One of the things I wanted to work on this winter was a trolling swimmer. I was talking to Captain Rich over the Jersey Hooker Outfitters last fall about various plugs and I asked him if anyone trolled wooden plugs anymore. With the abundance of adult bunk inshore the past 8 or 9 years, I would think that trolling swimmers would be pretty popular. Apparently, its not though.
As I continued to ask other friends about how they fish from the boat, I got schooled about some boat techniques from my friend Mason, which opened my eyes about aome fishing I didn't know much about.
I gathered lots of info about size, weight, depth, speed and attempted to put together a plug that might fit the bill for what these guys were doing. I am pretty limited in my ability to test a trolling swimmer from shore. The best I could do was head over to the inlet at a peak current and hope for the best. Obviously a sweeping current, isn't the same as the resistance a plug will get being trolled, but it will be have to close enough.
So here is what I cam up with. I went through a few variations and then made a few more. Mason came down from CT to help me out for the Asbury Fishing Club's flea market, and we headed to the inlet to test them out.
General Specs: They are all 8" long and vary from 3.25 to 4 oz.
Top Proto: This one is made from AYC and has a shallow belly weight. We estimated that it swam 4-6 feet deep and hung in the current just fine with no signs of it wanting to roll out.
Middle Proto: This one was made of maple and a bit thinner than the others. I wanted to see if the heavier wood and thinner profile made it swim deeper. It did, but it didn't thump in the current like the others.
Bottom Proto: This one is made from AYC. It has a heavy weight in the belly and is tail weighted. We estimated that it swam 5-7 feet and when we tuned it by bending the eye up, it swam even deeper. It thumped in the current and had no signs of wanting to roll out. It also casted really well which made me think of some jetty tips it could fish nicely.
The winner: The bottom proto! It swam deeper and had a wider swim which we thought was best. Mason said it will troll very well and with a bit of wire, it can get down to real deep spots. I just finished making a dozen of these and will get them into the hands of some fisherman and see what the feedback and criticism. Hopefully a few fish too!