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larger boats have one or two fighting chairs for use when an extremely large fish is hooked on one of the baits and/or lures being trolled behind the moving boat. And the tackle, besides being heavy, has some specific and necessary adaptations.

Unless you already own a boat large enough to make such offshore trips, you'll probably never need to purchase trolling tackle. Charter boats (which take small parties of anglers fishing for a half- or full-day trip, by reservation only) that make offshore trips already supply the rods and reels. But it's important to understand the type of tackle used for trolling and how it operates.

First, let's distinguish trolling tackle from tackle used for trolling. While the former is large and specifically designed for fish that can weigh from 50 to more than 1,000 pounds, the conventional outfits described in the previous sectionfor fishing in water from 20 to 80 feet deep, for fish weighing from the single digits up to 60 poundscan also be used to troll for those size fish in those depths. Sometimes you can use wire line, which sinks rapidly, to reach the fish. Other times you can employ a downrigger. This is a device that lowers a heavy weight, called a cannonball, on a cable into the water to a specific depth. The fishing line runs from the rod down through a release clip on the cable or the cannonball. A bait or lure is trolled behind the cannonball, and when a fish hits, the line pops free of the release, so you can fight the fish on a direct line. (Down-riggers are also used for freshwater fishing and are common on boats in the Great Lakes.) But both wire lining and downrigging are specialized, advanced fishing methods; besides, you have to buy a boat before you buy a downrigger. Let's at least become familiar with the tackle before you decide to sell the house, buy the Miss Take and become a charter-boat captain in Aruba.

Saltwater trolling reels weigh from 1 to 10 pounds or more, depending on their size. They're not designed for casting, and thus have no antibacklash devices, thumb-operated freespool releases, or other such features. Trolling reels are rugged, corrosion-resistant, and very expensive, starting at more than $100 and entering the $1,000 realm. Because they are often used to subdue tremendous fish, they have relatively low gear ratios; the fastest is only about 3.5 to 1. Many trolling reels feature clamps that securely bolt the reel to the rod. Some have lugs on the top of the housing that permit the reel to be harnessed to the angler.

Most trolling reels have a simple lever on the side plate that takes the reel in and out of freespool. The reel handle, or crank, is usually oversized, permitting you to put more muscle into the fight. Finally, trolling reels have, or should have, superb drag systems, as some fish can tear a couple hundred yards of line off the spool in a matter of seconds. It's usually a star-type drag, although some reels feature a two-stage drag system operated via a knob and a lever.

Fish Recipes

Fish Recipes

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