The Shotgun Big Game Fishing Trolling Position!
Lets take a moment to discuss this ever so important spot in the big game sport fishing spread. Whether you are fishing for fun, or a more serious wahoo, marlin, tuna or mahi tournament, this single spot in the spread is often the most productive. But, depending on the species you are fishing for, it can vary.
To define the shotgun position in the spread it is usually close to dead center and the farthest lure from the boat.
First: Wahoo Fishing
Generally, we think of Wahoo coming up and hitting in the propwash or close in on the spread. Very true, for Wahoo Fishing, this might be the more important spot, but the shotgun can bring some big fish and sometimes a big paycheck to the tournament team. If the tournament is geared towards wahoo, or if your goal for the day is wahoo, you can use this position in a non-traditional way that works more than you would imagine. I like to run a deeper diving 7 inch to 10 inch lure like a MagBay Desperado or a Yo-Zuri Bonita style Lure. In the shotgun? Yes in the shotgun. Believe it or not big wahoo sometimes tail behind, they see the teasers, the propwash and then the bigger diver in the back catches their eye. If Wahoo is the goal, keep the surface plunger resin head on the boat and give it a diver a try, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Second: Marlin Fishing
Most marlin fishermen know this is the most important spot in the spread. As I look back into my trolling spread at 7 to 8 knots and watch for that ever so beautiful fin, or the dash of blue under the surface, I have noticed the first spot my eyes check by nature is right behind the shotgun. It is on average the most struck lure when fishing strictly marlin. It is often the best lure to drop back as well, but takes an attentive captain and skipper to hook the fish as the line length can become great by the time you set the hook. If the marlin takes the shotgun lure, especially after a drop back, the Captain must move fast to move the boat forward fast enough and long enough for the hook to set. The Angler or skipper cannot do it on their own. This is different on a short corner or even a rigger as the time it takes for all to be tight in those positions is less. When you see a marlin in front of the boat. It is easiest to get them to take the shotgun lure as well. As the captain rounds the fish bringing the rigger lure very close by, I often see the marlin consider it but continue. When he runs in into the shotgun lure he can no longer resist, will often follow it and hopefully eventually strike. Marlin will often come from the side, but then follow the bait or lure and strike with their bill. If they are not in a frenzy, it is a patience game as they are not always fast to try and swallow the lure. This is why their last chance is the shotgun lure, and also why it is so important to keep it in front of them.
Third: Mahi, Dolphin, Dorado
These fish often take the shotgun lure, but eat differently than marlin. They act more sporadically and grab what they see. If the goal is dorado, we almost always run a surface plug of some sort. If mahi mahi is one of the larger species being targeted then a great lure is a MagBay Plug or a Cedar Plug, if larger fish like sailfish and marlin are also around and hoping to catch we would run a straight cup face or angled head kona style lure such as Panamania or Currican Vallarta. For thse fish, the shotgun is just another lure in the spread that gets hit, but is not always the goto.
In conclusion, there are many methods to use the shotgun. I always recommend you try several and see what works best for you and your spread. We encourage you to comment and let us know