20 Pros and Cons of Trolling Plates

Pros And Cons Of Trolling Plates

You might think that trolling plates are the answer to all your fishing woes. After all, they promise to slow down your boat and help you catch more fish. But before you invest in a set of trolling plates, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.

On one hand, trolling plates can be a valuable tool for anglers looking to improve their catch rate. They allow you to control your speed more precisely, which can make all the difference when trying to entice finicky fish.

However, there are also some downsides to using trolling plates that you should consider before making a purchase.

Pros of Trolling Plates

  1. Increased Control and Precision: Trolling plates provide the advantage of slowing down the boat to a specific trolling speed, typically between 1 to 2 mph. This allows anglers to have better control over their fishing techniques, such as trolling for specific species or maintaining a consistent speed for optimal lure presentation. The ability to fine-tune the speed enhances precision and improves the overall fishing experience.
  2. Improved Propeller Efficiency: Trolling plates focus on propeller efficiency by partially blocking the water flow and redirecting it downward. This redirection creates additional drag, which aids in slowing down the boat without relying solely on throttle control. By optimizing propeller performance, trolling plates enhance fuel efficiency and reduce engine strain, leading to longer-lasting engines.
  3. Durability and Longevity: Trolling plates are known for their durability and longevity. Once installed, they can function efficiently for years without requiring extensive repairs or maintenance. This reliability ensures that anglers can enjoy uninterrupted fishing trips and minimize the time and costs associated with regular maintenance or replacement of trolling equipment.
  4. Elimination of Dragging Buckets: Unlike traditional methods such as dragging buckets or using sea anchors to slow down the boat, trolling plates provide a more streamlined and convenient solution. Anglers no longer need to deal with the hassle of attaching and dragging additional equipment. Trolling plates offer a simple and effective way to control speed without cluttering the boat or impeding fishing activities.
  5. Partial Lift Benefits: Trolling plates also offer some lift benefits similar to hydrofoils. By redirecting water flow downward, they create additional lift, reducing the boat’s bow rise and enhancing stability. This feature is particularly useful when navigating through choppy waters or maintaining balance while trolling at low speeds, ensuring a smoother and more comfortable fishing experience.
  6. Quiet Operation: Trolling plates operate quietly, allowing anglers to maintain a peaceful fishing environment. Unlike some other speed control methods that may produce excessive noise, trolling plates minimize motor noise impact, reducing the potential disturbance to fish in the surrounding area. This quieter operation contributes to a more natural fishing environment, increasing the chances of successful catches.
  7. Enhanced Maneuverability: Trolling plates can improve the boat’s maneuverability, especially at lower speeds. By adjusting the plate position, anglers can fine-tune the boat’s response to steering inputs, making it easier to navigate tight spaces, avoid obstacles, or follow specific fishing patterns. The enhanced maneuverability adds flexibility and control to various fishing scenarios.
  8. Easy Installation and Adjustability: Trolling plates are generally easy to install on boats and can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. They can be mounted on the transom or integrated into the existing trim tab system, depending on the specific model. This versatility allows anglers to customize their setup and adapt it to different fishing conditions or boat configurations.
  9. Cost-Effective Solution: Compared to other speed control devices or modifications, trolling plates offer a cost-effective solution. Their relatively affordable price point, combined with the durability and longevity mentioned earlier, make trolling plates a valuable investment for anglers who regularly engage in trolling activities. They provide effective speed control without the need for more expensive or complex equipment.
  10. Compatibility with Various Boat Sizes: Trolling plates are designed to be compatible with a wide range of boat sizes and types, from small fishing boats to larger vessels. This versatility ensures that anglers can enjoy the benefits of trolling plates regardless of their boat’s specifications. The ability to adapt and fit different boat sizes makes trolling plates accessible to a broader range of fishing enthusiasts.

