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What are some tips on boat control and lure presentation while fishing?
Response by Carlos and Craig Baugher - Dated 06/08/03

--Carlos wrote:
    The bigger and heavier the boat, the easier the control usually. Most new boat owners have a tendency to over-use the trolling motor. Try pointing the nose of the boat into the wind if possible. Use the trolling motor for position adjustments. The boat will have a certain amount of inertia. So a small tap on the trolling motor in the direction you want will move you to or thru the area you want to fish. Learning the right amount to run the trolling motor for your needs is simply practice. For most of my fishing, in all my boats, I was usually on the lowest setting of the trolling motor. Working a rock bank with a crankbait, means occasional tapping the trolling motor as once the boat is moving it only takes a tap now and then to keep it moving. It's not necessary, unless the wind is blowing to be on it all the time. Another tip, even though we fish out of the side of the boat for the most part, we still angle our lines forward, so a snag is a simple matter of tapping the trolling motor to bring the boat closer to the snag so it can be un-done.

--To which Craig Baugher replied:
    Carlos gave you some great tips on boat control, so I will focus only on presentation of lures.

    One of the biggest adjustments a shoreliner has, moving to a boat, is learning how to work their lures again. When fishing from shore you learned how to create the action that for the most part comes naturally from the motion of the boat. By applying the same action you learned, you are simply over working the lure and losing the feel.

    When I fish tubes from a boat, I start slow and slowly increase my action on the lure until I find what the fish want. By starting slow, I mean I don't apply any action at all other than holding my rod at a 45 angle and letting the motion of the boat to apply the action. That is, if there are some waves or if I am drifting with either the water or wind current - using the trolling motor only to hold position on the breakline I'm fishing.

    If I'm holding position on a piece of cover or structure, and there are no waves, then I revert back to my shoreline tactics. But if the boat is rocking with the waves, I simply hold my rod still and use my reel to keep the slack out of the line. If you want a little more action and there are waves, hold your rod still, reel in the slack as your boat dips with the wave and as the boat raises it will lift your lure and move it forward. Want a little more action, do the same thing, but lift you rod tip an inch or two at the top of the wave. Depending on the size of the waves will determine how big of a hop your lure will make. But I think you get the idea of working with your boat and the waves.

    Same thing applies with current and cranks. If I'm over a holding location for fish and I'm in current. I will cast and reel my lure into position and then let the current continue to work my suspending crank in position. By simply holding your crank over the side of the boat, you can see just how much action the current will be applying, and therefore know just how much action if any you need to apply to it. But holding your lure still over a holding area will just drive the fish nuts and they will attack it!

    If you are fishing in open water that has current, you can use a drift sock to help you maintain boat position and drift speed. Even if you are fishing close to shore and the wind is continuously pushing you in towards the shore, you can attach a drift sock to the back of the boat and it will help prevent the back end from swinging in towards the shore (only do this if you have a partner in the back of the boat who can pull it in quickly).

    But just because you have a troll motor doesn't mean you cannot use your anchor. If it is windy and I'm fishing a rocky point, I have been known to throw out my anchors (one in front and one in the back) to hold position comfortably so that I can focus on my fishing and not boat control. I will do the same thing in rivers and creeks with current when fishing cranks and spinnerbaits. A good hole in a creek or river channel can hold a lot of fish! In the North Channel in Lake St. Clair, there is a spot that holds enough big smallies that an angler can sit on that spot during a 4 day tournament everyday and weigh-in a big bag of beauties. I anchor in that spot to assure all other anglers have to stay away!!! It is not always holding fish, but when it is, it is a beautiful thing!!!

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