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 Boat Control

Article: July, 2005
Lake Fork Pro Jim ReaneauThis month's article will cover boat control. What I mean by boat control is keeping the boat in a spot that will allow you to cover the water you are fishing. I have only anchored one time in my guiding career. I have always been able to stay in a spot where I wanted with my trolling motor. I have had people ask if we were tied up or anchored when the wind is blowing and we are staying in one spot. The trolling motor has a lot to do with this. What I do is find the speed on the trolling that will hold me without pulling forward much. I have seen people run their motor on high on everything and the boat is always out of position. When you are fishing spinner baits, crank baits, and buzz baits you can move fairly faster but even these baits need to cover the strike zone. If you are by your self this is no problem but if you have other fishermen in the boat you need to keep them where they can cover their water. Think! As the motor operator you can cast ahead of the boat but the guy in the middle and the guy in the back have limited casting areas if the boat is moving to fast. When you are flipping docks or timber you need to keep the boat about 7 to ten feet from the structure. This is just about the right distance to flip a worm or jig. When covering this water you need to go slowly as you will need to hit the spots from different directions so holding the boat in place is a must. Most people don’t think about this because they fish alone. The next time you go with your buddy watch how he holds the boat where he can fish and you are out of position. Or he is going to fast for you too cover your water. Too many times we fish to fast only to leave fish behind you. A good way to master boat control is go out on a windy day and drop a marker and hold your boat in position to the marker. Try different speeds and you will find the one where you are holding and if you stay on the button you will start to pull forward. On windy days you may have to adjust speed as the wind gets higher this is normal but not on high all the time. It is not good for your motor to be on high and you keep stepping on the button and there is a burst of current sent to the motor ever so often. After a while you will be at the trolling motor shop getting checked out. Most fishermen think they are doing a good job on the trolling motor. But like I said earlier watch your buddy the next time you fish and watch if he is keeping you in the strike zone. How many times you would like to tell him to slow down because you are not fishing like or where you want to. Then keep this in mind when you take someone else fishing. Boat position is a very important part of catching. When I said I have never anchored that is not because it is bad it is just my way. If I couldn’t hold where I wanted to fish with my trolling motor I went some where else. I usually buy trolling motors with the longest shafts I can get so I can drop them down so they can dig in for staying power. Many trolling motors that come with pre-rigged boats have only 42 inch shafts. I have a 54 inch shaft on my motor.

Just keep in mind when you are fishing where the boat should be for you and another fisherman could be fishing the same water and cover the major spots before you go by. Keep in mind how fast we some times fish instead of slowing down and hitting the area good. But the main thing is to keep the boat where your buddy can fish behind you.
Thanks and Good Fishing,

Fishing Tip by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau


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