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Old 01-01-2009, 10:16 AM   #1
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: CA & San Carlos, Mx
Posts: 19,203
Default Prower drifting tips

Surface trolling in my mind is easy fishing as normally you will be around birds and jumping fish that have pushed bait balls up to the surface that you can see. Here the school is aggressive and will hit almost anything for a short time during the day. So while they strike, you keep on doing your figure 8's trolling patterns keeping away from the school with the boat, but swinging in your lures to the point men leading the school.

But most of the day, this is not happening, and the problem comes down to catching fish more hours during the day.

When your school of fish goes down, or you only see them when traveling on your fish finder, I would make the argument that switching to downriggers with lead balls and planners is not the best way to get a lot of deep fish in the boat.

The deepest practical depth you can troll is about 150' deep, using heavy gear and thin lines, and to get to this depth you have to go very slow, covering a lot of sterile areas slow. Even when you are around a school, slow trolling, or any trolling for that matter, only puts those baits in the general area of the fish for a short % of time during the day.

If the fish didn't rise to your spread after seeing and hearing that big boat on top of them and seeing your spread I doubt if you are going to get them into a feeding mood by bombarding their area with planers, downrigger balls, etc. especially if they are holding deep around a bait ball.

In my experience, fish in deep water usually have to be coaxed into hitting, so drifting over them with weighted live bait and thin flouro leaders, or using lots of chum of chunk in the water seem to work a lot better for me than a few quick passes with a wing or ball.

The smell of blood, pheromones and a wounded swimming action that you get with bait is something that with make a passive fish aggresive, and a very high speed yo-yo or surface jig will also trigger strikes, especially if you constantly invade their territory.

So being quiet and patient has its merits, especially with some fish that are boat shy like lots of bottom fish that normally hide out in holes or surface fish that are under constant pressure.

Most boaters are not rigged up to effectively drift like they are set up to fast troll, so this discussion attempts to address a technique that will help to keep you on top of the school a larger % of the time once you find them, while other boats troll around you and the school, repecting their distance.

Power drifting gear will vary a bit with boat size but basically it entails having the equipment to keep a constant eye on them at depth, and to be able to move your boat against prevailing current to stay in position over them.

On a CC I suggest that you get a swivel mont fish finder with a large bright screen that can be seen from a distance in bright sunlight like a Furuno 585. With that you can also turn on your fish alarm so that when you go over a scholol you are alerted if you are not paying attention. When stopping over, fish, the lack of sound coming from a pinging alarm will also let if they have escaped you. But if you can keep regular eye contact with the screen while you are droping bait to the school this is perferable as you will see your bait and their reaction to it. Large boats with flying bridges that are far from the fishing area will usually need to add a second inexpensive fish finder on the deck so that you can keep an eye on while you fish down on deck.

The second thing you need is a motor that will move you slowly and quietly to stay on the fish. Lots of fast boats cannot get down to a 1 knot speed, so either they will have to bump in and out of gear, or go to an electric trolling motor with an extra battery that I think is ideal because it lets me foot steer and fish at the same time instead of attending the helm controls while everyone else has the fun.

The third and last thing I like to use is a chum bag that I can lower down to the fish on a line to give them the smell to get them going, but not let them eat anything but the baits I send down to the same area.

This technique works better over structure as it will also help to hold the fish. But when you lose them, you just reel up, and start making a larger and larger circle at good speed so that you can locate the school again on the FF so that you can stoop and start power drifting on top of them again, lowering and keepining the best possible bait in front of your prey. Using one jig rod with your baits is also effective, and you can trade off so they the jig rod is not tired and slow.

So when you find them, try to stay on them, being patient fishing, instead of trying to locate school after school in that bil ol ocean.

I just fish in Mexico, so hopefully you will add your ideas to what works best on deep uncooperatve fish in your area.

Happy New Year guys.
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