There's no perfect trolling pattern, but there are many ways to improve your trolling. Study these key points that professionals use:
Know your boat: Even boats that look alike have different wakes that vary depending on power, prop style, trim tabs, load, etc. Note positions of the prop wash and clear-water alleys behind your boat. Use outriggers, flat-line clips, lure types and rod placement to position your lures in the most visible spots. Watch how those spots change when you troll up, down or across swells and adjust your lure pattern to each situation accordingly.
Know your crew: The number and proportion of teasers and hooked lures you run may depend on the number of anglers in your boat. When trolling for school tuna, for example, it's possible to have six rods bend double simultaneously. If you have only one or two anglers, you may end up with a monofilament macrame and no fish. Before you set out your lures, be sure you have a game plan and everyone knows what his job will be in various situations.
Lure selection: Match your lure sizes not only to the tackle but also to the species available. For example, you may want to run one marlin lure along with a pattern of tuna feathers. And give your pattern some 3-D appeal. Lures may look good on the surface, but don't neglect the opportunity to send a few diving plugs deep, not only for wahoo but for tuna and marlin as well.
Experiment: If your pattern isn't working, try something different for an hour. Some of the hottest innovations have been discovered either by bold experimentation or luck. - Tony Pauker, San Diego, California