Cons of Trolling Plates

  1. Throttle Feathering Requirement: Achieving the desired speed with trolling plates may require some throttle feathering. This means that anglers need to adjust the throttle and plate position simultaneously to find the optimal balance for the desired trolling speed. While this adjustment process becomes easier with experience, it may initially require some practice and attention, which could be seen as a minor inconvenience.
  2. Concerns about Motor Noise Impacting Fish: Some anglers have expressed concerns that the noise generated by the boat’s motor, even when using trolling plates, could potentially impact fish behavior. While trolling plates themselves help reduce motor noise compared to other speed control methods, the noise generated by the engine may still have some influence on nearby fish. Although the extent of this impact is debatable, it remains a consideration for those who prioritize minimizing disturbances to fish.
  3. Limited Improvement on Plane Times: Trolling plates may not improve on plane times as much as regular trim tab devices would. While trolling plates offer benefits such as increased control and efficiency, they are primarily designed for slower trolling speeds rather than planing at higher speeds. If quick planing is a crucial requirement for a particular fishing style or boat usage, alternative speed control options should be considered.
  4. Reduction in Top Speed: Trolling plates, by design, introduce additional drag to slow down the boat. Consequently, using trolling plates may result in a reduction in the boat’s top speed compared to operating without them. Anglers who prioritize higher speeds for certain fishing scenarios, such as long-distance travel or trolling at faster speeds, may find the reduced top speed a drawback of using trolling plates.
  5. Potential Interference with Propeller Performance: While trolling plates aim to optimize propeller efficiency, there is a possibility that they may interfere with the propeller’s performance to some extent. The redirection of water flow and the creation of additional drag could impact the propeller’s ability to generate thrust efficiently. This interference might result in a slight decrease in overall propulsion performance, although the impact is generally minimal.
  6. Limited Compatibility with Certain Boat Designs: While trolling plates are designed to be compatible with various boat sizes and types, there may be limitations with certain boat designs or configurations. Factors such as a low transom, specific hull shapes, or pre-existing installations can affect the suitability or ease of installation of trolling plates. It is essential to ensure compatibility with the specific boat before purchasing and installing trolling plates.
  7. Plate Adjustment Required for Changing Conditions: Changing fishing conditions, such as variations in water depth, current, or wind, may require adjustments to the trolling plate position to maintain the desired trolling speed. This adjustment process can interrupt the fishing rhythm and may require frequent attention and fine-tuning throughout the fishing trip. Anglers who prefer a more hands-off approach to speed control may find this aspect of trolling plates inconvenient.
  8. Possible Vulnerability to Damage: Although trolling plates are generally durable, they may still be susceptible to damage under certain circumstances. Rough handling during installation, impact with underwater objects, or accidental grounding could potentially cause damage to the trolling plates. While such instances are relatively rare, anglers should exercise caution and be mindful of potential hazards to avoid any unexpected damage.
  9. Additional Weight and Space Occupancy: Trolling plates, like any additional equipment, add weight to the boat and occupy space on the transom or trim tabs. This increased weight can have a minor impact on fuel consumption and boat performance, particularly at higher speeds. Additionally, the space occupied by the trolling plates may limit other potential transom-mounted accessories or equipment, requiring anglers to prioritize and optimize their setup accordingly.
  10. Dependency on Manual Operation: Trolling plates rely on manual adjustments made by the angler to control the boat’s speed. While this provides a hands-on approach to speed control, it also means that continuous attention and manual operation are necessary. Anglers who prefer automated or hands-free speed control options may find trolling plates less convenient, as they require active engagement to maintain the desired trolling speed.
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Please note that the pros and cons provided are based on general considerations and may vary depending on specific trolling plate models, boat designs, and individual preferences.

Key Takeaways

  • Trolling plates have advantages such as improving catch rate, precise control, versatility, and reducing fuel consumption.
  • However, they also have disadvantages, including potential harm to propellers and marine life, so responsible use is important.
  • Factors to consider when using trolling plates include the type of fish, water conditions and depth, and the angler’s experience level.
  • Alternative techniques to trolling plates include slow trolling and drift fishing, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before investing in trolling plates.

Benefits of Trolling Plates

You’re gonna love the benefits of trolling plates – they’ll make your fishing game stronger than ever before!

One of the biggest advantages of trolling plates is their versatility. These plates can be adjusted to fit any kind of boat, making them a great addition to your fishing gear. You can easily control the speed and direction of your boat with the use of these plates, which makes it easier for you to catch fish.

