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Slow Trolling Live Eels For Monster Stripers | Cape Cod Kayak Fishing

Ryan Collins

Slow-trolling live eels is a super effective way of fooling big striped bass on Cape Cod, especially during late summer and early fall.

Slow-trolling is a relatively simple technique to learn, and in this video tutorial I will try to explain all the details of this deadly kayak tactic.

For this trip, I "mother shipped" the kayak out to an underwater rock reef. Slow-trolling live eels above and around the rock reef produced more than a dozen bass from 15-40 pounds.


Click play below to watch! 👇

Video timestamps:

  • 00:00 - mother shipping the kayak to the fishing grounds
  • 01:30 - starting the slow-troll and first hookup
  • 04:20 - second hookup (casting eel)
  • 06:50 - how to set the hook during the troll
  • 08:48 - big topwater hit!
  • 09:12 - final big bass on the slow-troll

Tackle & Equipment:

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Cant wait to get out and feel the thump!!!! Enjoyed the tips!!

    1. Keep us posted with how the fishing is for you Kevin. Gluck!

  2. I am new to fishing with eels and I find that as the eel twists on the hook it causes overhand knots in the leader. These knots squeeze the eel and get in the way of a pure connection between the eye of the hook and the line going to my rod tip. It usually happens after a few casts and gets progressively worse the more I use the same eel without a hit. Is there anything I can do to prevent this? I have been unlooping the leader from around the eel but it’s hard to see if there is a problem when fishing at night.

    1. To prevent the eel from twisting, whack him several times with authority on a rock or hard object before hooking him. That will “stun” him and help prevent the dreaded “eel ball.”

      I’ve had very good success using eels that were on the verge of death, or already dead, when fishing from shore. The slow retrive imparts all the action that is needed.

      I do not typically “stun” eels when fishing from the boat, because I am typically in deeper water and want the eel to be alive so it can swim all the way to the bottom.

      However from shore, stunning the eel is definitely a must. Hope that helps Dex!!!

      1. Thanks Ryan,
        The canal seems to be the gray area. Would I be correct in assuming that a lively eel would be used during a strong current so the eel would be able to fight the current and swim towards the bottom in the deeper water while a stunned eel would be used when the current is diminished?

        1. Yes. A lively eel would be more effective in getting down in the Canal’s current.

          An alternative would be to use a rubber core sinker, attached to the leader, 12 inches up from the hook.

  3. Great day on the water. Fun watching from the Miss. Loretta

    1. Sure was a day to remember! Thanks for tagging along.

  4. Great trip looks like a lot of fun. Think I know where but you did a good job of leaving the shoreline out. Nice you had it all to your self. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It was terrific Paul and I’m sure you know where I was! LOL

      1. With this wind today I wonder if they would blow into shore catching distance. Might have to take a look at dusk.

        1. I believe they came within reach from shore on Monday evening.

          I was returning from a tuna trip and I noticed a couple boats in real tight. I think high tide along that section of beach is probably best.

          Real tough in there at low tide with slippery rocks and weeds.

  5. Awesome video!

    Why does the eel end up several feet above the hook every time you land a fish in the video? Is it somehow working its way up the leader? Or did you rig it in an unusual way for the kayak?

    1. Thanks! The eel often slides up the line when fighting a bass. It’s just what happens and I’m not doing anything special.

  6. Hi Ryan,
    Nice catch. What setup have you been using from the kayak?

    1. Thanks Charles! I’ve been using a stout 6 foot Ugly Stik paired with a Penn Battle 6000, 40lb Power Pro and 50lb mono leader with a 7/0 Octopus Gamakatsu hook.


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