Controlled drift, How to set up boat

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by powercat, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. powercat

    powercat New Member

    Messages:
    90
    State:
    Olathe,Ks/Fish Gravois Mi
    I presently have a 20 ft boat that we drift from the side and two of us are able to fish three poles per person. I presently have a 65# trolling motor in the front with a short foot pedal control which works find for netting shad. My sonar and GPS are located on the side console to the back of the boat. It is apparent that to have a controlled drift you will need to fish from the back of the boat and not the side. I read the article in In-fisherman about controlled drift and have been giving some thought on how to set up the boat. The following are some random thoughts I had and would appreciate feedback.

    Possible solutions.

    1. Add a second sonar to the trolling motor in the front and control your drift using this sonar, 15 ft from where your rods are.

    2. Purchase a second trolling motor to use on the back of the boat. I am not sure that it will fit on the boat and allow room for the controls of the primary motor.

    3. Buy one of the new trolling units that attach directly to the motor and use the boat controls to control the drift. Expensive.

    4. Buy a devise to place over the prop of the primary motor to slow it down and use it as the trolling motor. Possible noise problem while drifting and not sure the speed will be slow enough.

    5. Buy a new trolling motor for the front of the boat that has a long control cable that could be ued from the back of the boat. They also sell motors with a remote control. The trolling motor I have now is new and works fine.

    6. Forget about controlled drift and just keep on fishing.

    Intersted in hearing back from the BOC
     
  2. BAM

    BAM New Member

    Messages:
    827
    State:
    Tennessee
    You didn't specify what kind of boat you have, so here are a couple of ideas. If the boat allows transom mount trolling motor hung over the side mid boat, Drift socks to help control speed and direction. Rod rack across the back with 6 rod holders, or 4 holders across the back and 2 mounted on each side up front. The possibility's are almost endless.
     

  3. powercat

    powercat New Member

    Messages:
    90
    State:
    Olathe,Ks/Fish Gravois Mi
    It is a Sea Ark Jon boat. I didin't think of mounting on the side like on a canoe, Thanks for the great idea.
     
  4. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    To me a drift is a drift. I guess the only reason you would want to do it with the boat parallel to the current is to use the trolling motor to slow you down and not drift as fast. My understanding is thats what drift socks are for...but heck, the closest river to me is not even deep enough to wade fish... you can wade it without getting the top of your tennis shoes wet. LOL
     
  5. powercat

    powercat New Member

    Messages:
    90
    State:
    Olathe,Ks/Fish Gravois Mi
    My understanding what they were doing in the article was to bring the boat directly over underwater structures using their sonar to find the precise ledge or drop-off. The fish were biting primarily in these locations. I am asking for suggestions on how to rig the boat to accomplish this. You could anchor in this area but they were controlling their drift with a trolling motor to get back to these areas.
     
  6. KnotGillty

    KnotGillty New Member

    Messages:
    401
    State:
    Northern Califo
    I too have a 20 foot boat. I use an electric bow mount 80 pound thrust minnkota with the wireless remote that I wear on my wrist. This allows me to control the electric motor from anywhere in the boat. This will allow you to stay on top of any spot with minimal effort without engine noise. It also allows you to easily control the motor even when fighting a fish.

    Good luck to you.
     
  7. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Hopefully John Jamison will be along to explain it better, but the kind of "drifting" they were doing in the King Kat Classic was done entirely with a good trolling motor, good electronics (GPS and sonar) and good maps. Take away one of those elements and you might as well let the wind blow you where ever it wants.

    Boat control is difficult to learn but as John can testify, it's well worth the time and effort to master. It's a technique that's high on my list of "new things" to work on this year.

    But there's a lot more to it than just putting the boat exactly where you want it -- you have to be able to read sonar and GPS maps well enough to know when you've found the spot that you need to position on. Add in some stiff wind, a little bit of current and trying to juggle 3 rods all at once and you can imagine how much work it takes to get good at it.


    Now, if you'd rather take a simpler approach and just let the wind do the work for you, your results can still be very good, provided you pick the right line to drift, read the wind properly and keep an eye on the GPS so you know whether you're in the right location or not.

