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Mark's Mailbag - Tadpole Resettable Diving Weights

Mark's Mailbag are occasional posts to the blog in response to questions people submit on the Fishing 411 website.  Mark personally responds to the question and when relevant, we repost his answer here.  If you have a question you would like to ask Mark, please visit us at

On June 8th, Mark replied to Travis concerning a question about Precision Trolling Data.  The following email exchange was prompted by Mark's original reply to Travis and discusses Offshore Tackle Tadpole Resettable Diving Weights.  The information is so good, we are sharing the email exchanges with the rest of our fans.

On June 8, Mark wrote: 

Travis, Your investment in the Precision Trolling Data app is indeed a good investment. Literally hundreds of lures and trolling devices have been tested and the respective diving depths documented using scuba diving methods to test, confirm and document every data point. Your first concern about trolling speed is a common one. Actually when trolling floating/diving style crankbaits trolling speed has little or no influence on how deep the lure actually runs. Most anglers mistakenly think that as they speed up the lure dives deeper because they can feel the bait working harder. Actually the bait is working harder and trying to dive deeper, but at the same time increased friction on the fishing line negates any additional depth. That stated we test our floating/diving crankbaits at about 2.0 to 2.5 MPH which is an average trolling speed.

Trolling speed plays a major role when dealing with sinking or negatively buoyant devices like lead core line, snap weights, keel sinkers, Tadpole Divers, etc. In the case of these devices we post the trolling speed right on the app and we use GPS technology to accurately maintain trolling speed throughout the entire testing process. Also, in many cases we actually test at multiple trolling speeds to provide the maximum amount of trolling data.

As for line diameter options, the vast majority of our devices are tested on at least two line types and diameters such as .013 monofilament and 10/4 Fireline. Others are tested on line types or diameters ideal for using these devices like for example the diving planers are typically tested on 30# test super braid. It’s also important to note that .013 monofilament is about the same diameter as 40# test super braid, further giving anglers line options in which to fish without giving up any depth data.

It simply isn’t possible to test every lure on every line diameter and type. The data you have in your app has taken over 20 years to collect and the process never ends. Every summer we test new lures and diving devices in an effort to expand the wealth and value of the Precision Trolling Data app. While we would love to test every line diameter, that would require an army of scuba divers to accomplish and all that data would be overwhelmingly difficult to manage and display on an app. Our goal is to provide anglers with as much data as practical and to make sure the data we provide is rock solid accurate.

It might help you to also know that years ago we did a line conversion chart for our Precision Trolling books. That chart confused more people than it helped because the fishing tackle industry had and still has no standards for line diameter to break strength ratios. I can tell you that for every line diameter you go up or down, the amount of influence on the maximum diving depth of a typical lure is less than two feet. In other words if you fish 12# test instead of the 10# test we test on you are only losing about two feet of diving depth when the lure is fished on the longest practical lead lengths. In other words, line diameter isn’t the most profound variable influencing the diving depth of lures. Actually lead length is the big factor in determining diving depths of lures and the one we pay exceptionally close attention to.  

I hope I answered your questions.

Best fishes,

Mark Romanack

On July 7, Travis wrote:

Mark, thank you so much for your detailed answer to my questions. I have had a few chances already to get out and use my new app. Because of the precision trolling app I have also learned new ways to pull different crank baits I've never used or maybe even heard of before. The newest tackle I bought is the offshore tadpole weights. I understand how the weight works but what type of crankbait is best for this system? 

Again, Thanks for your help, 


On July 8, Mark wrote:

Travis, The Off Shore Tackle Tadpoles can be used with a variety of terminal gear. I fish them often using crawler harnesses at the terminal end and I have also had great success using them with spoons fished on a six foot leader. You can fish any shallow diving crankbait (stickbaits like the Rapala Minnow) behind the Tadpole as well.

We’re also experimenting with ways to rig the Tadpole in-line for use with deep diving crankbaits. I suggest you check out this video link for details on that front.

Best fishes,

Mark Romanack

On July 8, Travis wrote:

Mark, I watched the the you tube video you sent. Thank you. NICE FISH! Of course you answered my question and of course a new one came up in your answer. I'm wondering what the reason is to put the curly ques in the line between the clips. Also, I live in Rapid City, SD, do you ever speak at seminars in my region? You fish the way I like to fish and have a thousand questions that you probably have many answers for.

On July 13, Mark wrote:

Travis,  The reason we twist the line before putting it into the OR19 release is it makes it easier to release the Tadpole when a fish strikes. The Tadpole is still attached via the OR16 Snap Weight Clip, so you don’t have to worry about losing the Tadpole. This option prevents the Tadpole from diving when a fish is hooked and makes it easier to reel in the fish. 

Combining Tadpoles in-line with diving crankbaits is new technology and we have lots yet to learn about this fishing method. The good news is with guys like you out there helping us field test these products, the learning curve is going to be a steep one. Thanks again for writing and maybe we will show up in South Dakota one of these days. I have traveled to your part of the world many times and hope to return again sometime soon. SD is a fishing and hunting paradise and that you can take to the bank.

Best fishes,

Mark Romanack