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Author Topic:   rigging the 170 for trolling
bigjohn1 posted 12-20-2004 07:52 AM ET (US)   Profile for bigjohn1   Send Email to bigjohn1  
I am looking at ways to economically rig my 170 for trolling (ocean). This is not the main use of the boat rather I am just looking at ocasional trolling with two rods/reels while on the way to various dive sites we go to. While huge Marlin are always nice, what's normally caught while trolling the near-shore around here is smaller Bonita, Rainbow Runner, and the ocasional Wahoo.

I reviewed a nice installation submitted by Georgetech back about a year ago and while its truly professional looking, I'm not sure I want to get that elaborate right trolling is not the main use of the boat. I also looked at some recent photos of WT's boat and noticed the clamp-on rod holders attached to the aft rails. This is probably more in line with the way I want to go as it looks fairly straight-forward and easy to install. I will forego the outriggers as I will only run two lines out from the stern.

As I'm not the authority on ocean trolling, I would appreciate input on rods/reels as well. Penn reels are widely available here in Guam in multitudes of sizes and price ranges. The trolling rods I see many use here on smaller boats are the short thick angled rods that are perhaps only about 3' total in length. I would be rigging the reels with safety lanyards tied to the rear cleats I assume. Any better ideas from you experienced trollers?
Big John

Knot at Work posted 12-20-2004 08:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Knot at Work  Send Email to Knot at Work     

I have two stainless ratchet rod holders on my aft rails, mounted to the inboard side. I used bicycle intertubes to line the clamps. This works well for trolling for kings and red fish, here in Pensacola.

West Marine sells them for about 29 dollars a piece.

Tackle, I recommend a heavy action 7 foot rod. I have the following setups:

7 ft STAR rod Heavy action with a PENN Senator 115 Bait Cast Reel. I use 50 lb mono and depends on what I am after as to the leader size. Set up works well for trolling or Bottom fishing for Grouper or Snapper.

7 Foot PENN International Heavy Action with PENN Senator 113 Bait Cast with 30 lb.

6 foot PENN Slammer with SHIMANO Spheros 8500 Spinning reel 20 lb line. Favorite combo. Good for trolling or bottom fishing and light enough to chuck a lure to the mackeral.

6 foot PENN Slammer with a PENN 705Z 20 lb.

7 foot Key Largo med Action with a SHIMANO 5000 Sahara. GREAT FLOUNDER Rig. 12 lb mono.


Moe posted 12-20-2004 08:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
I used the heavy, solid stainless adjustable C.E. Smith rodholders from Cabelas. They have hidden teeth that let you adjust the angle in 10 degree increments. Used on 7/8" tubing, you use the included nylon spacers so the rails won't get scratched. I mounted them low so they'd fit under the boat cover, but I put a can koozie over each to keep the cover from rubbing on them.

I don't have good tackle... just gettin' by with cheap stuff for now.

Rich M posted 12-20-2004 06:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Rich M  Send Email to Rich M     
I used thick nylon tubing cut to length and slit open to fit over the rails under my aft rail mounted downriggers. These take up all the pressure without marring the rail and provide excellent vibration damping.

You can't go wrong with Penn and those short "pool cue" rods are a good choice for heavy tackle used for large quarry. Longer rods are better with lighter tackle and offer more sport.

We mounted our gaff right above the stern light stowage using similar clips, keeps it safely out of the way and quickly at hand.

bigjohn1 posted 12-21-2004 08:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Thanks guys for all your advice. After looking at the offerings from both West and Cabelas, they both offer quality clamp-on rod holders at descent prices. Moe's pics have me drooling over the CE Smith units as the deep luster in them would really accent the new boat.

Knot, once again you have outdone yourself and given me plenty to think about in the area of tackle. After my recent vhf, epirb, and chartplotter purchases, that leaves the "kitty" fairly dry till after Christmas so I'll take up the issue of tackle purchases after the holidays.

I love this forum...prior to starting this thread and asking these questions, a guy here actually had me almost believing I'd have to drill some major-league holes in my new boat just to acommodate rods for trolling.
Big John

Knot at Work posted 12-21-2004 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Knot at Work  Send Email to Knot at Work     

My Pleasure. A tip for you, go to a premium tackle/bait shop. They usually have a nearly used rack and you can get a pretty decent fishing rig/combo from folks that traded up. Little know fact that most baitshops/tackleshops actually take trade-in....

