I guess we should be serious here Bill. There several styles of trolling and the big one in the center is usually the shotgun, which for some reason I most often see a Boone bird connected to a surface lure. The bird provided for some splashing effect to make fish curious, but must be wired good to prevent hits such as from toothy 'cuda and wahoo.
One both corners of your boat stern you'll be running "flatlines" sometimes called " short corners." These are fished closer to the boat. Some such as the wahoo fishermen use a deep diver such as the Mann Stretch 30 on the port flatline, sometimes with a deep planer or a dredge. It takes some skill to do this right and there's a lot of tension on the line but it's a great way to get a blow-up.
Then you have your outriggers. A popular one found on outboards are "Taco" telescoping rigs. Larger sportsfishers have longer outrigger poles with two clips so one can run two additional reels port and starboard. These are your "longs" and you might have an inside long and an outside long. These are set not as long as the shotgun but longer than the flatlines; the third wave behind the boat is considered ideal for marlin.
Thus one can run 5 or 7 rigs depending on your outrigger configuration. The idea is to make like you have a school of bait and indeed some fishermen will add teasers right behinf the boat to create even more of a school bait effect.
Much has been written about what the heck to run on all these rigs, and there are entire catalogs of nothing but baits and teasers such as Melton's International
. Some people are fanatics about this and spend big bucks on the Black Barts and stuff. I'd have a good selection of skirted lures with several head designed such as bullet, dart, slanted, and jet-head in several sizes. Remember you've got some pro fishermen on this board and I'm just a deck ape trying to help a guy here ... so go easy on me.
the Bill Fisher talks about is a very common lure, costs less than $30 usually, and can be used with a ballyhoo bait on the hook (ballyhoo spring or head holder recommended). You can't go wrong with about four of these. The lowly and common cedar plug
is a great addition to any lure bag, very good on blackfin tuna and such. As mentioned before, some use extreme divers like the Mann's Stretch 30
. Now we're getting into what are called "hardbaits" because they are not skirted lures. You can't go wrong with the selctions mentioned over here at Offshore Pursuits
Be sure to check out the Yozuri hardbait lineup
such as the Bonita and similar looking lures. Many lure makers have gotten into 3-D and holographic stuff but the best are ones that can stand up to a good chewing from the toothy devils in the water.
A lot of it is confidence. You might try an all-day offshore trolling trip and see what those guys are running behind the boat, since the captain is always going to put his "lucky" ones out first. Buy one of those when it's still fresh in you memory - especially if it landed something.
To me it's all about presentation and bait action, and the colors and holographic stuff doesn't mean much to me. In fact, I fish a bunch of slightly imperfect ones my brother makes, like the powder paint coat or eyes aren't perfect ... the fish ain't going to say "well gee, that's a stupid lure maker there, ptuui." Good luck and I wish I had a grand to blow on lures right now. -sam