    For that kind of fishing, I'm a strong believer in drifting with the stern of the boat into the wind -- you get a whole lot less rocking side to side and there's less surface area of the boat exposed to the wind, meaning you don't need as many or as big of a drift sock to slow you down. I can fish 5 or 6 rods at a time out the stern of my boat, usually without making too much of a mess -- but the trick in that is to stagger the location of each line by 40 or 50 yards -- the ones in the center should have the most line out, with progressively less as you work your way to the outside. Some guys use rods with line counters so they know exactly where their line is; I haven't gotten that advanced yet.
     
  8. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    If drifting a river with current like I do. I run the trolling motor at a speed that allows me to move. But not as fast as the current. Say the current is moving at 2.7 MPh I will set my Minn-kota auto pilot on the course I need to drift. And then set the variable speed at a speed that will allow the boat to move slow. Most times with the current like above. The boat is doing 1 MPH or a little less.
    Also my bait or baits are behind the boat, say around 75 ft behind the boat. Works great. I pump the rod and allow the bait to settle back down to the bottom. Then pump it again and let it set back down again. Gives the fish lots of time to take the bait.
    I am watching the depth finder on the console and the front of the boat. Also the GPS. AS I have marked the ledges and stuff. And may move side ways to get from one spot to the next.
    Now I only fish with one rod per person doing this. If theres current.
    Now if I am in the lake. I will set out rods all around the 20ft boat. The ones on each side are around 22 ft apart. And then some in the middle on the back and front.
    As Mr.t stated the team that won big in Al was fishing like we have fished here for years on end. Its not a new way just catching on around the country.

    Also like Bam you can set it up with a trolling motor on the side of the boat and side pull or drift.
    Theres lot so ways to do it. And trust me, Controlling the boat and drifting will out catch being anchored any day.
    I have had lots of days were my wife and I would be loading the boat and everyone around us. Well they can't figure out why we are catching fish and there not. But there moving with the current and winds. And way to fast.
    Lasts say your bait comes over a fish fast. If he is not bad hungry he may pass it up.
    But let that same bait stay in that fishes face and he will take it.

    Try drifting where your in control and see if its not a great way to catch lots of fish.
    Pete
     
  9. KnotGillty

    KnotGillty New Member

    Messages:
    401
    State:
    Northern Califo
    Also, it's easier to control the boat by pulling it (electric motor in front / bow) than to control the boat by pushing (motor in rear / stern). This is especially true in breezy conditions as a front mounted motor allows for more precision.
     
  10. Tiny

    Tiny New Member

    Messages:
    118
    State:
    Oklahoma
    I also use the MinnKota PowerDrive Autopilot with the co-pilot addon ... these are some seriously useful trolling motors and allow you to have really great boat control, even while you're doing other things like throwing a thrownet in high winds .. being able to hover over a big school of shad in 20 mph winds is great and not having to be up on the bow wind these big waves are a problem .. just drop the motor down and run the trolling motor from the remote and I keep mine in my pocket and have memorized the buttons so I don't have to look at them and make adjustments for whatever ... the great thing about them is they use a compass type deal to keep them on the same heading or pointed where you put them. when I'm needing to be more precise on the speed to hover over fish I'll get out the foot control and sit back in the captain's chair and set the speed on it and then flip the continuous run switch on and if the wind is like 5 mph then all I need it on is the #2 speed ... if I'm wanting to go foreward slowly put it on the #3 speed setting. If I want to relocate fish I'll set it on #10 ... smooth and stealthy like that. when river drifting I just use it in the same manner and if I locate a bunch of fish in one area then I'll just simply turn the motor and set the speed to match the current and drop some heavy carolina rigs down to the depth the fish are at with live shad or cut ... ain't much for underwater structure in the arkansas where I fish but once in a while you see them stacked up pretty good and I'll fish for them like that and sometimes I'll go above them just a little ways and drop my front anchor which is also ran remotely from my cennter console ... I've got two anchor winches I can drop from the center console for added boat control ... if I'm ever drifting in the lake I have several options like a big log chain on the anchor rope if the wind is blowing really hard but normally I have 4 drift socks if I'm planning on drifting ... two 60" adjustable socks and two 42" ... when I drift it's usually in the winter over scattered fish ... I normally anchor fish all the time but if they're really scattered I'll make a super slow drift. The power drive trolling motors with the co-pilot addon run around $1000 and up. worth evey penny too.
     