WT posted 12-21-2004 04:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I have the CE Smith rod holders from Cabela's too. They are very well made.


prj posted 12-27-2004 12:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     

Regarding that CE Smith rod holder you've mentioned,
I would like to know how the angle is adjusted.

I rec'd a fine Taco, model F16-2600 rodholder for Christmas
and was surprised to fine the angle adjustment concealed
within the rail mounting cylinder behind the nylon liner.

Once it's on the railing, it stays at that configuration.

IF the CE Smith's angle is adjustable WITHOUT
removing it from the railing, I would consider switching.

Will someone please confirm?

thanks in advance.

WT posted 12-27-2004 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     

Can NOT adjust Smith rod holders without removing it from the rail.


prj posted 12-27-2004 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
Many thanks, WT, for the prompt reply.

I will add that the Taco model referenced above
is a beautiful piece of 316 Stainless equipment
that will complement a Whaler graciously.

oahuwhaler posted 12-27-2004 10:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for oahuwhaler  Send Email to oahuwhaler     
Here in Hawaii some guys use (and I plan to get a set later)we call it a "stubbie" a 3'rod with a swivel tip guide.

On it a 80 tsw Penn International or a Shimano Tiagra 80. This set up has the stopping power to stop a Large Marlin (100lbs. to 600 lbs.).Yet,still compact and light enough for Mahimahi and Ono.

The drawback is the price, a complete set would run about $1000.

bigjohn1 posted 12-28-2004 07:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     

I have seen them and they sell alot of those rods here for fighting the big Black Marlin we have. I was out trolling with a guy last month that had those rods. We didn't get any Marlin hookups that day but did land several smaller Bonita's and you could hardly feel any fight in them when landing them with that rod.

I'm on a tight budget right now and will most likely start out with two Penn Senator 9/0's on Penn rods of about 6'. The price is right and Senator's are good "no-frills" salt water reels to start out with (I think).
Big John

handn posted 12-30-2004 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for handn  Send Email to handn     
You will up your catch considerably with outriggers because it places the lures out of the prop wash and thus more visable to the fish. Plus, if you get into fishing, you can easily run 4-lines.
If you have a t-top, the best setup is outrigger that mount on top. Many manufacturers make suitable products.
If no t-top, you will have to go with gunnel mounted outriggers. I had good luck with a Pompenette setup.
Outriggers are more expensive than rod holders but worth it for the more serious fisherman.
Penn Senators are cheap, servicable and simple enough to be maintained by the consumer. 6/0 is a 50 pound outfit and the right size for casual fishing.
Also worth considering are Simano TLD 25's. They are a 30-40 lb outfit and virtually bulletproof and only sightly more expensive than Senators.
I have had bad luck with cheap rods from Penn, Cabela's and Bass Pro. I have had broken reel seats, gimbals and line guides but I fish 50 or more times a year. I think it is better to go with a used or garage sale top quality rod with roller guides and an one piece aluminum reel seat and gimbal. Inspect the roller guides carefully for funtion and smoothness.
Moe posted 12-30-2004 01:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
The Penn Special Senator rods look pretty good, and not that inexpensive, to me:

I guess they're less costly than the Star rods, like Jeff's:

But then I'm certainly not an expert when it comes to fishing tackle.

Knot at Work posted 12-30-2004 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Knot at Work  Send Email to Knot at Work     
Moe, I use both, the Senators rod I bought on my own, the Star I inherited from my Dad. ( I am a cheap bastard but I also won't mind spending for solid reliablity) Shimano TLD's are too rich for my frequency of use and the Penn Reels hold up well to salt water and banging
bigjohn1 posted 01-01-2005 07:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
handn, on upping your catch by using outriggers, I have been told that before and pretty much agree that getting the lure out of the prop wash is better. I do not plan on installing a t-top as the wife says I better get all the use out of that $1,000 bimini I opted for and I agree with her.

