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Author Topic: New to trot line , question  (Read 190 times)
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Abcmatthew
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« on: September 17, 2023, 08:06:33 PM »

Been crabbing for years with hoop rings , this year broke down and set up 600 feet of line . I have been out 3 times with it and finally feel like I got the set up correct. Line seems tight , boathook seems good , using Chx necks every 7 feet . Each time I go out I seem to catch twice as many on the pot hoops as we catch on the the line ? I feel like Iím doing something wrong ? My speed off ? Line too tight ? Shadow spooking crabs off the line ? Iím looking for any advice or tips?
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Big Liar
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2023, 09:06:19 AM »

Hard to say without someone watching you in action.  Best advice would be if you know someone that already runs a trotline to ride with you to observe.  Even if it is for only one run down the line if they are crabbing close to you.  There are times when crabs will eat bait sitting on the bottom, but let go as soon as the line starts to lift.  They don't have that option with hoops or traps. 
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2023, 11:24:10 AM »

There are times in clear water, especially later in the season, when they get spooked and drop off before you see them or before you can net them.  Also using a snood line lets them hang a bit deeper off the line and that can be helpful at times.
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Harford Crabber
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2023, 11:55:10 AM »

There's certainly a lot of thigs that will cause them to drop off before you net them.  But the first thing that comes to mind is very few crabs will hang on when the line-bait comes out of the water.  If you can get your propstick where it just skims the water or even stays an inch or 2 below so the crabs don't come out of the water, they may hang on better.    I've been crabbing a lot in very clear water lately and have gotten so I don't even take the trotline with me. I can see the crabs letting go 3 or 4 feet down.  Strange too, usually this time of year they won't let go of the bait or each other.  They're clinging onto each other in the basket but just not holding onto the bait.
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2023, 03:55:39 PM »

Most of these folks that already answered have more experience than I do but I'll chime in. I feel the most important thing is if things aren't working for you, change something.

My speed off ?
Try going a little faster, try going a little slower. What changed? Better/Worse/No change? Consistency is also important, try to maintain a constant speed across the whole line each run if conditions allow it.

Line too tight ?
Try loosening it up bit, did it help? Now try it tighter. What changed? Is it better or worse?

Shadow spooking crabs off the line ?
Look for shadows on the water. Are there shadows crossing the line? Do crabs jump off when they cross a shadow? Try running in the other direction, did it help? The sun should generally be on the same side of the boat as your propstick when you run the line.

Line tension: As others have said you should be able to dip the crab before he's coming up out of the water. Ideally when (based on water clarity) you can just reliably make out that there IS a crab. If you don't already, I recommend you attach a THIRD independent line to a separate buoy or float from your weight/anchor that you can use to easily slide the anchor around to tighten and loosen the line. Getting the crab in the right spot for dipping where you dip from is a product of water depth, line tension, and propstick placement (height, distance from dipper).

Drop/tag lines should be LOOONG! The longer the lines from your anchor to buoy and buoy to chain/trotline the easier things will generally be. I recommend no less than 50' even if you're only running in 5' of water. I started out using a set of 25' drop lines and everything was just... harder. Now I mostly use 50' lines in summer and early fall. I never run the 25' lines anymore now but I DO sometimes attach the 25' to the 50' to make 75' drop lines for spring and late fall when I'm running deeper than 10' of water!!! This can make a lot of difference. 10x the water depth is not at all unreasonable.

Just keep at it. It's tricky at first because there are a lot of things that need to come together to get in the sweet spot, but you'll get there. Once it starts to come together you'll start to get a feel for what's going wrong when things aren't working well. It's pretty cool when you're on a hot line and catching well!


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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2023, 05:25:01 PM »

Most of these folks that already answered have more experience than I do but I'll chime in. I feel the most important thing is if things aren't working for you, change something.

My speed off ?
Try going a little faster, try going a little slower. What changed? Better/Worse/No change? Consistency is also important, try to maintain a constant speed across the whole line each run if conditions allow it.

Line too tight ?
Try loosening it up bit, did it help? Now try it tighter. What changed? Is it better or worse?

Shadow spooking crabs off the line ?
Look for shadows on the water. Are there shadows crossing the line? Do crabs jump off when they cross a shadow? Try running in the other direction, did it help? The sun should generally be on the same side of the boat as your propstick when you run the line.

Line tension: As others have said you should be able to dip the crab before he's coming up out of the water. Ideally when (based on water clarity) you can just reliably make out that there IS a crab. If you don't already, I recommend you attach a THIRD independent line to a separate buoy or float from your weight/anchor that you can use to easily slide the anchor around to tighten and loosen the line. Getting the crab in the right spot for dipping where you dip from is a product of water depth, line tension, and propstick placement (height, distance from dipper).

Drop/tag lines should be LOOONG! The longer the lines from your anchor to buoy and buoy to chain/trotline the easier things will generally be. I recommend no less than 50' even if you're only running in 5' of water. I started out using a set of 25' drop lines and everything was just... harder. Now I mostly use 50' lines in summer and early fall. I never run the 25' lines anymore now but I DO sometimes attach the 25' to the 50' to make 75' drop lines for spring and late fall when I'm running deeper than 10' of water!!! This can make a lot of difference. 10x the water depth is not at all unreasonable.

Just keep at it. It's tricky at first because there are a lot of things that need to come together to get in the sweet spot, but you'll get there. Once it starts to come together you'll start to get a feel for what's going wrong when things aren't working well. It's pretty cool when you're on a hot line and catching well!

Good breakdown of the basics.  And time for trial and error to dial it in.  Most average days and conditions, trotline should be out performing rings IMO.
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