Trolling Lures - Swimming Plugs

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Instructor: Chris Rushford

This fishing video teaches valuable tips and techniques for trolling swimming plugs near reef systems or deep water with man-made structures. It covers toothy critters, setup trolling spreads, and using stout tackle. Techniques include tying haywire twists and rigging lures with wire. Fine-tuning trolling lures and changing lure bibs are also discussed. The video emphasizes the importance of learning from the best and using the best tackle for successful fishing.

Description / Review / Instructor

Key Points of Video:

  • Trolling Swimming Plugs Efficiency: Lipped trolling lures are highly effective for covering large water areas and reaching depths where many game fish feed, especially around deep-water structures like atolls or oil platforms, which are rich in baitfish.
  • Ecosystems and Target Species: Atolls and oil platforms act as artificial reefs, attracting a plethora of baitfish and larger predatory species like Yellowfin tuna, Wahoo, Spanish mackerel, and Dogtooth tuna.
  • Lure Rigging and Adjustment: Importance of mimicking local baitfish movement and appearance using lures with adjustable bibs (lips) for depth targeting; regular fine-tuning of lures is crucial for maintaining proper swimming action.
  • Spinning Gear and Tackle: Advancements in spinning gear technology allow for robust and efficient fishing experiences, even with powerful game fish; emphasis on selecting the right rods, reels, and line for optimal performance.

Trolling swimming plugs, also known as lipped trolling lures, indeed presents a highly effective method for both covering significant areas of water and reaching the depths where many game fish are known to feed. This technique becomes particularly valuable in specific environments such as deep water structures near atolls or oil platforms. These locations often act as hotspots for marine life due to the abundant baitfish that are attracted to the structures.

Atolls and oil platforms provide a unique ecosystem in the open ocean. They act as artificial reefs, creating an environment rich in nutrients and shelter, which in turn attracts smaller fish and organisms. This abundance of baitfish then draws in larger predatory species, making these areas ideal for fishing.

When using trolling swimming plugs around these structures, the key is to mimic the movement and appearance of the local baitfish. This method enables you to explore various depths and areas efficiently, increasing your chances of encountering predatory species. The lures, with their built-in lip, dive deeper when trolled, allowing you to target species that prefer deeper waters.

In deep waters around man-made structures or in shallower waters adjacent to natural reef systems, the presence of baitfish is a significant attractor for various predatory fish. Reef systems, much like atolls and oil platforms, provide a rich habitat for marine life. The structure of the reef offers shelter and a hunting ground for many species.

In these environments, you're likely to encounter a range of pelagic species and reef-dwelling fish. Some of the most sought-after game fish in these areas include the Yellowfin tuna, known for its speed and strength; the Wahoo, highly prized for its fast runs; the Spanish mackerel, known for its fighting ability; and the Dogtooth tuna, a challenging catch due to its power and deep-water habitat.

The effectiveness of lipped trolling lures in such environments is enhanced by their ability to be trolled at different speeds and depths, making them versatile tools for targeting a variety of species. Whether you're fishing around deep-water structures or along the edges of reef systems, these lures can provide an exciting and productive fishing experience, tapping into the natural feeding behaviors of some of the ocean's most sought-after game fish.

The Power of Swimming Plugs

Expanding on the concept of using swimming plugs for trolling in shallow waters around big reef systems, as highlighted in this In The Spread fishing video, it's evident that this approach can be highly effective for targeting a range of desirable species. The darting action of these plugs, as they move through the water, closely mimics the movement of baitfish, making them irresistible to predatory fish.

The key to success with swimming plugs lies in their design and the way they are used. These lures are engineered to move in a specific way that triggers the predatory instincts of fish. When trolled, they create a lifelike swimming action that is hard for fish like wahoo, mackerel, and dogtooth tuna to ignore. This action, combined with the lure's depth capability, allows anglers to effectively target fish in different layers of the water column.

In shallow water areas around large reef systems, there's an abundance of what are often referred to as "toothy critters" – species like mackerel and wahoo that are known for their sharp teeth. These areas also often have a significant shark population, adding an extra level of challenge to the fishing experience. The presence of sharks can affect fishing protocols, requiring more concise and strategic presentations to successfully target the desired species while avoiding unwanted shark interactions.

This video provides valuable tips for anglers looking to optimize their approach in these environments. This includes advice on how to shorten the battle with powerful fish like wahoo and dogtooth tuna. Shortening the fight is crucial not only for the safety of the angler and the health of the fish but also to reduce the chances of attracting sharks, which are drawn to the commotion and distress signals of a struggling fish.

Additionally, rigging techniques for lures are critical when dealing with toothy species. Standard lures can be easily bitten off or damaged by these fish, so special rigging methods are necessary. This might include the use of heavier leaders, wire rigs, or specific types of hooks and lures designed to withstand the sharp teeth of these predators.

Overall, the video covers a comprehensive strategy for effectively trolling with swimming plugs in these challenging but rewarding fishing environments. By understanding the behaviors and habitats of the target species, along with adapting rigging and presentation techniques, anglers can significantly increase their chances of a successful and exciting fishing experience in shallow waters around big reef systems.

