Italian tackle supplier Scorziello Sasa has invited consultant angler Manuel Carillo to explain the appeal of trolling with live bait and the reasons why he trusts the company’s specialist brands whenever he fishes.
Writes Manuel: I started trolling with live bait in 1988, together with my father, Alberto. There was no technology and we navigated with maps, which were jealously kept in the console drawer of the boat.
Over the last 30 years, technology has allowed us to arrive at a new approach to fishing. A first example would be the use of the underwater video camera, which has opened up a new world of study, approach and tests. In the first videos I made, I was amazed at being able to witness very singular hunting situations where snappers followed without attacking, for interminable minutes, a nice sized cephalopod, perfectly towed at the right speed and scrupulously baited with a thin leader.
In these situations, to have a greater chance of a strike it is better to change strategy and set up a pass with a more vertical approach such as bottom fishing or leeway with live bait.
Vertical fishing with live bait, in particular bottom fishing or drift fishing with live bait, can be carried out with at least three variations of rigs: a classic one involving trolling with live bait, and two more modern ones using Vertical Balls or Tai Rubber lures.
The ‘classic‘ leader line is derived from live trolling with two, at most three, hooks sunk using a guardian lead with its weight depending on the fishing depth and the current.
The leader of approximately three metres will have two hooks, a troller hook and a ‘Striker’ beck hook, for generous baits such as cephalopods (cuttlefish and squid) or alternatively a single hook for small bait fish such as horse mackerel or mackerel.
It will be made with excellent quality fluorocarbon such as Falcon Zero FC and with diameters from 0.60mm to higher depending on the depth of the spots, the baits used and the prey we are going to attack.
Upstream of the guardian lead we will use approximately six to seven metres of pre-leader line of 0.60mm Falcon HUPO fluorine or Falcon Prestige Leader nylon.
The second type of rig involves using Vertical Balls instead of the Keeper Lead, which are leads that already have a large hook cast inside the lead.
These types of lures, such as the Jatsui Vertical Balls, have two small rings. One is to fix the pre-terminal and the other to be able to connect approximately 40 centimetres of braid of at least 150lb to two J beck hooks of variable sizes depending on the size of the bait and the prey.
Fishing with the ‘classic’ leaders for live trolling, we will use the classic live trolling rods with a strength of between 10lb and 20lb and a length of between 190cm and 210cm with an excellent sensitive action. I like the 12lb to 20lb Falcon Black Phantom Acid which can be coupled with a high quality reel with fluid drag discs such as the Tica Team Double Speed TM16EWTS which has a max drag of 11.5 kg.
We will use a PE 2.5 class braid of approximately 45lb with a diameter of 0.26 such as the ZE Braid Z8 from Jatsui.
For the second type of terminal with zoka ball-type lures we will opt for the use of vertical fishing rods with a range casting action of at least 100g to 200g and a length of approximately 6.8 feet such as the Black Phantom Vertical Ball by Falcon. To this rod we will combine a good rotating reel with a drag of at least 20lb such as the Force Jig or the Titan Claw from Tica in which we will spool 300 metres of excellent PE 2.5 braid to which we will connect a piece of approximately five to scven metres of excellent fluorocarbon of at least 0.60.
Text and pictures by: Manuel Carillo