If you’re looking for the shortest, simplest, and easiest way to start fishing, live lining is the way to go. It’s also a great way to teach someone else how to fish. All you have to do is find a boat or pier, put a live bait on your hook, and let it drop into the water. You can also very successfully combine live bait with trolling.
Live lining is great for beginner anglers or for teaching kids to fish because the set up for is very simple, and it is easy to rig on a spincaster reel. This is the classic “worm on a hook” method of fishing. Live lining also uses a bobber to keep the hook suspended at the desired depth. Plus, the bobber gets pulled underwater when a fish bites, giving you a visual indicator of the strike.
Live lining is also very effective when used in flowing water such as a river or stream. Anchor your boat mid current, and let your baited hook sink to be just off the bottom. Your hook will drift with the current over rocks and holes and sheltered areas where the fish may be hiding. Remember to adjust the caliber of your fishing hooks and equipment based on what species of fish you’re trying to land.
Trolling is usually done by moving a boat with a small electric motor through the water. By going slowly, you reduce the noise produced by the boat and the motor and keep from scaring the fish. Decide beforehand what type of fish you want to target and find out what depth they tend to hang out in, and adjust your speed accordingly. The slower you go, the deeper your lure will settle in the water.
You can use live bait when you troll, which is called live trolling or shallow trolling. With live trolling, you can let the bait sink down in the water or you can keep it up on the surface—both can be very successful. But as always it is important to know which technique and what kind of bait is best to mimic the prey of the your preferred gamefish.
The best rigs for trolling are a bait caster or a spinning reel. Motorized trolling is not allowed in some states and bodies of water, so make sure to check in with local regulations before you head out. You can also troll by walking from a pier, bridge, or shoreline.