Big Game Trolling Secrets #3: The Parallel Trolling Spread

Ok, I am going to debunk the notion put forth by the “Legends” regarding the necessity of a mixed trolling spread. Why?  Because marlin don’t “shop” the spread, especially blue and black marlin! They either attack what is in their sight or leave it alone. It is very uncommon for a blue or black marlin to look at a short position lure, turn away and opt for a rigger or shotgun lure. This happens at somewhat greater frequency with Striped Marlin, tunas, mahi and wahoo. But the big girls don’t dance, they pounce. This is a rule of thumb for all predatory fish species – the largest specimens of their kind eat with less frequency, but when they do take there is no question about it. 

So what does this have to do with the blog title?  Most game fish only really see one side of the spread (prop wash) even if looking up and will move towards the lure with color and action that best simulates recent bait activity. So it is likely a marlin will never know what is on the other side of the prop wash. If you have some hot producing lure shapes and colors recently producing I suggest running them in duplicate, one on each side of your trolling spread in matched positions. For example in a 5 lure spread you might have Lure A on both sides short, Lure B on both riggers, and Lure C on shotgun. That is 3 different head shapes and colors, not 5. If you are unsure about the hot color(s) then run the same heads in different bait color variations to optimize the trolling spread. If you are in research and discovery mode trying to determine what the fish want then it is time for a mixed trolling spread of different lure shapes, sizes and colors. Or, if you are running a charter and the clients just want variety then your trolling spread will have variety.

However, for tournament fishing where trolling big game lures is called for, the parallel trolling spread can be the way to go. This requires some prior research on what colors and lure shapes have produced in that bite over the years.

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