Trolling with Lead Core Line- What is it?

Trolling lead core is a great way to cover lots of water.
I have been thinking a lot about lake fishing recently, looking forward to the ice melting off of the lakes around here.  Once you get out on a lake there are a number of ways to get where the fish are.  Trolling is one of my favorite methods.  Trolling is a method of fishing where you use a boat to move your lure or bait over a large section of water.  There are many different ways to present your bait when trolling, but I would like to look at one method in particular, trolling with lead core line.

Lead core line is a type of fishing line designed to get your lure deeper into the water.  It consists of a braided sheath around a core of soft lead.  This gives the line quite a lot of weight, which helps your bait to sink without the use of additional weights attached to the line.  Since the line is serving as the weight you don't have to worry about attaching anything to the line other than your lure or bait.  This makes it easier to switch between baits rather than re-rigging complicated weight systems, or having to work around a dipsy diver or down rigger.

Lead core line comes in multiple weights, just like normal fishing line.  It also comes in spools of different lengths, varying from 50 feet to 200 feet.  Typically the outer layer of the line is color coded in ten yard intervals.  This allows you to guess about how much line you have in the water by looking at the color you are out.  This is also important for figuring out what depth you are fishing at.

The exact depth your lure will be at will depend on several factors, not only how much line you have out, but also your speed and type of lure.  As a general rule of thumb your line will sink about five feet  for each color that you have in the water.  So as an example let's say that you noticed fish holding at about 25 feet below the surface.  You will want your lure to be at the same depth or just above the fish so that they will notice it go by them.  To get to 25 feet you will let out five colors of line.  This should put you about where the fish are.

If you want to know more specifically how deep your lure is compared to the general five feet per color rule, here is a trick:  Try to travel over a fairly level section of the lake, get a reading of the depth to the bottom with a fish finder or depth sounder.  Then start letting out your line until you feel it hit bottom, let's say at 30 feet.  From there you can look at the amount of line that you have out and compensate for the actual depth you want.  For example, if you let out 7 colors instead of six to get to 30 feet you know that for that speed and lure you will have to let out a little extra line to get to the right depth.  To get to those fish at 20 feet you might want to let out about 4 1/2 colors.

One last thing to consider about lead line is the very significant amount of line that you will have out.  If you let out 4 colors that amounts to 40 yards of line, plus your leader which could be up to 50 feet.  This means that you will have to reel for a long time if you have several colors out trying to get to deeper fish.  It also means that because of the weight of all that line you will have a harder time feeling what the fish is doing at the end of that line.  One very big advantage of the long length of line that is out is your lure will be getting to the fish long after your boat has passed, making them less spooked than if your bait was right behind the boat.

How would you like to have this much tackle ready to go?

Hopefully this will give you a quick idea about what it means to troll with lead core line.  I will follow this post up with more information about setting up lead core line and actually using it.

Getting Set Up
In The Water

What is a downrigger?


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