How to: Dog Days of Summer Part 2: Trolling Plugs in Open Water #191

Trolling Plugs in Open Water

Open Water  – Day Time – Variable Speeds – Medium Lure Offering – Troll Scanning

The Lure: The Hogy Slider is big enough to imitate a large sand eel but also small enough to imitate a juvenile squid. It’s a big little-little big bait! The lure has built in action and will swim on it’s own. You’ll find that the slower the speed you’re trolling, the slower and wider the wobble and at higher speeds, the faster and tighter the wobble. The Hogy Slider is through-wired and meant for big fish. It comes pre-rigged with offshore grade hooks that are small enough for inshore fishing too.

Hooter bluefish
Capt. Mike with a decent sized bluefish caught on the Charter Grade Slider in Amber while trolling the Hooter.

Olive is a great imitation for most baitfish, especially sand eels. If squid are likely to be in the area, the amber version is a dead ringer with the pink contrasting stripe.  Green is the obvious mackerel imitation. If unsure of the bait in the area, the glow and chartreuse coloration of the “Albie Crack” is highly visible, even it high speeds. My default starting lure spread is (1) Hogy Charter Grade in Amber and the other in Albie Crack. If one lure get hit more than the other, then I’ll swap out. If fish are in the area but I am not getting hit, I’ll rotate one color out at a time.

Hogy Lures Charter Grade Slider: 2oz - 115mm Amber (Inshore)
The Hogy Charter Grade Slider in Amber

Lastly and most noteworthy to mention about the Hogy Slider as a trolling lure on leadcore is that it is a “lipless” swimmer. It will stay the depth that you park it at with lead core, which is dictated by the amount of line you let out. The lure will not continuously swim deeper like a more traditional lipped plug, an action that would make it difficult to calculate your depth.

Charter Grade Slider
Hogy Charter Grade Slider in Albie Crack

On leadcore, the Hogy Slider will swim like a champ on it’s own and will hold the depth it is put at with the lead core, which is also very important as you’ll always know what depth your lure is given how much line you have out. So, not only do you have depth options, you have the benefit of knowing what depth you are in and what will be needed to adjust for marked fish but deep and shallow.

Charter Grade Slider
Hogy Charter Grade Slider in Green


Open Water – Day Time: The best dog days of summer open water areas are those where cooler water meets warmer water or in deeper areas with some structure to hold bait where stripers can hide in the cooler depths. Ideally you have both conditions. By fishing a variety levels of the water column you’ll open the possibility to catching ground fish, stripers, blues, Atlantic bonito and false albacore in the summer months. While not “hard-core” fishing, I would could it “fun-core” as the action can be not stop and a great opportunity for new anglers to get hooked on the sport.

The Gray Goose trolling through open water at the Hooter.

Flexibility: The Hogy Slider fishes at all speeds, which is very convenient and makes it an ideal candidate for open water trolling. Obviously, the faster you can troll, the more ground you’ll cover and the slow the speed, the more specific your presentation can be. There are times when you want to troll fast to target bonito and false albacore. In this case, you’ll find that the faster the speed, the faster the Hogy Slider will wobble. The lure’s size and shape are ideal in this case!  Inversely, there are times when you may want to fish slow, where you’ll notice that the lure has a deadly slow wobble. The lure’s ability to troll slowly is key to targeting fish you mark on the bottom. The lure sinks perfectly with lead core on the drop. So much so, you will find a noteworthy catch rate of big sea bass and fluke.

Although stripers tend to hold in deeper water in “high” light daytime conditions, they will periodically rise to the surface to feed on water and why it’s so important to have a lure that succeeds in all levels of the water column. If you’re lure is adaptable to the fishes change in patterns you will catch more fish.

Trolling Speed: If you are in open water you are searching for fish rather than working structure a medium trolling speed is a good place to start. At a medium trolling speed you have good optics for the conditions at hand and a speed that is suitable for all species, including Atlantic Bonito and false albacore. You can speed the lure up or slow it down as needed to compensate for fish finder target depths or to match the hatch.

Unlike traditional trolling lures with lipped bills, slider style lures have no swimming bill and rely on their internal weight-system to swim in a wobbling fashion, The Hogy Slider will sink “horizontally” when the lure stops swimming, a which is very natural presentation. A slider’s neutral depth swimming action paired with a uniform descent is very useful when trolled on lead core. If you speed the boat up, the lure will rise to the surface but depth can be maintained with more line let out. Slow down, the lure will swim deeper with the lead core. If you take the boat out of gear, the lure will sink with the lead core.

Troll Scanning: The Hogy Charter Grade Slider is weighted for a uniform descent which is really important because that means the lure will sink an a natural presentation and in unison with the lead core when the boat is taken out of gear to drop the lure on a fish seen on the finder. The horizontal descent gives the lure a more natural drop and will sink at the same rate as the line, which will help minimize tangles. This technique is called Troll Scanning.

Troll scanning is a technique where you will troll a constant speed where you can easily spot life both visually and on your fish finder. When you identify targets on your fish finder, the “troll scan method” is to take the boat out of gear and let you baits sink to or below the target. Once you have hit your desired depth, pop the boat back in gear, which is when you get most of your hits, when the baits are emerging off the bottom.

Troll scanning is an excellent technique to implant in summer doldrums style fishing and allows you to fish for multiple species at the same time with the same lure. Fast for bonito and albies, slow for stripers and blues and stopped for big fish on the bottom.