John's Journal...

Trolling Successfully for Bass

Day 4: Selecting Your Trolling Speed and Belly Boating Ponds for Bass

Editor’s Note: If you’re a professional bass tournament angler, stop reading. The following killer bass-fishing method is not for you.

Selecting Speed:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewDuring the winter months, the metabolism of bass slows down, so the fish won’t chase baitfish as readily as in the spring and summer. For this reason, slow trolling either live baits or artificial lures often will produce more bass in the winter months than any-other method of bass fishing. In the spring and fall, when bass feed much more actively and are willing to chase baits, fast-trolled crankbaits such as Cotton Cordell’s Spot Lures or Bill Lewis’ Rat-L-Traps often will produce the most bass. By changing the speed at which you troll, you also can vary the segment of water through which lures pass. Early in the morning when the bass are shallow, fast troll, and use a long rod held straight up to keep lures such as a Rat-L-Trap in the shallow water where the bass are feeding. Later in the day slow troll. Not only reduce the speed of your trolling motor, but also lower the rod tip, keeping the rod parallel to the water. Consider using a smaller, stiffer rod, such as a 5-1/2-footer, to get line and lure down quicker to the deeper-water bass.

Belly Boating Ponds:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewAn often overlooked spot for catching big bass when trolling is farm ponds. These ponds usually have less fishing pressure, more-productive bass habitat and more food in them than rivers and reservoirs do. Because putting a boat in a farm pond may be difficult avid fisherman, Dr. Bob Sheppard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has developed a unique trolling strategy that pays big bass dividends for him – belly boating. Holding his 7-foot rod straight up, Sheppard uses his swim fins to power him and his tube around a farm pond. When a bass hits Sheppard’s bait – usually the biggest minnows he can find in the bait shop – Sheppard drops his rod tip, sets the hook and swims backwards furiously to ensure a solid hook set and to keep the slack out of his line. Sheppard catches good numbers of bass, some weighing more than 5 pounds, in the spring and summer by belly boat trolling. I particularly enjoy belly boating in my Bass Pro Shop Lost Lake Open Front Float Tube.

So remember, trolling is a deadly tactic, and can be employed at any time of the year on almost any body of water. It allows you to fish many segments of the water, while varying your strategies according to the wind, weather and water conditions. If you want to catch more bass, try trolling. The pros most certainly would – if they were allowed.

How to Bass Fish Like a ProHow to catch the Biggest and Most Bass in any LakeThese tactics are just a sample of what you’ll learn in the new Kindle eBooks, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” and “How to Catch the Biggest and Most Bass in Any Lake” by John E. Phillips. Go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Tomorrow: Trolling an Alabama Rig for Bassing Success

Check back each day this week for more about "Trolling Successfully for Bass"

Day 1: Trolling for Bass by Bottom Walking with Jack Wingate
Day 2: Trolling Points and Banks and Deep Trolling for Bass
Day 3: Trolling Humps, Vegetation and Tailraces for Bass
Day 4: Selecting Your Trolling Speed and Belly Boating Ponds for Bass
Day 5: Trolling an Alabama Rig for Bassing Success

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Content theft, either printed or electronic is a federal offense.


Entry 684, Day 4