Silly as this may sound, is there such a thing as a clamp-on outrigger that will mount to my rails? I just am not ready to drill into a brand new cherry boat hull. I ask this as I went trolling with a guy the other day who some would call the ultimate scrounger. He is a great guy and catches alot of fish but just uses really low-budget equipment. His boat is an old 16' Maritime Skiff with a tired old 60 hp bigfoot and he runs four rods/reels. He fashioned home-made hinged outriggers out of some old ss pipe in a scrap yard and bolted two small pulleys on each pipe. They are like mini horizontal flagpoles when they are deployed. This made me think...if this guy can go out and land Marlin (four in 2004) with a setup like this, surely there is a way I could somehow bolt outriggers on my aft rails just like you can bolt rod holders on. I'm a rookie when it comes to trolling so be easy on me:-)
Big John

Marsh posted 01-01-2005 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
I had a set of outriggers on my classic Montauk years ago. The outrigger poles fit into a base plate that was bolted to the CC railing "T". I believe it was sold by Lee. It worked very well. When I sold the boat, I kept the poles, but the base plate stayed on the CC.

Since buying an '04 Montauk 170 a year ago, I have searched in vain for similar bolt-on mount. My outrigger poles remain on the shelf in my garage. The bolt-on base plate system would be a great solution for outriggers on a newer Montauk, but I have not found a source for any.


handn posted 01-02-2005 09:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for handn  Send Email to handn     
The closest thing to bolt on outriggers that you describe are are rod holders that stick in the factory gunnel mount and point straight out. Using those you get a spread of the boat width plus the length of each rod.
You could easily troll three rods using one down the middle.
These holders are available in the Bass Pro Offshore cataloge.
Be careful however. There is a lot of stress on the factory gunnel mount rod holder when a big one hits. I suggest a reduced strike drag setting. It is also easy for a fish to pop the rod reel and line out of the rod holder so use a safety strap.
The Pompanette base plate for their gunnel mount outrigger is stainless steel and looks factory installed. They are about $500 however.
bigjohn1 posted 01-03-2005 08:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
handn, thanks again for the info. Since trolling is not the main use of this boat, I'll probably just go for now with the two rail-mounted holders and keep my drag set light. I can totally understand how a decent Marlin or Wahoo strike could rip that holder right off the rail. I will be tethering both reels to the aft cleats though to make sure I don't lose em when the "big guy" comes. I originally came up with the idea of trolling as an excuse to the wife to still go out when it was to rough to dive:-)
Your experience is appreciated though and some of this I am just going to have to learn from the school of hard nocks I feel. I'll bet the first time I lose a Marlin after picking up that rod from the holder after a strike will teach me more than any book would.
Big John
oahuwhaler posted 01-04-2005 02:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for oahuwhaler  Send Email to oahuwhaler     
One important piece of advice.If you catch a Marlin any size Marlin.
Do not bring it live on your boat!! Kill it or it will do some damage to your boat or worse somebody will get hurt.

Invest in a fly-gaff and try to gaff it behind and on top of the head. Then using the rope of the fly-gaff half- hitch the bill and cleat it to your boat.

Use a baseball bat or bang stick and hit it on the head until it's dead.

The next problem is how do you get it on your boat? The 170 with all the railings you have very little room to bring up a large fish.

Another fish to watch out for is Ono or Wahoo the teeth
are razor sharp.Gaff it and keep it away from your body as you bring it up.

Hope this gives you some kind of head start.

bigjohn1 posted 01-04-2005 07:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Oahu, thanks again for re-affirming that point on not boating any live large fish - especially ones with teeth. My buddies and I had the same discussion a few weeks back on how to haul in a Marlin if we caught it from a 170. The consensus we arrived at was to kill it obviously with the bat and then tie its tail up to a bridle made out of my ski rope and rig that to the rear transom eyes. We'd make for home obviously since we had a decent fish and hope like hell no sharks came in for a free lunch while we slowly chugged home. I don't think I'd try and haul a big guy like that aboard my brand new boat.

As an avid blue water spearfisherman, I read a first-hand account some years back about an American guy who speared and landed a world record Blue Marlin (I think in the Med). He was in a 16' Panga and the three of them wrestled the dead giant aboard and made it home with the inadequate boat taking on water the whole time.

