W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by Mark Brumbaugh
Boat Control Tactics
By Mark Brumbaugh and Mike Gofron
Boat control can be defined as; the location and speed of a trolled lure and is largely dependent on how you maneuver the boat that pulls it, and how you counteract elements that affect your speed and direction especially wind and current.
Some effects of wind are understood quite well. Wind roughs up the surface of water and stirs up the bottom silt, reducing light penetration. Several predator species, especially walleyes, turn on when light levels are lowered. Wave and wind action actually flush out forage species from timber and weeds that makes them prone to perdition.
Mark Brumbaugh, usually fishes some pretty large expansions of water and his method of boat control might be entirely different than a person fishing a small lake dotted with multiple islands. Mark's technique for finding wandering schools of walleye is trolling.
Trolling is used in covering certain structures and precise trolling means catching fish. One way that I have solved the problem with boat control is by using a Drift Control Sea Anchor.
The rule is usually that one Drift Control Sea Anchor is adequate for most boats and conditions. Sometimes on Lake Erie when the wind is really stiff I will attach two Drift Control Sea Anchors, one to each cleat off the bow section both starboard and port. This will increase my control and allow me to run my engine at higher rpm's to combat the waves.
Walleye fisherman on Erie aren't the only ones using this method. Bass fishing has virtually exploded over the last few years. In the early season it is not uncommon to find smallmouth bass in good numbers along the rock, and shale reefs of the islands that dot Lake Erie. Boat control is as essential when fishing for bass as it is for walleyes. As many anglers know, fish are usually most active near the windblown shore, but probably presenting a bait to them can prove a trial.
Anchoring limits you to a single spot when the fish may be someplace else or spread along the breakline, and short wind drifts have you motoring, casting and reeling most of the time. Bass anglers therefore, want to slow down their presentation and not be blown off breaklines.
Here again the Drift Control Sea Anchor is used. By tying off two Drift Control Sea Anchors to the windward side of the boat the boat drifts perpendicular to the contour or breakline.
Occasionally the bow mount trolling motor will correct the drift or in some circumstances the kicker motor will have to be nudged into gear to compensate for gusty winds.
If you were to fish contours you again might troll, but when you are holding tight to a specific depth you will need to use this boat control technique that Mike Gofron uses while contour trolling.
Contour trolling is something that I really enjoy. Contour trolling will allow you to present your bait right in front of the walleyes nose. In cold front conditions this is essential. What you're trying to do is stay on a particular depth, or contour, where it looks like the walleyes are holding.
To really slow down and follow the contours I use the Drift Control Sea Anchor tied off the bow or starboard side of the boat. This acts like a brake and if I have to keep the rpm's up a little on my kicker or big motor it still gives me control to make an inside curve or to allow the lure to track evenly behind the boat on the contour.
If I want to jig a productive area for walleyes the Drift Control Sea Anchor comes in handy here also. It gives me control over the stern of my boat so I can fish a given contour perpendicularly. By attaching the Drift Control to the stern cleat adjacent to the current it gives me a brake that slows down the drift of the back end of my boat and I can correct the angle with the bow mount trolling motor. I can also attach another one to the same side of boat in the bow giving me more drag and a slower presentation when I vertically jig this contour.
Boat control is a basic tactic that all anglers need to use to produce
more walleyes in the boat. If you have any questions you can contact us
on the web at www.driftcontrol.com , drop us a line or just stop by and
visit. You will find a host of tips, tricks and techniques to apply to
your type of fishing.
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Since August 1, 1998