Drifting techniques for NC lakes

Discussion in 'NORTH CAROLINA LAKES / RESERVOIRS' started by Mac-b, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,259
    State:
    North Caro
    I will start it off and offer you'll my techniques for drifting my home lake of Norman and those that want to can offer their home lake experiences.

    First of all, I seldom use a drift sock, but I do have two five gallon buckets attached to ropes that I throw out the back. I rather slow troll into the wind than go with the wind. This is easy with autopilot, but difficult with the manual models.

    Some would say that I drift blind, that is I don't motor over the section that I am going to fish and observe my sonar for bait and arches. One reason I don't do this is that I have kept a fishing diary for over 15 years and the diary tells me that if it is April I need to be in a certain creek fishing in the creek channel or right of left of the creek channel. A high percentage of the time the diary is right and if it is not, it does not take me long to adjust.

    If the wind has been blowing out of the South West for a day or two, I am going to be drifting the North East bank or cove. The reason being that the wind has blown the planton or zooplanton to the opposite side and the bait fish will follow the planton and thus the large cats that feeding will follow the bait fish.

    I am not concern with marking a lot of arches while drifting due to the fact ( don't know whether a scientific study has been done) that catfish can smell dead bait 500 to 800 feet away from the source. As we all know, our sonar only shows a small segment of the space that we have passed over. Also, I do not concern myself with working humps, except in rare cases or drop offs, because they are usually found within the patterns that I have developed over the years. But, if someone has not developed their own patterns, these things they should pay attention to.

    When I'm running my pattern and run across a pod of cats and get several bites, I then leave my pattern and circle back and come across the fish in the same direction as I got the bites.

    Bottom line is, I try to cover the most area I can while traveling 1/2 MPH or less in a given time frame. A high percentage of the time it pays off for me and then there are those days that nothing works. :confused2:
     
  2. killentime99

    killentime99 New Member

    Messages:
    98
    State:
    north carolina
    I do most of my drifting with the wind, put the drift socks out to help slow boat down although i also have trolled into wind with trolling motor but always seem to catch more going with wind (maybee just luck). Remember as Mac said always put motor in gear when trolling, cant say this is definent cause but I lost a foot in last badin tournement just started making loud sqweeling noise, got it home to find no oil in foot for the shaft seal was shot.
    there was line wrap around shaft dont know when it got there although it was serviced and prop installed in the spring...
     

  3. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,160
    State:
    NC
    I don't like to troll into the wind, and avoid it as much as possible. Most times I can only get bites when moving with the wind, but fish have been and will be caught when you go against the grain!! When all else fails you have nothing to lose!

    One trick I learned from Mudkip is what I call a "power turn". If you want to turn around and go back over a spot, or cover an area that you believe has snags or is devoid of fish, you can turn your trolling motor up to its highest setting and go as fast as you can go! Once you get to around 1.25-1.50 it will pull your drift rigs off the bottom and allow you to turn the boat much easier and with with less chance of tangling lines.

    LakeNormanBlues forgot to mention his technique for staggering how far out his lines are. Incrementally placing the lines at 125, 100, and 75 feet or so behind the boat will allow you to make turns and fight fish with less chance of tangling. Some folks like more or less distance, but the varying length is important.
     
  4. gearhead

    gearhead New Member

    Messages:
    274
    State:
    China Grove, NC
    I drift with the wind sideways so that I can put out 6 rods and cover a larger area. I use a large 60 "sock on a small 16' jon boat and also have a 32" sock which I will use along with the other if the wind is real strong. I also troll with the 32" sock out the back and can pull 4 rods reguardless of what the wind is doing and troll in and out of coves or creek channels. I don't think you can go to slow but you can go to fast. I use 1 1/4 oz. slinkys most the time with a 2 1/2" float on a 18' to 24" leader with a 6/0 gama octopus circle.Hooking the shad through the mouth and out the head above the eyes and cutting the tail off. Sometimes I fillet one side not cutting it off, from the tail up to the head side and thread it through the eyes and fold the fillet side up and hook it, cutting the tail off also so it does'nt spin. How do some of you guys rig up?:eek:oooh:
     