Expert Insights from Chris Rushford

Chris Rushford, the expert guide from Reel Teaser Fishing Adventures in Western Australia, offers a comprehensive and practical approach to trolling, specifically targeting species like yellowfin tuna and wahoo, though his methods are equally effective against other formidable, toothy fish that might be encountered.

His trolling setup is designed for efficiency and speed, essential when dealing with fast and powerful species like yellowfin tuna and wahoo. Tuna, in particular, are known for their strength and stamina, making them challenging adversaries. Wahoo, on the other hand, are incredibly fast and known for their explosive bites. The threat of sharks, a common occurrence in these fishing grounds, adds another layer of complexity and urgency to the process. Sharks are often attracted to the commotion and can quickly zero in on a struggling fish, so it's crucial to land the catch swiftly.

Chris emphasizes the importance of trolling speed in his instructional sessions. The right speed can make a significant difference in lure performance, affecting how realistically the lures mimic the movement of baitfish. He guides anglers on finding the optimal speed for various conditions and species, a critical factor in increasing the chances of a successful hookup.

Regarding his angling practices, Chris focuses on the setup of a trolling spread, ensuring that all lures are within 100 feet of the boat. This strategy is not just about keeping the lures in a concentrated area for better control and quicker responses; it's also about creating an effective illusion of a small school of fish, which is more likely to attract the attention of predatory species.

The swimming plugs, or lipped trolling lures, are a crucial component of his tackle. These lures are designed to dive to specific depths and move in a way that imitates the swimming action of baitfish. Chris's expertise in selecting the right swimming plugs for the targeted species, water conditions, and time of day can significantly impact the success of the fishing trip.

Lure rigs are another area of focus. Chris shares his insights on the best rigging techniques to ensure the lures perform optimally, reducing the chances of losing fish due to tackle failure. His approach likely includes advice on the types of hooks to use, how to rig leaders, and the importance of swivels and other hardware in constructing a reliable setup.

The overall tackle setup is also crucial. Chris would cover the best rods, reels, and lines for tackling species like yellowfin tuna and wahoo, ensuring that anglers are well-equipped to handle the intense battles these fish are known for. He would likely emphasize the importance of strong, durable gear that can withstand the powerful runs and prolonged fights typical of these species.

In summary, Chris Rushford's approach combines practical knowledge with on-the-water experience, offering anglers a well-rounded and effective strategy for trolling. Whether targeting yellowfin tuna, wahoo, or other predatory species, his methods are designed to maximize chances of success, ensuring thrilling and rewarding fishing adventures.

Rigging and Tackle Tips

When targeting fish known for their ability to bite through fishing lines, such as toothy species like barracuda, wahoo, or certain types of sharks, using a bite section made of wire becomes essential. The wire trace leader is a critical component in your rigging setup to prevent losing your catch and lure. It's important to know how to properly rig these leaders to maintain the effectiveness of your lures.

One of the key techniques in rigging wire leaders is mastering the haywire twist. This method involves a series of twists and barrel rolls to securely connect the wire to the lure or hook without compromising its strength. In addition to the haywire twist, there are other options for rigging with wire, such as using crimps or different types of knots that are specifically designed for wire. These techniques ensure that your setup remains strong and reliable, especially when dealing with powerful and aggressive fish.

Beyond the wire trace leaders, another crucial aspect is rigging swimming plugs correctly and adjusting their bibs (also known as lips). The bib of the lure determines the depth and action of the lure in the water. Adjusting the bib allows you to target specific depths where fish are feeding. Remember, lures that don’t mimic the natural movement of baitfish are less likely to attract predators. Therefore, understanding how to change lure bibs effectively to achieve the desired depth and action is vital.

Moreover, it's important to regularly check and fine-tune your lures. When you're catching fish, your lures inevitably get chewed on, which can affect their swimming action. Regular maintenance and adjustments ensure that they continue to perform optimally.

Regarding the fishing tackle, modern spinning gear is increasingly robust and can handle the demands of battling powerful fish. Quality spinning outfits, encompassing both rods and reels, are essential for this type of fishing. The right spinning gear should have enough strength and durability, yet be sensitive enough to feel the bite and fight of the fish. We provide insights into selecting the appropriate rods and reels for this purpose and how to maximize their performance. This includes understanding the gear ratio, drag system, and the type of line best suited for your fishing conditions and target species.

In summary, successful fishing in conditions where toothy predators are present involves a combination of proper rigging techniques, lure adjustments, and the use of robust and reliable spinning gear. By mastering these elements, anglers can significantly increase their chances of not only hooking but also successfully landing these challenging and exciting fish.


We hope you enjoy this trolling swimming plugs fishing video and take away a few helpful fishing tips that you can share with fellow fishermen. Learning from captains, crews, and anglers from around the world that succeed at the highest level makes us all better fishermen. Learn from the best, use the best fishing tackle you can afford, and catch the biggest fish. Don't short change yourself when it comes to learning. In The Spread fishing videos are a great way to expand your fishing knowledge.

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