Article 24 โ Controlled Drifts
Let me start by saying that this can be a love โ hate relationship with many fisherman. It is not only a learned technique; but is used on specific areas of the lake. I will do my best to cover just the most important ones and give examples. A Controlled Drift is dragging a long line Carolina Rig for a long distance at a very slow speed, keeping the boat basically going in a straight line or following a specific depth. We do this because of the bottom terrain that will be holding fish along this route. It is an excellent way to pinpoint the location of the fish without driving over them and using electronics which may cause them to retreat to deep water. It is a very stealth mode as you drift through some shallow water and with a shoreline visual; you can turn the electronics off. On a calm day the trolling motor will not need to be used very much. Keep a Buoy Marker on deck ready to toss out when a fish is caught. This gives you a reference point to work with; as we are going to stop the drift and go to the area where the fish was caught and Spot Lock to fan fish the entire area. If this doesnโt work out we can very easily pick up the marker and continue on the drift. If you have time to spend on the water you will want to side scan these areas so you know exactly what cover is there and the structures you will be drifting over. Expect each drift to take you through some open areas, changes in depth and some heavy cover like rocks, bushes, trees and rubble. As your drift fishing becomes more technical it is no different than finding all the other areas we have been discussing. Do your mapping to locate the best contours, ridges, roller coaster shorelines and river channel rubble to plan your drifts. Managing the wind becomes the most important factor in drifts. You cannot learn or expect to do this the first time on a windy day. Mark your area down for a very calm day while learning. All good things takes patience and time to learn. The wind must become your friend; as you will even learn to fish the boat backwards and drift with the nose into the wind for control. Learning to use a drift sock can also solve some wind problems. One thing about this; if it is a calm water day, I am going to areas that do not get fished very much and I will be drifting across the irregular features.
Put the big motor in the up position with just the Prop in the water for boat control and engage it in gear; so the prop does not turn. This will keep any line that gets close to the motor from becoming wrapped. Here is the best rigging that I have found for long lining a C-rig and getting a good hook set. This involves two rigs on deck.
- 30 lb Braid with 20 lb Floro leader for shallow water drifting in 12 ft. of fairly clean water with shoreline ups and downs of gouges and protrusions.
- 3/4 oz Tungsten Weight Pegged.
- 50 lb Braid to Braid leader for deep water drifting of 20 ft.. in rubble, trees and the lip of the channels.
- Shallow drift baits are Baby Brush Hogs, Flukes, Senkos, Air Fries, Lizards, Craw Trailers and Trick Worms.
- Deep drift baits are Big Brush Hogs, 10โ Worms, Long Paddle Tail Worms and 5โ Swim Baits.
- I have been known to drift a 1 oz Spinner Bait and DD22; but not on a C-rig. Just tie direct and drift.BEST AREAS:
Roller Coaster Shorelines
This is what I call a No-Nothing shoreline that give other fisherman no visuals as they pass by on their way to what they believe to be a better spot. Some of the features are as follows:
- No visuals on shore to indicate that it may be holding fish.
- The contours are very irregular leading to the shoreline with lots of gouges, small protrusions, drains and ditches; thus the Roller Coaster effect.
- Most are on the West side of the lake in wind blown areas with little pressure.
- You will be drifting 10 ft of water; but with the Gouges and Protrusions the depth may fall to as much as 20 ft in the gouges and rise to 10 ft on top of the protrusions.
- Get your Shoreline visual for the distance from shore and turn off all Electronics to make your drift. River Slam Drift
- Many times a River or Creek Slam is involved giving the area 3 great fishing sections which are before the slam, during the slam and after the slam.
- Before the slam provides a flat.
- During the slam provides steep drops.
- After the slam provides another flat or point. Big Flats
- The Contour lines on and around the flat must be Extremely Irregular.
- It must have deep water slamming against the flat
- The flat is full of irregular features: Gouges โ Protrusions โ Creek Channel โ Roadbeds โ Flooded Timber โ House Foundations
- All of these features invite the fish to come here to feed and spawn.
- The staging area is along the lip dropping to deep water. Other Super Drifts Cove Blocker DriftRiver Channel Drifts