  5. Bryan8552

    Bryan8552 New Member

    Messages:
    422
    State:
    nc
    When baiting with whole fish, we filet one side as gearhead described from tail to head without removing filet. We then cut off the nose and hook through from inside the head cavity out the top of the head (exposes more hookpoint). We let the filet dangle loosely. If fish are short striking we add a stinger hook to the tail area. We vary our leader lengths anywhere from 24" with the cork 6" from the hook to 7 feet with the cork 2 feet from the hook. Kahle hooks give us a much higher hook up ratio with fish (and stumps) and the longer leaders generally catch more and bigger fish than the shorter ones. We use from 1-1/4 to 3 oz pencil sinkers and 2-1/2 to 3 inch corks, depending on depth of water being fished, cause it takes more lead to stay on bottom in deeper water while drifting. We slow troll into the wind at less than 1/2 MPH GPS. We run four or five drift rigs way out the back with the rigs closest to the center of the boat being much farther out than the outer ones (helps prevent tangling when turning). We always put out a few down lines, although we rarely catch fish on them they are great for direction control. At a glance, you can tell by the tilt on the lines exactly what direction you're going. Just because GPS is registering 0.0 mph don't neccessarily mean that in reality you're sitting still. Backing up into your lines ain't good!
     
  6. Bryan8552

    Bryan8552 New Member

    Messages:
    422
    State:
    nc
    I agree wholeheartedly with LakeNormanBlues, concerning the difficulty of a controlled drift without the autopilot. For me it is nearly impossible but I have found a cure. My twelve year old son (Chris) has exactly twelve years of experience (working full time) with the controls of video games. He is an expert in his field. We place the footcontroller on the steering wheel and put him at the helm. He can watch the speed indicator on the GPS and ensure we don't exceed 1/2 MPH, while watching the downlines to ensure we are definitely maintaining forward motion (with his left eye), and at the same time control the left, right, and speed controls of the trolling motor with his hands, while keeping his right eye on the sonar to stay within our target depth and give constant verbal updates as to the size and depth of arches as they appear, all this without ever backing into the lines on a windy day. My eight year old son (Ryan) stands at the stern of the boat, facing aft, rocking from foot to foot like Bjon Borg, watching the rod tips for any sign of activity. If he detects a strike he will "pounce" on the rod immediately, while screaming "THIS ONE'S MINE". I sit on the bow, endlessly retying drift rigs to make up for those stumps and kahles. Those long leaders seem to get considerably more hits for us and surely don't get hung up as often.
    Want to have some fun? Take a couple kids with you!
     
  7. Quint

    Quint New Member

    Messages:
    293
    State:
    N.C.
    I like to use drift socks, put 2 or 3 socks out and go sideways in low to moderate wind. In moderate to high wind put 2 or 3 socks out the front and go backwards. Target wind blown structures points, creek mouths etc. If no wind or light wind use trolling motor, but the bite is much better when you have wind. I also have much better luck going with the wind not against it at 0.3-1mph. I run a variety of rigs using sinker slides with pencil or snake weights on all rigs. The sinker sides allow you to remove and change weight size with ease, the pencil and snake weights do two things reduce drag and reduce hang ups. I run 1-3oz lead depending on rig, speed, and bait size. On bottom rigs start with sinker slide with lead, bead, swivel, 5ft leader with 3 inch float half leader or a little less then hook. Bottom rigs I run lines out 75 and 100 yards. The bottom rig also works well for suspended down lines. I also run suspended slip float rigs and get them away from the boat. I also run free lines at times just swivel leader and hook add 1/8 lead at times. If you get hung while drifting go back over your rig and a little beyond it in the direction you where coming from and then pull it will come free 99% of the time. I also plan on learning how to use planner boards while drifting.
     
  8. pop pop

    pop pop New Member

    Messages:
    972
    State:
    Lake Green
    This is a great thread! Mac I've started keeping a log book recently. I believe it can give ya an educated high % starting point pending seasonal patterns. When winds are blowing hard enough to push the boat I'll go with it. It's just easier for me to control the drift . I have 2 drift socks and I can use 1 or both to contol speed. I try to keep speed between .3 to .5 and stagger out my 6 drift rod to different lengths like Wyliecat mentioned. Like you I also make small drifts over an area thats producing bites and catches. I also offer different baits and sizes of chunks. This way the cats tell me what they want. :wink:
     
  9. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,259
    State:
    North Caro
    It has been several weeks, seems like several months, since I have been on the lake drifting for cats. This thread has got me in the mood. I have to fish for stripers tomorrow, but come Tuesday I will either be on Norman or Lake X fishing for the mighty blue.

    I have a freezer full of gizzard shad, bass, stripers, blue backs, white perch, etc. Best bet is to thaw out some gizzard shad and white perch, plus use up some of my gold trout.

    I just might look for Prime Time's old indian while I'm out there drifting. Naw, can't do that, I don't have one of those side view sonars. Maybe, he will just come out of the water and fish with me. Might learn a thing or two from him. :big_smile:

    In the spirt of the holidays, if I don't go to Lake X on Tuesday, if any of you brothers or sisters (up to three people) want to tag along, just PM me and we will go fun fishing (no charge). We will catfish, plus put out two planer boards for stripers and maybe a big blue.
     
