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The Boatless Angler - Chapter 7 - Passive but Aggressive Trout Fishing!

Trout are a fantastic fish providing a bit of finesse to catch and packing a powerful fight all in one making it a great target for the sport fisherman. What is most interesting is that trout is one of the most popular game fish taken from shore!

There are a number of ways to catch trout of which we are all familiar, fly fishing, float fishing, drift fishing, trolling and bottom bouncing but I’m going to explain a passive but aggressive method to land some big trout from shore!

Finding the Right Spot for Trout

First you need to find a good location at the right time; this is usually in early spring before trout start the spawn. This is usually the last couple weeks of February and all of March. Now depending where you fish, some seasons are not open this time of year, therefore the best places to go if you can’t fish in early spring is somewhere you know trout are located year round.

Picking your specific place to fish on a river can be tricky as this type of fishing will not cover much water, so WHERE you fish becomes very important. A good fishing spot that will produce trout are usually places where the main current is closer to shore (in casting range). This current is usually an indication that deeper water is close by and thus is often paths trout will take.

What is Passive Trout Fishing

Now that you have your spot picked you can start the passive fishing style, which is of course making a cast and waiting for a strike. Rather than bringing your bait to the fish by constantly casting, you will cut the fish off by having your bait waiting in the right spot.

This can be a very effective means of fishing and will more often than not out fish your bottom bouncing float fishing neighbours!

The Trick to Passive Trout Fishing

The idea is to cast your line into the current, let it bottom bounce until to comes to a stop. Where it stops is usually the current edge, and this is exactly where you want your bait to be. When you place your rod down you want to have the tip held high and you want to keep your line tight. This way you can watch your rod tip and see even the slightest hits.

3-way Setup for Trout

3-way Setup for Trout

The specific set-up you want to use is the 3-way approach, in which you have your main line, your sinker and a leader all attached (see figure below). Your main line should be 6-10lbs test; heavier lines are okay too though they tend to be carried more by current and often cause difficulty in keeping your bait on the current edge. Heavy line however should be tied from the swivel to your sinker and should be no longer than two feet in length.

The reason for this is you want to be able to pull your sinker out of tight spots without it breaking as we all know rocks are common in areas where trout are. Now your leader to your bait is should be a minimum of 2 feet in length and a maximum of 4 feet. This will provide a more natural bait presentation as well as keeping you just off the bottom.

The most important part of this set-up is in fact the swivel, which might not seem obvious to us fisherman but it makes a huge difference to the fish. You want to use Thundermist’s “T-turn” swivel as it provides a perfect 360 rotation without line twist. This “T-turn” swivel not only will prevent tangles all together but also present your bait in perfect motion with the current which is important when triggering a strike.

When using a traditional 3-way swivel you are not able to achieve this perfect presentation as both limited rotation and tangles will and do prevent you from catching fish.

The Baits to Use

Now you may be wondering what type of bait is best, well generally when you “still” fish, live bait is the way to go. I often use row bags, worms, or shiners and they all produce fish, but the most important aspect is to make sure your bait has enough “float” to help it stay off the bottom.

If using row bags, make sure to put floating beads with the eggs; if using worms or shiners make sure you add a float to you hook or you can purchase hooks with a float already attached. Feel free to try different artificials as well; rubber minnows, streamer flies and even yarn have been proven to be very effective while fishing in the manner.

This is truly a passive but aggressive way to fish as it will catch you those trout you have been looking for this season.

Get out there and catch those trout from shore!


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