  11. kansas bluecatter

    kansas bluecatter New Member

    Messages:
    71
    State:
    Kansas
    Powercat, Shilo Red pretty much explained what I do and others around the country do pretty accurately but I will try to expand on what he said. I run a 2025 Lund with a 80 pound 24 volt Minn Kota Maxuum. I do a controlled drift so I can stay on a particular piece of structure. This requires a good working knowledge of electronics and GPS functions. When fishing current like on the Missouri River it is critical to slow your boat down so the fish have enough time to react to the bait as it moves by. If fishing the Missouri or Mississippi in current that is perhaps 3 mph you want to slow your boat down to about 1/2 the speed of the current. In this case to 1 1/2 MPH. When bottom bouncing on the river you also want to make sure your are hugging the structural element the Blues are associtating with. In most cases on a river system this will be the channel drop or edge. So you must keep your boat moving parallel with this as you slowly ease your boat down stream. You do not want to make a slow drift out in the middle of nowhere. It is critical to stay where the fish are. When doing a controlled drift on a Lake be it Wilson, Milford or whatever we do this so we can precisely present baits to fish that are relating to a specific piece of structure. I will start by identifing certain drops or structural elements at home before I ever go to a body of water. I will review my Navionics maps and make waypoints to specifically target certain areas before I ever go to a lake. This type of fishing can be very productive but takes time and patience. One more thing that I might mention is that sometimes when fish are scattered it is still better to use a drift sock so you can cover more ground. You have to adjust to all situations. That's why it is essential in my estimation to know how and when to do a controlled drift, drift with a wind sock, anchor fish, or walk baits down a current seam from an anchored position. I think it should be all catfishermen and catfishwomens goal to master as many different forms of fishing as possible to become the best that you can be. Hope this helps. By the way I live in Spring Hill only 7 miles from Olathe so if you ever want to see how my boat is set up just PM me and I will be glad to show you. John Jamison
     
  12. duckalot

    duckalot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,971
    State:
    Missouri
    Well I guess I have a few Questions. We have drift fished below Truman in the spring and caught fish and I have always wanted to try it in the Mo. river. I thought you had to keep your lines as vertical as you could. we would lower our baits strait down below the boat and raise them up and down bumping the bottom as we drifted down stream. I figured if you let it drag the bottom behind the boat you would be hung up all the time.
    So do you run your trolling motor against the current to slow the boat, while pulling baits behind the boat? I guess you are going with the current? I would like to understand more about this kind of fishing.
    Its kind of like hunting, I would rather spot and stalk anytime over the set and wait method. Thanks for all your help Guys. Rob
     
  13. powercat

    powercat New Member

    Messages:
    90
    State:
    Olathe,Ks/Fish Gravois Mi
    I drift fish the Lake of the Ozarks (LOZ) which has smaller hills (humps) covered with water. We drift fish these areas with 100 to 150 ft of line behind the boat and use a drift sock to slow the drift down. I have been trying to figure how to rig the boat so that I would have a controled drift and be in the productive part of the hump for a longer period of time.
     
  14. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    Get ahold of John and he will steer ya in the right direction.On the river we have done it with a trolling motor and your bait will be ahead of ya after ya get the method down. John can explain it better than I can because I am still learning it.
     
  15. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    The first order of business is being able to identify the "productive part of the hump", presumably on your GPS (using landmarks on the shore won't work with the degree of accuracy you need) -- if you're able to do that, the next step is to be able to repeatedly position your boat in such a way that it takes yoru bait through that location, at a speed that will get cats to bite.

    Since you're talking about fishing in a lake with no current, your options are to either let the wind blow you or to use an electric trolling motor to move the boat.

    A trolling motor with "auto pilot" is really just about the only way to accurately control where the boat goes -- those type of motors go the direction you point them and maintain that course, compensating for wind (and current if it exists) automatically. And in the case where you want to hold the boat still (or nearly still) directly over the "productive part of the hump", an auto pilot motor can take an awful lot of the work out of the task.

