Back to Basics - Trotting

This month I hope you are all well and lock down isn’t driving you too mad! In this article I thought we would take a look at or go over for some of you that already know a tactic that isn’t often utilised for the sea but can be killer! And is more than likely something that you probably don’t have as a set up in your arsenal... Trotting! So trotting a float can be fantastic for the spring bass or summer time species and I find mullet where I am take this method yet ignore a lot/all other types of baiting I’ve used even getting them into feeding then flicking out a baited hook etc. Whether you fish from the boat or from the shore like I said this technique can be killer! Lots of the time some good fishing marks often get over looked by anglers due to the fact they are shallow water marks yet bass, flat fish, rays and many other species happily come in close or forage for food in shallows especially during the neap tides as I find they hold the food in the area which in turn keeps the fish in the area more and wit the sun out hold a good steady temperature along with retaining heat in the sand which rays and flat fish particularly like.

So we’re going to look at trotting a float in the shallower waters which I’ve used to good effect in the Bristol Channel and trotting can provide you with some great sport on lighter gear! Ok so what is trotting, trotting is when you flick out a baited line with a float and have weights down your line at set intervals much like the star link satellites you can see at night, you let off line and let it travel along where you want and when you stop giving line out and hold the line occasionally it basically flutters the bait on the bottom and for any predatory species this can not be resisted the fluttering motion causes instinctive behaviour and makes the fish naturally strike and then its fish on! You can use any type of float although generally in course fishing it would be with a stick float but with sea fishing you want a heavier float but can still get away with using course gear if it’s flat and calm enough conditions. I tend to use a large crystal float normally for pike or zander and then starting with AA shots and then gradually lighten the shot towards the bottom leaving at least 4-6 inches clear from the hook, when all set up in the end you have a line that is looking a bit like a row of shirt buttons.

Using a hook size to match your bait and intended quarry I normally use anywhere between a size 6 to a 1/0 and ragworm up over the hook with the point coming out ¾ of the way down leaving a nice wriggly tail movement, again depending on the fish I’m trying for and whip the head onto a stopper or a bit around the hook shank equally this will work well with a lot of baits but I find the best are those you can flutter well when the line is stopped so strips of squid, worms, etc although an old boy Burt that I learnt a lot from God rest his soul had great success with flies he made himself and trotting them he was a bass machine! So using trotting is as simple or as hard as you want to make it, once you are set up look at your target species and the area you are fishing if you know the depth then set your float accordingly if not get a weight on and plumb the depth and set it so you can just have your bait on the bottom. So you’re all set up now and ready to go with the bait on. It’s back to watercraft and fishy knowledge if you like mullet you’re not going to find them in fast moving water they like the calmer waters but bass on the other hand love a fast moving stretch of water. SHORE: For calmer waters it’s easier you flick your line out and let the tide gently take it out with you stopping the line every few feet I find and see if you get any takes , if you get none pull it back in check your bait and try another position further left or right or further out etc. For faster waters I find if you’re fishing these chances are it’s a predatory fish so knowing their game helps you a lot... What is their game? Well they want to hunt and nine times out of ten they will hunt with expending as little energy as possible so sit in the calmer areas of say outlets and wait for the food to be brought to them from where they then ambush it and strike and then either sit back in the calm or swim off content. So the areas you want to be looking for on fast moving water is the swirling eddies around an object or that line of water between fast and calm which is normally the calm water behind an object which breaks the flow sometimes it can be something underneath the water or simply the depth etc or a corner. Aim to trot your float along these areas this is where they sit swimming in the calmer water ready to strike at incoming food give it a good few flutters along here, another area can be shaded areas as fish will hide in the darker waters and then strike on the sun/shade line running along the water. BOAT: From the boat this is a lot easier as you will likely be fishing a shallow bank or feature set your hook length to the depth so it’s at the bottom and then flick it out baited up and pay off line then stop it how often you like so it flutters the bait, just trot it over the features or up and over a sand bank. What gear do we use?

From the shore: Technically you can use any gear but I like to use lighter gear one so I can move around easily or stalk fish at times and two I like good sport. Currently I use a Savage gear bushwhacker XLNT2 20-60g which is great it gives good game/ sport and can haul large fish too, it’s a very versatile rod. For the reel I use a small fixed spool reel size 4000 Okuma Trio SRS loaded with 8lb mono as I tend to fish over some obstacles at times it’s a bit more forgiving than the braided lines should it rub or snag up. The floats etc are up to you depending on where I’m fishing i may use a small AA crystal for calm harbour work yet for ope or rougher water I would use up to a Pike/Zander crystal float that is 40g. Take along appropriate shot i just take my course fishing wheel of mixed shot you can buy in most angling centres and is inexpensive. From the boat: I would use the same more than likely but some may choose to use a 6-12lb boat rod or a 12-20lb if for larger fish, a 4000 -5000 reel is good or alternatively use a multiplier.

Floats again are a personal choice i would most likely use the 40g crystal floatas on the open ocean and shots again I would use just smaller course shotting on the pattern

So that’s all for this month stay safe and may we all be out soon and getting some tight lines and sun on our faces!

ALSO one last thing PLEASE don’t forget your local tackle shops will need your custom after this massive unforeseen set back it will put many on the brink, so support your local guys or you may lose them!

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