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Add some spice to your trolling rigs

By: J.D. Richey Journal Outdoors Columnist
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We have lots of good trout and koke action going on his time of year at places like Stampede Reservoir, Lake Berryessa, Collins Lake and Camanche and that means it is time to do some serious trolling... when the lightning quits of course! So let’s say you have all the gear — the expensive boat, the electronic downriggers, the high modulus rods with titanium guides and a box stuffed with all the top trolling lures... yet you still feel like your success rate could be higher. What to do? Before you scrap everything you know and start from scratch, try this really simple fix: add scent to your troll gear. You will be amazed at how much of a difference this can make! Here are some of the little tricks I employ when trolling — give ‘em a try an see how they work for you. Power Crawler I will be the first one to admit that this is perhaps one of the more goofy-looking rigs ever and I am almost ashamed to admit that I even use it... but the power crawler rig works. In fact it is about as deadly as it gets at Collins! To rig up, thread a mini crawler or half a nightcrawler onto your line and then leave the hook exposed. Next, roll a pinky nail sized ball of Power Bait into a ball and put it on the hook point. That’s the original version I learned from an old timer but I have amended it a bit and now run the ball of Power Bait at the head of the worm. It works the same, it’s just more aesthetically more pleasing to me that way. In either case, the added scent really helps me get more bites. GULP! Okay so the cat is outta the bag on this one so I guess I can go public with it. Berkley GULP is the hottest thing going now for kokanee. So much in fact, that white shoepeg corn is rapidly becoming obsolete. From Lake Berryessa to Flaming Gorge, kokes are attacking this stuff like crazy and you’d better get in the game or get left in the dust! Rather than tipping your lures with corn try a short section of GULP sandworm tail or an entire maggot. I think the scent is pretty much the same in all the GULP stuff so just pick a bait that matches the color and size you prefer... and then expect to see more kokanee in the box! Marinated shad Trolling whole shad and small anchovies for lake kings is getting very popular in many lakes like Don Pedro, Folsom and Almanor. While straight bait — assuming it is fresh — is effective enough on its own, you can really take your game up a notch or two by brining it up. You can go as simple as buying a commercial cure like Pro Cure’s Brine-n-Brite and simply follow the directions on the package. Or, if you want to get a little more tricky, make your own. Sorry, I can’t give you my super secret recipe, but here is a really good one to get you started: Fill a five gallon bucket one quarter of the way with distilled water and then drop half a bag of ice in it. Next, add two cups borax, four cups rock salt and a few squirts each of pure anise (or your favorite scent) and Mrs. Stewart’s Blueing (in the laundry aisle). Mix everything well and the toss your baits in and then put the whole thing in the fridge overnight. The result is a tough, shiny bait that will hold together longer and disperse lots of scent. If you really want to get into the super Jedi trick stuff, color your bait with Bad Azz Bait Dye. I like chartreuse, blue and purple in that order. I have found that there are times when, for reasons beyond me, a colored bait will out-perform a natural one. It is one of those why ask why situations — just accept it and move forward. So, try some of these basic tricks and see if you start seeing better results out on the lake!