Well it appears (allegedly) that in addition to getting my butt kicked this winter on the Alabama Rig, aka Poodle Rig, umbrella rig, pied piper bass snagger, et al, some of the people doing the pounding on my pink behindness have (allegedly) been strolling the poodle to perpetrate said whipping. What is strollling you might ask? Trolling. Nothing more, nothing less than trolling.
Here's how it works; you chunk the poodle until your arms are about ready to fall off, which doesn't take long. Tired of chunking', you lob your conglomeration of baitfish mimicry out the back of the boat and step on the button of the MotorGuide thereby dragging your poodle around the block, across the top of the brush pile, or over the end of the point where said basses are lurking. Is that legal you ask? Depends on the derby rules.
Trolling as a means of catching bass is against the rules in many tournaments and stated in the rules. "Strolling" is sometimes mentioned in that same rule and sometimes not mentioned. It doesn't appear in the B.A.S.S. rules, but I have heard it come out of Trip Weldon's mouth, so I'm going with that as a fact. In the derbies I've been fishing this winter, there isn't even a rule against trolling, so yes, it's legal. There are multiple sentences against "seeding" "baiting" and "gaffing", but not a word against trolling. Oops. Guess we might have a rule revision in the near future. But trolling refers to using the gas engine to maneuver the boat, doesn't it? Does it? Pretty sure our walleye fishing brothers use electric motors all the time to troll with, so I'm not sure it's a big engine only thing.
That brings us to the question of just exactly what is trolling or strolling and what makes it any different from dragging a tube or a jig or a Carolina rig? Ah, one of those beautiful gray areas of the bass fishing rule world. Just how hard could it be to put a handle on the definition of trolling? You're either chunking' your poodle or you're dragging it, right? If you're dragging it, then you're trolling. Seems pretty simple on the surface. But what if the wind is blowing and you're just drifting with the wind, thereby dragging your poodle or tube or jig, rig, pig, fig, or whatever else you want to use along behind or beside the boat? Is that trolling? I wouldn't think it would be, unless you were using the MotorGuide to position the boat, then it becomes trolling. Simple .
But wait, anglers on the Great Lakes have used that very technique of "controlled drifting" for years to drag tubes on windy days for smallies. Find a hump or rock pile, fight your way upwind, throw out a couple of drift socks, then use the troller to help guide your way to the sweet spot on the hump/ pile. That's how it works and has for years and it's not questioned. So how does that differ from strolling the poodle as some are (allegedly) doing? < Cue the gray area music. > Guess the key word there would be "drifting", even though you're still technically using the MotorGuide to position the bait. If the wind isn't blowing or you're in a protected area out of the wind and on the button of the troller more than off - you're trolling. Kentucky Lake out on the ledges with a north or south breeze - maybe drifting. Out of Sandusky on Erie - drifting. Lake Dardanelle in the pits - trolling.
Don't think for a minute that this is an isolated incident. The A Rig is here for a while and it's getting enough hype and buzz that the bass are going to see it A LOT this spring. It's an effective technique when chunked, but it is absolutely deadly when strolled. Guys who haven't chunked it yet will jump on the band wagon and figure out real fast that it's a handful to play this game. Humans being what we are, will find the path of least resistance to anything that is less than easy- which this technique is not. Why do you think the umbrella rig has been trolled for all these years? Striper guys ain't no dummies.
Bottom line for all you tourney boys; check the rules to see if trolling, strolling, or otherwise walking the poodle rig is in or out with your derbies. Here's a tip for you; if walking the poodle is legal and you're not doing it, you're probably going to take a butt whipping by someone who is.
K-Pink - Chunkin Only