  10. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,259
    State:
    North Caro
    I just got word from turfman that he can not make the Tuesday trip to Lake X and we will do it Wednesday or Thursday. So, I will be drifting LKN Tuesday for the mighty blue.
     
  11. ncfowler

    ncfowler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,630
    State:
    NC
    Name:
    Jeff
    maybe i drift a little stange i like to drift sideways which permits me to fish the whole side of the boat. using drift socks to keep me sideways and the trolling motor to keep me on the drift line. Like most of you i fish a certain lake and know what to expect in a certain time of year. I have several sizes socks for i use in either single or combination of pairs acording to conditions.
     
  12. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel New Member

    Messages:
    353
    State:
    NC
    Jeff any action over at the hollow lately? I have been so busy that I have not had time to get out. I am starting to itch.
     
  13. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,259
    State:
    North Caro
    The Weather Channel is calling for winds of 20 to 30 MPH on Tuesday, so, we will have small craft warnings out for that day. Some times they are right and some times they are not!

    As of right now, I have two people (jrod79 and his brother) wanting to go on the freebie fishing trip, that leaves room for one or two more people. I will reschedule the trip for better weather and will inform those interested of the date. I will do my best to work around your schedule and mine.
     
  14. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    dang mac i would try to get in on that trip but i just got too much going on right now with work and this rain is slowing me down at that. not complaining...we need it. mighty nice of you to offer this free trip.
     
  15. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,259
    State:
    North Caro
    Well, according to the weatherman it was suppose to rain this AM with little or no wind. You guessed it, he got both wrong. It did not rain, but we had 12 to 15 MPH winds out of the SW after 9 AM. MinnKota hummed along at position 5 to 7 most of the morning when I was going against the wind.

    I picked Jrod79 and his brother, Josh, up at the Little Creek public landing and I started my on water seminar with both of them as soon as they got in the boat. Made a short ride to the area that I had selected to fish and found the water temp. to be 55 degrees and the water was stained. I use six Carolina rigs, two with gizzard shad, two with white perch and two with gold trout. Also, I put out two planer boards with trout on them.

    We drifted the 10 to 20' water for three hours and twenty minutes before we got a fish in the boat. We had plenty of bites earlier, just did not connect. At 10:20 AM we put the first fish in the boat and the last one at 11:30 AM. Total results was six cats and one bottom feeding ba$$. Largest fish was a 17 pound blue that hit like a freight train.

    Thru out the trip I offered them my limited knowledge of catfishing, taught them how to snell a hook and showed them other fishing knots. Did every thing I intented to do, except give them an exam on what I had taught them, maybe next time this summer.

    I enjoyed the trip and I hope they did too. We have some mighty fine people on the BOC and Jrod79 is one of them.
     
  16. killentime99

    killentime99 New Member

    Messages:
    98
    State:
    north carolina
    nice fish, glad to see you guys had a good time and as far as the exam, a student is only as good as the teacher so imo they will ace the test.
     
  17. jrod79

    jrod79 New Member

    Messages:
    42
    State:
    north carolina
    hey mac we both had an awesome time and we really appreciate everything you did for us. very informative as well as achieving the main two goals. to teach us a new technique and to put fish in the boat.if anyone wants to catch the mighty lake norman blues mac will straight up put you on em and make it look easy. as for the exam, as good a job as you did teaching us,we will pass it anytime. thanks again mac and well be in touch
     
  18. Bryan8552

    Bryan8552 New Member

    Messages:
    422
    State:
    nc
    Mac,

    Just out of curiosity, how deep was the nearest deepwater (channel) while you were drifting 10 - 20 feet? Were you drifting flats or just contour lines?
     
  19. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,259
    State:
    North Caro
    Bryan, the nearest deep water creek channel was 44 to 54'. On a side note, there was plenty of bait and arches in the channel, but very few where we caught the fish. To my knowledge we did not catch a single fish that we marked, but pulled them in with the scent of the bait, if that makes sense to you.
     
  20. Bryan8552

    Bryan8552 New Member

    Messages:
    422
    State:
    nc
    Thanks Mac,

    I was just curious how far up the creek you were fishing. some of the guys at Kerr fish way back up in the creeks this time of year while others fish the main river channel in 70 feet of water. They all catch fish.

    As far as making sense to me, NO! Nothing about fishing makes any sense to me. All I know is, that the more different things we try, the more successful we become. If you had told me the channel nearby where yall were fishing was 20 feet, next Saturday I was going to run up the creek until the boat bottomed out and throw out a couple of lines. LOL!