique by far is trolling. That slow-moving tactic demands a boat capable of steering the course in rolling, swelling waves. Yet it can be done successfully from a bay boat. All it takes is a basic understanding of how offshore trolling works.

Believe it or not, trolling in the wide-open spaces attracts pelagics to your boat, and here’s why.

Sound travels five times faster underwater, and predatory species are alarmed when something out of the ordinary invades their space. That something is your boat, which emits various sounds from the engine noise, prop wash, and boat splash. Stimulating the predator instinct of the fish is the benefit.

The fish hone in to investigate, and when they do, oftentimes baitfish (and your lures) is there, too. The boat noises stimulate the auditory senses, and seeing the boat provides the visual stimulus for the game fish. In a wide-open sea, the shade created by your boat provides refuge for the baitfish. The perfect storm for a feeding frenzy is there.

Fine-tuning your wake is a key to the equation of how a boat is moving at trolling speed actually attracts fish. Think of your boat as a self-powered teaser that produces a constant flow of disturbed water that attracts both bait and predators.

Throttle up and the whitewater gives the wild bait a wider hiding zone. On the flip side, the pelagics will not see your bait rig in the wake. The ideal small-boat wake produces a jet stream of deep exhaust bubbles from the prop wash, plus another stream of surface bubbles from the outside edges of the hull. That’s the chine wash.

With that scenario, you get the advantage of two clean-water bait channels from the chine wash and the outboard. One stream attracts bait and the other allows lures to be clearly seen dancing in the wake.

Make it happen by tweaking the trim on the outboard and trim tabs. Raising the trim creates more whitewater in your boat wake. Lowering the trim produces less wake. Striking the right balance is the key.

The Sea Chaser 26 LX by Carolina Skiff has the right combination of size and horsepower rating for making the runs into offshore waters. Length overall is 25’ 11 with a beam of 103.” Weight is 3,432 pounds with a transom size of 25 inches. The boat is rated for a maximum 350 horsepower. This boat is ideal for bays, rivers, lakes and even venturing offshore.

Simply put, the 26 LX is a jack-of-all-trades that meets the needs of fishermen with families who like to fish and play.

The 26 LX is loaded with a long list of standard features. Some of those are twin forward locking rod storage boxes, locking fiberglass hatches, gunwale rod storage with combing boards, storage locker with 5-gallon cast net bucket and lots of LED lighting.

Spacious raised decks offer plenty of space for fishing at bow and stern. Up front is a pair of tackle trays to keep essentials organized, and twin latches at the port and starboard open to storage compartments. There’s a 25-gallon live well that keeps bait within easy reach.

At the helm is a leaning post with bench-style seat, complete with backrest, fold-down footrest, four-rod rocket launcher and a sizeable cooler and storage netting. Add an optional T-top for shade and to mount electronics and more rods.

The 26 LX is designed with a step hull to ensure unrivaled tracking, turning, fuel efficiency and acceleration. Constructed of 100% composite materials, you get peace of mind knowing this boat carries the legacy of the best-built boat available in the class.

Ready to build and customize a 26 LX? Get started using the online Build A Boat tool. At carolinaskiff.com you can contact Carolina Skiff and request a catalog. Join the community of Carolina Skiff followers at the Carolina Skiff Facebook Page.