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This week's Feature Blog

Depth Control Is A Snap

Ask any angler who trolls a lot and they will willingly admit that being consistently successful is about putting your baits where the fish are. Depth control is everything in trolling because depth control is how trollers insure their presentations are close enough to the fish to elicit a strike.

If that statement seems overly simplistic, don’t underestimate the importance of knowing where your gear is fishing in the water column. With the modern sonar and GPS capabilities anglers have at their disposal, finding fish and staying on them has never been easier. Still, the important question is do you know exactly where in the water column your baits are running?

The Off Shore Tackle Snap Weight is a commonly used trolling weight among anglers who target fish deep below the surface using crankbaits.


Thanks to the Dive Curves provided by the company Precision Trolling Data a host of crankbaits, diving planers, in-line weights and even sinking lines like lead core have been tested and their diving depths at popular speeds documented. This invaluable information is available for purchase in two phone apps including an Android and iPhone version available at the Google and Apple stores respectively.


Recently PTD took a quantum leap in the world of trolling by testing crankbaits in combination with Snap Weights, a popular in-line trolling weight used commonly by anglers to get their favorite crankbaits to deeper depths than those lures naturally run. The soon to be released crankbait/Snap Weight data produced by PTD is based on 16 different specific models of crankbaits fished on controlled lead lengths, using a two ounce Snap Weight and documented at three different trolling speeds.

The first 16 lures selected for testing with Snap Weights were chosen based on the recommendations of avid PTD customers. The most popular and widespread trolling lures made the first round of testing and others will soon follow.

Prior to this ground breaking data, those anglers who fished crankbaits with in-line trolling weights were forced to calculate the diving depth of the lure based on the lead length and then add that number to the diving depth of the in-line weight being used. The result was a rather crude (by PTD standards) total depth estimate that until know was the best available option.

The days of estimating crankbait depth when fishing with Snap Weights are over. Thanks to this new data, trollers can dial in their favorite baits like never before and even better duplicate the most successful set ups over and over again.


Anglers who troll crankbaits for walleye on Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay, the Bay of Quinte, Green Bay, Little Bay de Noc and the western reservoirs are in for a big treat. Like never before this new PTD data allows anglers to troll their favorite crankbaits with precision at deeper depths and also using shorter lead lengths than ever before.

The advantages to the open water walleye trollers should be immediately obvious. Anglers who fish the Central and Eastern Basins of Erie and also the western impoundments will find they can get their favorite crankbaits to depths never dreamed possible.

In addition, anglers can fish small profile baits deep and their favorite large profile baits on shorter and more efficient lead lengths. The new crankbait/Snap Weight data is so accurate anglers can also use this information to scour the bottom for structure loving walleye and the applications don’t stop with just catching walleye.

Walleye like this pair are among the most commonly sought after fish using Snap Weights and diving crankbaits. Thanks to new data available from the Precision Trolling Data apps, anglers will be able to fish with greater precision than ever before.


Several of the baits tested in this first round of research include high action wobblers popular with anglers who fish for brown trout, salmon, steelhead and laker trout. The ability to put crankbaits at almost any practical depth using nothing more than a Snap Weight and the PTD app is simply an astonishing accomplishment.

A host of other species can be caught fishing crankbaits in combination with Snap Weights. The author took this nice brown trout scouring a Mag Lip 3.5 crankbait along bottom in 40 feet of water on Milwaukee Harbor.


Each year the folks at PTD intend to test more specific models of crankbaits with the two ounce Snap Weight and also to expand the data offerings by including dive charts for the three ounce Snap Weight with popular crankbaits. Of course, all this will take time as the testing used to document this unique data can only be accomplished through the use of scuba gear and actual under water observation.

Adding anything to the fishing line, even a small depth probe, influences the diving depth of crankbaits and other trolling hardware profoundly. This is precisely why Precision Trolling Data tests specific lures and lure/weight set ups using scuba gear to confirm depth and just as importantly to confirm that the lure is tuned and running properly. This attention to detail also insures that the lures being tested are not fouled with weeds or other debris that would destroy the lure’s diving characteristics.

The process of testing lures in combination with Snap Weights takes more than twice as long to collect compared to the other popular data published by Precision Trolling Data. The big reason it takes so long to collect this data boils down to speed control and the need to capture data at three different common trolling speeds. To get consistently accurate data, trolling speed must be maintained precisely throughout the entire testing process.

To create useful and repeatable fishing depth data requires carefully monitoring and duplicating all the critical variables. That is precisely how PTD captures the most accurate and easily reproduced data humanly possible.

The challenges to testing and documenting this new trolling data are many, but so are the rewards. Anglers nationwide are going to be able to take trolling to a whole new level, literally.

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