is generally a frowned-upon technique
to use for catching Bass in
"Bassmaster" circles, but it
is an age-old and very productive
technique first developed, written
about and practised by Bill
Rapalas and lead-core line and
had great results. For more info, do
yourself a favour and get his book
Pursuit of Giant
can order the book from www.lunkercity.com
trolling technique has since been
further developed (some would say
"perfected") by Jerry
Rago and his buddies, notably Mike
is the inventor and manufacturer
of the Rago Generic Trout (wooden
body and plastic tail):
the all-plastic Rago Generic Swimbait:
of the efficacy of these lures and the
trolling technique? I'm glad you asked!
Check this out!
utter Hawg of 16.5lb was taken recently
by Jerry Rago at Lake
Murray (California, USA) whilst
deep-trolling the Generic Swimbait!
Vella displays a
massive 12.7lb Lake
Perris, California, Bass taken
on the Rago Generic
Trout in Midnight
Magic colour (solid
black with red eye).
here's Jerry Rago,
once again, this time with a
13.5lber (centre). Whoa!
What about the 3 arms?
That's Mike Long obscured
from view with a nice
brace of Bass (11lb and
10lb)! The venue? Lake
Murray, San Diego, California (USA).
Whitmer with a
taken on a 9" Osprey
fishing a slow-troll/
deadstick pattern (stop and go) on Lake
Perris, CA, in December
2001 at 25' in 90' of water! Here's a pic of
an Osprey Talon:
there you have it! Trolling the Rago
Generic Trout (wooden body and
plastic tail), the all-plastic Rago Generic Swimbait,
the all-plastic Osprey Talon and
the hard plastic head, soft
plastic body Castaic Soft Bait
Trout will most definitely produce
results. You might even try a big Rapala!
accepted opinion seems to be that the
best motors for this type of trolling
are the new breed of 4-strokes. Rumour
has it that Jerry Rago uses a Wellcraft centre console boat with a 50hp 4-stroke
motor and slow trolls all day at about 1
knot speed with his lures running from
15 - 20+ feet down and he catches lots
of 10lb plus fish as regular as
only the "big names" have had
results with trolling big swimbaits.
Listen to Josh Declusin:
spend most of my time on Rancho
Seco trolling because the
water is so clear. When you cast, you
are fishing for fish in between the
boat and how far you cast. I have
caught all my big bass trolling. I
devoted alot of time last year to
casting and it didn't produce for me.
At Seco the whole lake has
underwater weeds. My graph shows
these. I have seen weed growth in 50
feet of water. Sunlight reaches these
depths because the water is so clear.
I have caught bass in 20-25 feet of
water. The weeds seem to grow 5-8 feet
off the bottom. I try to get my Castaic
Trout right above these weeds.
It seems to dive 10-13 feet deep.
Sometimes I hook the weeds but it is
worth the hassle when you get a hog.
Percentage wise, I spend about 80%
trolling and 20% casting. I cast to
mix it up every once it a while. I
hope this helps ...".
Josh, for the pointers! Proof
of Josh's results - a 13.3lb
beauty taken whilst trolling the
9" Castaic Soft Bait
Trout at Rancho Seco (California,
USA) on 11 January 2003.
now for some input from Steve Mras:
read the stuff on Jerry Rago at
can confirm that he fishes from what
looks like a 16' Wellcraft center
console with a 50 hp four stroke
outboard. It's a low profile
center console, much like a bay boat.
They run the rods off of holders
rigged to the console in a spreader
fashion, in other words, spread out
like outriggers. The rods are more
typical saltwater rods with saltwater
type bait casting reels filled with
mono, probably 20 lb or 30 lb. He's
definitely getting the lures down to
about 25' as I've metered spots that
he's snagged on. I witnessed the same
with his buddy snagging on a rockpile
24' deep. I watched them pull the
lures in and they were the $100
Generic Trouts straight tied. I did
not see any weights to get them down
deep. I have yet to hold or see in
person one of these $100 jewels. I
certainly can afford a grip of them,
but somehow, a $100 lure just does not
I'll write you an article on trolling,
in time. I'll be honest, this was my
first bass of 10 lbs or more while
trolling. For me to write an article
on the subject of trolling for trophy
largemouth at this time is kind of
presumptuous. Right now I'm adapting
proven techniques from my saltwater
background to the trophy bass quest.
When I take my plans to the next
level, then I'll write you an article.
I've tried trolling at Lake Perris,
which is a Rago haunt, but no success.
In fact, we had no success whatsoever
at Perris this year and very few
others got big fish. I know that Jerry
got a few, but I also noticed that he
vacated Lake Perris for other more
productive lakes in fairly short
order. The article on website
about Jerry getting 21 in two weeks
describes an epic bite that occurred
back in December '01 and carried over
throughout spring '02. That was not
the case this year as I'm told that
they shocked and transplanted many
fish out of Perris and into Diamond
Valley and Skinner.
There are a few things I'm doing
different than Jerry Rago. The first
one is out of necessity. I'm trolling
off the bow mounted troll motor
because my carbureted premix 150 hp
Mercury trolls at 2+ mph at idle and
those motors load up at idle speed. I
really need a four stroke outboard
such as a Yamaho 115 for my Ranger
198. I'm working on that. Second, I'm
using a downrigger to control/set the
depth of my lure. Now that I've proven
to myself that trolling a single trout
on the downrigger works, I intend to
make use of saltwater teaser systems
for trolling. It's real simple: I want
to simulate a school of trout swimming
by. I want to simulate my own
fresh trout plant. I have no doubt
that this system will work. I just
need to get it ready for next year as
the trout plants are done down here in
the flats of SoCal.".
Mras with proof of the power of
trolling the "Big
Baits". A 10lb Bass on a 12"
Castaic Soft Bait Trout.
Steve, for the info!
SA Bassers, when are YOU going out
TROLLING for a change?
by Jacques Wolmarans