A gaf and a bat will be onboard at all times when trolling - thanks for the reminder.
Big John

handn posted 01-04-2005 10:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for handn  Send Email to handn     
It would be a shame to kill a marlin that you don't want. The best plan is to play it until it can be brought close to the boat safely. It helps if someone manuvers the boat to keep it at a constant angle relative to the fish. When the fish is alongside of the boat, reach down and grab your lure and then cut the line as close to the hook as possible. You loose a hook but the fish lives to reproduce and be caught be someone else.
I don't care to eat marlin. It is O.K. smoked, but a little goes a long way and like zucini you find out who your friends are by trying to give the stuff away.
Wahoo is another matter. It is the best eating of anything that swims.
They have teeth like a chain saw and it would be dangerous to bring one aboard a small boat without a plan.
The plan I use is as follows:
1. Gaff the fish behind the head. You need a gaff capable of handling a 50 lb+ fish, i.e., one with a stainless steel hook and a gap of 3+ inches. When gaffing, it helps to have lots of experience with less dangerous fish.
2. Have a very large cooler aboard with an open lid. With no wasted motion, gaff the fish and put it in the cooler head first and have someone shut the lid and sit on it until the fish is dead. Only when the fish is confirmed dead is it safe to retrieve your lure.
3. Get everyone else onboard out of the way. You need one helper to hold the rod when you are gaffing the fish, to open the lid on the cooler and to sit on the lid when the fish is inside. Everyone else should be out of the path of the fish on seats preferably.
4. Assume that if the mouth of the fish touches flesh there will be serious injury. If the fish escapes and flops around the boat, don't do anything but get out of the way.
With small rod and reels and weak drag settings, most likely you will be spooled by a marlin or wahoo of any size. It will happen so fast you won't have a chance to turn the boat and give chase.
I have 50 lb reels spooled 2/3 with 80 lb spectra and a top shot of 50 lb mono. I have almost 800 yards of line. Also I use a strike drag setting of 10 lbs. The inital run of a large fish heats my reel up so much it is hot to the touch.
Hopefully, you will hook a small wahoo. Marinate it lightly and cook it rare on the grill and serve with some wasabi and you will be glad you took the trouble.
Good luck.
bigjohn1 posted 01-10-2005 07:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
I'd like to report that the CE Smith rod holders ended up working out quite well for me ocean trolling for Mahi and Wahoo. If I had any complaint at all, it would be that the single screw which adjusts the angle must be tigtened really good or the vibrations from the rail will tend to loosen it up after trolling all day in choppy water - thereby changing the angle when you don't want it changed. When I initially put the holders together and installed them, I coated all the screws and internal metal parts with Mercury grease to inhibit corrosion and set the angle at 20 degrees aft. While this angle is near perfect, I should have coated that large angle adjusting screw with loctite vice grease. Will do this next time I have them apart for cleaning. Using 9/0 Penn Senators with the drag set light worked fine for catching smaller Mahi and a descent size wahoo (for this time of year in Guam) of 28 pounds. Leaving the rod in the holder to fight the fish is not an option though as these holders are not designed for this type of duty. My only other complaint is the Barkeepers Friend I now need to clean the non-skid from all that dried Wahoo blood and guts. The cooler I had was too small for him and the only choice I had was to leave him on the rear deck after he was dead and head in immediately.

I found that for the 170 rigged with a 115EFI motor (and a 17 pitch prop), keeping it at 2,200 rpm's gave me nearly perfect speed for trolling both Mahi and Wahoo. I feel like the EFI makes it a bit easier to make the minute throttle corrections necesary in rough water to keep at this RPM level. For what its worth....
Big John

Moe posted 01-10-2005 08:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
I should've mentioned that before, John. When I got the rodholders set where I wanted them, I removed the big screw and coated it well with LocTite 242 (blue). LocTite - it's a Harley thing. :-)


bigjohn1 posted 01-11-2005 06:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Moe, thanks and I'll use the 242 on them next time they're apart...and yes, roger-copy on the Harley thing as I must have used tons of that stuff on the older solid mount engines before they got smart and started using rubber engine mounts:-)
Big John
HawaiianWhaler posted 01-18-2005 05:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for HawaiianWhaler  Send Email to HawaiianWhaler     
BigJohn - Suggest you get yourself an insulated fish bag. They fold up for stowage but unfold for stowing ono (wahoo), mahi, and tuna that don't fit in your hard cooler. Keep your ice in a separate hard cooler until you need to put it in the bag with the fish. The bags come in different lengths; a friend has a six-footer on his 170 and it fits nicely along either side of the console. I use a seven-footer and it holds big ahi (yellowfin) no problem; keeps 'em cool too - still have ice in there after a half-day trip home with the fish. Tight lines.
bigjohn1 posted 01-19-2005 07:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Hawaiian, that is a superb idea on the fish bags. I used them before when spearfishing from two Zodiac's I previously owned and they worked great and also saved so much space. Thanks for the reminder.

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