Pleasure Boat → Fish Harvester

Pleasure Boat → Fish Harvester

Convert your big lake ride into a trolling machine — and back.

The sight of charter boats heading offshore, their rocket launchers and gunnel rod holders bristling with 20 or more rods might make Lakeland Boating readers think that a pile of gear is necessary to catch Great Lakes salmon, trout and walleye.
The fact is, you can troll up some fish with just a half dozen rods. Plus, you can get your boat rigged and ready without compromising the beautiful lines of your cruiser or runabout. Gimbal-mount options and modern track-mount systems make it simple to remove rod holders and other gear when you’re done fishing. Let’s explore the essential gear and tackle that will let you try trolling without a huge investment.

Rod holders

Trolling — that is, dragging lures while motoring to cover water — is the best way to make fish contact on the Sweetwater Seas. Since your crew would soon tire of hanging onto rods while you search for fish, rod holders are essential. Start with six holders, three on each side of the boat. Companies such as Traxstech and Cisco Fishing Systems make rod holders that slide into tracks on top of posts that then slide into flush-mount, gimbal rod holders.
Another option are tracks screwed onto the side decks. You can slide rod holders as well as downriggers into these. When done fishing, remove the gear and slide in a customized piece of starboard to create a step pad.


Offshore Tackle Planer Boards – $X at 

Luhr Jensen Dipsy Diver – $X at 



Diehard angler Dave Mull of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has contributed boat tests and features to Lakeland Boating for three decades. His current goal is catching a 30-plus-pound Great Lakes denizen from his Old Town kayak.

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