Quickly change from flat line to down line and back by using a removable weight with added snap at the swivel on the bead side.

Having all your equipment in good working order and having everything on your boat you need to fish with so that you can catch the Big fish and land them: good line, hooks, reels that work etc. Downsize your tackle, hooks, leaders and bait, you enhance the bite during the winter and springtime.

Freeze 16 oz. water bottles and then use them as the ice in your cooler for summertime fishing. You can place one in the bait tank to keep the temp down if bait starts suffering as well.

Hold Bluebacks in the dip net while hooking them, knocks off fewer scales. When you get ready to bait a hook, put the rod in the older and stick the hook on the holder. That way you know exactly where it is and can get to it easily once you have the bait ready.

If you use an egg sinker on down lines you can quickly get bait down to the depth of fish by putting the rod in the holder and putting the reel in free spool while getting bait. Once you put the bait on the hook the sinker will already be half way down to the desired depth and then will slide on down when you release the bait.

Position rod holders on your boat so that you can always place rods in the holder based on the pattern of your spread, free lines out the back, down lines on the corners, Planer Boards on the T-top, down lines up front, etc. This makes it much quicker to get your spread out when you find fish.

Spend some time looking at other boats, then thinking about how you like to fish and how your boat is rigged. There are many, many things that can be done to improve your fishing through good rigging.

On the trolling motor always turn on the compass heading function. If you have one of the GPS guided trolling motors the setting will keep your boat on a steady heading during the moments the captain could be distracted while getting fish in the boat.

Make sure the bilge pump in your boat functions properly and make sure the drain plug in your boat is in good repair so it does not “blow out”.

When on fish:

  • Change medium to slow scroll speed.
  • Set auto depth to manual.
  • Split frequency on split screens (one on 83 and one on 200).
  • Seriously stagger depths.
  • Put one bait on bottom regardless of fish depth.

Troll Ben Parker spoon on lead core.

Replace treble hook on Ben Parker spoon with single hook. Fewer tree hook ups.

When rod tip goes in water simply reel slowly a few times to take up any slack in the line, then raise rod.

Don’t throw away tired, dead or bitten bait. Don’t put in with other bait. Throw on transom well. Chum Chum Chum.

When a fish shops your bait, start power reeling one of your downlines.

A Ditch is defined as no contour lines close to bank.

When you see holes in long bait ball, target gaps. Start 5’ off the bottom.

When you see no gaps, target below the bait ball.

Downline leader size:

  • Winter should be 3’ to 4’
  • Summer should be 6’ to 8′ 

When the wind is strong from behind you use a wind sock to slow the boat down. If it is gusty use your trolling motor in reverse.

Some DOs and DON’Ts:


  • Make decisions with safety in mind.
  • Always give drag when fighting a fish.
  • Use your fish finder GPS trails to navigate if unsure of water depth or fishing at night.
  • Use a time limit and stick to it. Set an alarm.
  • When fishing area gets crowded, leave. Too many pings from sonars affect fish.
  • Learn from others.
  • Change your presentation if fish stop biting.
  • If marking fish with no bites come back later.
  • If fish not taking bait in one direction, go in the opposite direction.
  • If you suspect a bite pickup the rod, tug the line, tighten the line or pitch a herring.
  • Pull at different speeds or do crazy Ivans.


  • When windy never use anchor or spot lock on your trolling motor with lines out. 
  • Don’t put out full compliment of rods when checking new area.
  • Don’t be discouraged by others telling you it’s not the time for this or that.
  • Avoid fishing too close to tree tops to avoid the freight train hit.
  • Don’t leave fish to find fish.
  • Don’t pass the rod from one to another with fish on.
  • Don’t get too greedy with too many lines out.

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This blog was created by Steve Scott and is dedicated to educating the casual Striper angler. See my Striper reports in the Coastal Angler magazine and the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division blog.

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