By Jim Sammons
A lot of my kayak fishing offshore involves trolling. The more lines you can put in the water, the better your chance of a hookup. While the potential of a hookup goes up, the chance of a tangle goes up as well. Here are a couple of kayak trolling methods to help you keep those tangled lines to a minimum.
Though I have trolled as many as three lines, I generally keep it to two; a triple hookup, though entertaining, will more than likely lead to macramé and lost fish.
Most of us that troll two lines run one line deep and the other shallow or one line close and the other farther back.
The method I used for years for fishing one close and one back was to use an AFTCO Flatline clip attached to my rod holder. The distant bait would go straight from the rodtip, hitting the water about 20 to 30 feet behind my kayak. On the other rod, the line would go from the rodtip down to the flatline clip, then out; this allows the line to hit the water maybe 10 feet behind my kayak. This method worked great, but does have some issues if you are using a rudder. The line is so low that it often tangles in the rudder, which is never fun.
The option of running one line deep and the other shallow is fairly simple; simply add a sliding egg sinker above a swivel on one of the lines. You must still be aware of the distance you are letting out your lines to avoid them being too close together.
The solution I have been using for the past year has really worked better for me than any other and allows for one line high, one low, or both at the same depth, and keeps your lines well separated and really is the best solution if you are going to attempt trolling three lines. This technique is to use planer boards to pull your lines well to the side of your kayak. I normally use a planer board on one line, pulling the bait well to the side of the kayak; the other line just goes straight back behind my boat. Planer boards are designed to be either left or right pulling, so be aware of which side you have.
If using planer boards, I find it is best to deploy the line with the planer board first. Setting the planer board line is pretty simple: Just let out the amount of line you want the bait back or deep. I usually go about 30 feet, then clip on the planer via the two attachment points. The forward attachment is a quick release clip, which pops off when a fish hits the bait. The rear attachment is a snap swivel which allows the planer to just slide down your line, thus not affecting the fight of the fish. You can add a sliding egg sinker to the mix if you want more depth. The planer boards work equally well for live bait or lures.
It takes a bit of practice to get used to dealing with the planers, but I think you will find it to be a great way to troll multiple lines with less tangles.