1/22/2008
Boat Control Basics

Boat control is critical to fishing success.  It's often overlooked by novice anglers and even some experienced anglers.   I find three tools indispensable to boat control:  a bow-mount trolling motor, one or two drift bags and an anchor.   Boat control is about positioning your boat in a way that optimizes your presentation.   Various techniques require different amounts or types of control.   Vertically jigging deep lake trout requires a steady or slowly drifting boat.   I like to use my trolling motor for vertical fishing.   The shallower the water, the quicker you can drift and still maintain contact with the bottom.  

I use drift bags a lot while fly-fishing.   When working flies deep and/or thoroughly a slow drift is essential.   A drift bag will make a 10 or 12 mph wind feel like a 5 mph breeze.    Drift too fast and you might as well be reading a book.   Drifting is also a great way to cover water when casting or live-bait fishing.   

Many advanced anglers overlook anchoring.   When winds are too strong for the driftbags or trolling motor, or you need to fish a pinpoint location, an anchor can fill the bill.   I like to use an anchor around 27lbs with a length of chain and 200' of rope.