    Trying to maintain a specific line of travel using a traditional foot-operated trolling motor is a frustrating experience that you'll quickly gro tired of - you end up wobbling left and right constantly, never really holding the line you wanted. I spent probably a dozen windless days on Truman last summer trying to use my old-style trolling motor to "drift" where I wanted. The experience showed me clearly that an auto pilot trolling motor is an absolute requirement on my next boat.

    If you can't afford an auto pilot trolling motor (around $1k or so), the other choice is to use a good drift sock and learn to read the wind so that you can use it to your advantage.

    One important thing to keep in mind when you're asking about "drift fishing" here on the BOC is that there are two distinctly different kinds of "drift fishing" -- the knid where you're on a lake with no current and the kind where you're on a river. And when folks answer you, they almost always assume you're referring to whatever kind of "drift fishing" *they* know how to do. So if you don't specify whether you're drifting with current or not, you'll get a lot of answers which, while well-informed and accurate, don't apply to the kind of drifting you're interested in.
     
  16. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn

    I would love to see how your boat is set up. I have looked at the boat like yours on line. And have wonderd how well they would do . Could you post pictures of it?
    Pete
     
  17. brent

    brent New Member

    Messages:
    36
    State:
    texas
    i think ya'll drift different then us but i use a homebuilt drift chute that is 6'x10'. in 20mph wind we can drift the boat at about .7mph. we are sideways and can it keeps it straight and we can drift 10 poles out the side easy
     
  18. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    A controlled drift is best defined as using a trolling motor to maintain your rate of movement over a spacific area in the water. Now in a lake you can get right on top of a point that you are trying to work and really keep your bait in the strike zone longer.The area ya might be working may have a feature on it that the fish are keying on and you may have to refine your presentation to trigger the fish to bite.On the river in current you are trying to say work a ledge and cut your drift to half what the current is running.Your boat position needs to be precise to keep the baits in the target zone and in the fishes face so to speak.It is something that I have not mastered yet but is on the list of needed skills to master.Your baits will be downstream of you a ways and you have to learn to keep in touch with the bottom to maintain proper control of what you are trying to achieve.It is like drop shotting but harder I think. The really good ones can walk the baits and watch the graph and run the trolling motor all at the same time. Talk about multi tasking and all the while facing upstream while doing it.Pete I will say that Johns boat works really well for this and is a great boat to fish out of. But let him explain it to ya in his words.:wink:
     
  19. kansas bluecatter

    kansas bluecatter New Member

    Messages:
    71
    State:
    Kansas
    Pete and Rob, I will try to post pictures of my boat when the weather breaks. By the looks fo things this may be awhile. I just don't won't to try to pull the cover off in the snow and the wind. In the mean time the drawing done by IN-Fisherman is one I submitted to them and fairly accurately represents the way the rod holders are arranged. The way the drawing is shows how we sit in relationship to our rods when drifting a lake. To drift a river my partner Mark still sits in the back and holds only one pole and does not put out anyother rods. I still sit in the front and hold one pole with no other poles in the water. Rob you are correct in your assumption about keeping your baits as vertical as possible when you are in a lake environment. When you are in the river you are letting the current move your boat down river and you are slowing your drift down with the trolling motor to approx 1/2 the speed of the average currrent. Meantime you are "walking" your bait down the river with the lift and fall motion described by Shilo Red in an earlier post. In otherwords when you get proficient at this your baits will be downstream or ahead of the boat. With practice you can learn to walk your baits 30-80 yards ahead of the boat. I can do this even when facing upstream running the trolling motor and electronics. Practice this technique of baitwalking first from an anchored postion until you get the hang of it. When the Catfish In-Sider comes out in April there is an article on how to do this. It will feature myself, Phil King, and Denny Halgren. Hope this answers your questions. John
     
  20. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    State:
    Waco, Texas, Un
    some of u guys seem to be working on different budget than i am. I know some drift socks are under $10 but i had some old 5gal buckets with cracked bottoms.
    i tied these on the front and back of my boat and just toss them in when i want to drift. this with a $2 float on each i have some good drifting socks:wink:
    although the real socks might be better, mine slow me down enuff i think. I can really crawl in any weather that is safe for my boat.