Another benefit of using trolling plates is efficiency. Trolling plates help reduce drag and resistance on your boat, which means less fuel consumption and more time spent on water fishing. Since these plates help regulate speed, you can focus on other aspects of fishing such as baiting or casting without worrying about controlling your vessel’s movement.

Trolling plates allow you to fish in areas where boats with high-speed engines cannot go. With trolling plates, you have greater control over your boat’s speed and direction, allowing you to navigate through shallow waters or tight spots that would otherwise be impossible to reach. This gives you an advantage when targeting specific types of fish that prefer deeper or harder-to-reach areas.

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Overall, utilizing trolling plates during your fishing trip is an excellent way to increase versatility and efficiency while enhancing your overall experience out on the water.

Negatives of Trolling Plates

Unfortunately, trolling plates can lead to unintended consequences and potentially harm relationships. While they may be effective in catching fish, they also have their downsides. One major concern is that trolling plates can damage the boat’s propellers if not used correctly. This could result in costly repairs or even accidents on the water.

Another issue with trolling plates is their effect on marine life. When fishing with a trolling plate, it’s common for the lure to drag along the bottom of the lake or riverbed. This can cause damage to plant life and disturb aquatic animals in their natural habitat. It’s important for fishermen to consider the impact of their actions on the environment and take steps to minimize any negative effects.

Overall, while trolling plates may be an effective fishing tool, it’s important to weigh their benefits against potential safety risks and environmental impact. As shown in the table below, there are both pros and cons to using a trolling plate.

Pros Cons
Increases catch rate Can damage boat propellers
Helps control speed Can harm marine life
Allows for precise May not work effectively in
depth control certain weather conditions
Adds extra weight to boat

Before using a trolling plate, make sure you understand how it works and how to operate it safely. Always follow proper boating regulations and avoid causing unnecessary harm to marine life. By being responsible fishermen, we can enjoy our sport while preserving our natural resources for generations to come.

Factors to Consider When Using Trolling Plates

When using trolling plates, there are a few factors to consider that could greatly impact your success on the water. First and foremost, consider the type of fish you’re targeting – different species have different preferences for speed and lure presentation.

Secondly, take into account the water conditions and depth you’ll be fishing in as this can affect how well the plate works.

Lastly, your own experience level as an angler will also play a role in how effective trolling plates are for you. By keeping these factors in mind, you can maximize your chances of success while using trolling plates on your next fishing trip.

Type of fish being targeted

Choosing the right type of fish to target is crucial when using trolling plates. Whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater, understanding the habits and preferences of your targeted species can make all the difference.

For example, if you’re targeting larger fish, such as salmon or muskie, you may want to consider a heavier trolling plate that can handle the added weight of these bigger catches. On the other hand, if you’re going after smaller species like trout or panfish, a lighter trolling plate will suffice.

Additionally, different types of fish are attracted to different lures and baits. When selecting your trolling gear, take into consideration what kind of bait your targeted species typically feeds on. Some fish prefer live bait while others respond better to artificial lures.

By doing your research and matching your trolling setup with the specific needs and preferences of each targeted species, you’ll increase your chances of success on the water.

Water conditions and depth

Navigating through different water conditions and depths while using trolling plates requires careful attention to the movement and speed of your boat. Current speed and wind direction are factors that should be considered when trolling with plates. The strength of the current can affect the speed at which your lure travels, making it difficult to maintain a consistent depth. Strong winds can also cause your boat to drift off course, affecting the placement of your lure and reducing its effectiveness.

Water conditions and depth also play a significant role in determining the success of trolling with plates. The depth at which you set your lure is important as different species of fish prefer specific depths. Water temperature can also affect fish behavior, influencing how they respond to lures.

Additionally, rough or choppy waters can disrupt the action of your lure, making it less attractive to fish. Understanding these factors and adjusting your technique accordingly can greatly improve your chances of catching fish while using trolling plates.

Experience level of the angler

The proficiency of the angler can greatly impact the effectiveness of using trolling plates while fishing. For beginners, there’s a learning curve when it comes to using trolling plates. It takes some time to understand how they work and how to adjust them properly for different conditions. However, with practice and experience, anglers can master the use of trolling plates and make them an effective tool in their fishing arsenal.

