It’s hard enough managing a trolling spread behind a boat without tangling lines. You need to vary the placement of each line. It also helps to use different lures that track at different depths. Inevitably, on the open party boats that I ride on here in Southern California, you get some yahoo who isn’t looking at the spread in its entirety. They put on their lucky lure and place it where they think it’s going to get bit, and it stops the boat… not because it got bit, but because it’s gotten tangled up with another line.

Trolling lures behind a kayak present their own set of problems. Here’s how some of the top kayak anglers manage it.

diving-lure43The lures are dragging through the water, pulsing with each paddle stroke. Out of the corner of your eye, you see the rod tip dip and the rod shakes in the rodholder. Stop paddling and start reeling. Fish on!

Slowly trolling lures or baits can be a quick way to locate fish and identify what they are eating. But pulling several lines and paddling the kayak at the same time can quickly turn into a big mess without some careful planning.

Texas kayak angler Ty Southerland trolls around offshore oil rigs for king mackerel, cobia, tarpon and even sharks. He fishes two rods, dragging a strip of ribbonfish with one and pulling a Rat-L-Trap on the other. “The ribbonfish strip swims across the surface while the Rat-L-Trap dives down 10 feet.” Southerland adds that his kayak moves slowly and quietly, giving him an advantage over noisy boats.

His trolling setup is a stout, seven-and-a-half-foot All Pro bass rod, and Abu Garcia Ambassador 6000 reel spooled with 30-pound braid. Southerland says this combo is perfect because it’s light enough to cast lures and heavy enough to take a big hit on the troll. “I can’t take too many rods with me,” he explains, “so I have to get double duty out of one outfit.”

Photos: Kayak Angler (top), Sport Fishing (above)