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Whats the ideal woman ? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Don't look for a magic # every boat makes a different wake pattern, has a different sweet spot for the lures, lures, chains, bars are different add in wind, current, wave height, wave frequency, trolling with tide against tide.
I've trolled anywhere from 5 to 9 mph with 61/2 to 8 being most common. However I never set my spread and troll by mph but always by rpm. How much RPM do I need to get the spread looking right, this will ushually be in the tight part of my range
 

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Johnny,
Blue eyes is right.I always start around 8mph,but I watch my little bird chains.I make sure that their fluttering around just right,Same thing if your using spreader bars.Then if the fishing is slow,I'll speed it up alittle,slow it down alittle,and do some zig-zag trolling patterns.You do have to adjust your speed everytime you change direction.

"Fishing with an Attitude"
 

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B. Attitude,
I get the part about each boats trolling speed being different but could you be more descriptive explaining how the individual lures, bars, birds should behave to be "just right".
Thanks,
Mike "Offshore"
 

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Each lure, spreader bar, rigged bait, daisy chain will act differently depending on a number of factors (wave height, speed, position in the spread, weight of the lure, just to name a few). If your lures are breaking the surface and popping from wave to wave, there is something wrong with the manner in which you are using it-you are either moving too fast, in conditions that the lure was not designed for, or need to make an adjustment. For instance, you don't want to be pulling a spreader bar so fast that the baits/lures are collapsing in on each other (afterall, that would defeat the purpose of having a "spreader" bar). Obviously, the key to all of it is to make a presentation that is going to trigger a bite. Adding jet heads to put smoke in your spread may trigger bites on flat days-then again, it might not. There is no magic bullet. Everyone has their own bag of tricks when it comes to presentation (most of which is learned through experience). If you don't subscribe to Big Game Journal, I suggest you pick up a copy. They often have very detailed articles on trolling patterns, strategies, etc. Borrow some of their ideas and see if it works for you. Good Luck!!
 

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Offshore,
unlike other guys I watch the bird teasers and if I'm using spreader bars I'll adjust my speed to them.I feel if they are right ,the lures will follow.I use alot of small 4" bird chains in front of all my lures,at least 4 out of seven rods will have them.I adjust the speed by watching them,I want them to stay in the water and flutter,not skip out and hop.On my boat it falls into place between 6 and 8 1/2 knots.If things are slow,don't stay at the same speed all day,mix it up.Drop down to 6 1/2 knots for a while,then 7 1/2 then maybe 9 knots.If your not using birds or spreader bars and your using things like jets,zukers,clones,they will all do fine at these speeds.

"Fishing with an Attitude"
 
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