Advanced anglers who’ve mastered the use of trolling plates can benefit greatly from their use. Trolling plates allow for precise speed control while fishing, which can be crucial in catching certain types of fish. Experienced anglers can quickly adjust their trolling plate settings based on changes in water conditions or depth without interrupting their fishing flow.

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Overall, while there may be a learning curve involved for beginners, mastering the use of trolling plates can greatly enhance an angler’s ability to catch fish.

Alternative Fishing Techniques

If you want to up your fishing game, try using a hand line or a cast net instead of relying on trolling plates – you’ll feel more connected to the water and the fish.

Slow trolling and drift fishing are just two alternative techniques that can give you a different experience and potentially better results.

Slow trolling involves moving at a very slow pace while dragging bait behind the boat. This technique is great for catching fish like walleye, salmon, and trout. It gives you more control over your line and allows you to adjust your speed based on what the fish are biting on that day.

Drift fishing is another technique that allows you to be fully engaged in the process of catching fish. To do this, cut off your engine and let yourself drift with the current while casting out your bait. This method is great for catching bottom-dwelling fish like catfish, as well as other species like striped bass or red snapper. By being actively involved in monitoring your line tension and adjusting your casting distance accordingly, drift fishing can be both challenging and rewarding.

Making the Decision: Are Trolling Plates Right for You?

Consider whether you’re ready for a new level of control and precision in your fishing technique by incorporating trolling plates into your arsenal. Trolling plates are an excellent tool to add to your gear if you want to slow down your boat’s speed while keeping it stable, which can help increase the chances of catching more fish.

However, before deciding to purchase trolling plates, you should evaluate their cost effectiveness and impact on catch rate. Trolling plates come with an additional cost that may not be suitable for everyone. Also, they might not work well with every type of boat or water condition. For instance, if you have a small boat that is already light and easy to maneuver, adding trolling plates might not make much difference in controlling its speed. Similarly, if you’re fishing in deep-water conditions where strong currents prevail, trolling plates might not be very effective.

On the other hand, using trolling plates can significantly enhance your fishing experience if used correctly. They allow you to maintain the desired speed without scaring away fish and keep your boat steady even when there are waves or wind gusts. This stability helps create a consistent lure presentation that can attract more fish towards your bait.

Therefore, if you think that trolling plates will improve your fishing game and are compatible with your vessel type and fishing style, then investing in them could be worth it in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What materials are trolling plates typically made of?

You’re curious about the common materials for trolling plates. They’re usually made of durable materials like stainless steel or aluminum, but cost can vary. Be mindful of their environmental impact and consider alternatives before purchasing.

Do trolling plates work better in certain types of water conditions?

When it comes to water conditions, trolling plates can have both benefits and drawbacks. They can impact fish behavior by slowing down the boat’s speed, but may not work as well in rough or choppy waters.

Can trolling plates damage the boat or motor?

You’re probably worried about potential harm to your boat or motor from using trolling plates. Don’t be! While alternatives exist, maintenance tips and longevity make trolling plates a great investment. Plus, they won’t destroy your gear (unless you use them as a battering ram!).

Are there any regulations or restrictions on using trolling plates in certain bodies of water?

Before using trolling plates, check for any regulations on their use in certain bodies of water. They may have an environmental impact on aquatic life. Be mindful and follow guidelines to minimize negative effects.

How do trolling plates affect the speed and efficiency of the boat?

Trolling plates can reduce the speed of your boat, but they also have a positive impact on maneuverability. Fuel consumption may increase slightly, but overall efficiency is improved.


So, should you use trolling plates for your next fishing trip? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

On one hand, trolling plates can help slow down your boat and improve your chances of catching fish. But they can be a hassle to install and may not work as well in certain conditions.

But let’s be real here – why settle for just ‘improving’ your chances when you could dramatically increase them? Trolling plates may have some downsides, but with a little practice and patience, they can lead to some seriously impressive catches.

So go ahead, give them a try – who knows, maybe you’ll end up reeling in a trophy fish that will make all your friends jealous. Happy fishing!