Boat control is critical

James Overstreet
Chris Lane with his new Drift Paddles on his Power-Poles at the 2012 Elite Series Green Bay Challenge.

About the author

Chris Lane

Chris Lane

Chris Lane is a four-time winner on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and the 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion.

Last week’s Reeling in Future Pros went really well. Most of the kids caught fish, learned about our sport and ate great food prepared by Tony Chachere. Thanks to everyone who helped put it together. In a week or two, I’ll tell you more about it but for now I’d like to talk about boat control. It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s absolutely critical to your fishing success.

I can’t tell you the number of times a slight change in lure placement made the difference between me catching fish and not catching fish. I’ll tell you what, though, it’s darn near impossible to make the right cast unless your boat is in the right position.

One of the toughest boat control situations we face is wind across open water. It’ll move your boat around, twist it out of position and make effective casting or drifting across precise targets darn near impossible. In the past, we all used drift socks when we were in open water. They worked, sort of. Let’s just say they were (are) better than nothing.

 But now, Power-Pole has come up with something new that’ll take their place and does a better job. They call it the Drift Paddle. Basically they’re wide, feather shaped things that fit on the spikes of your Power-Pole with simple, easy-to-move clamps.

When you’re running or towing, you can turn them so they’re in line with the wind flow. You’ll have about  1/4-inch of wind resistance. That’s nothing, as a practical matter. When they’re down in the water, you can change them around to any one of seven positions to slow your drift with resistance. This change takes less than a minute.

What they do to improve boat control can’t be talked about enough. Drift socks are heavy and require a ton of labor to handle, plus years of experience to learn to handle them right. The Drift Paddle is simple, almost effortless and you can learn boat control with them very quickly.

I used a set up in Wisconsin, and they were unbelievable. I was able to slow my boat down to a crawl and keep it right on a line I wanted to fish. The fish are what’s important here. I didn’t spend my time hauling socks in and out or trying to control them by means of ropes. I spent my time making sure my bait was in the strike zone. That makes a world of difference in how many fish you catch in an afternoon.

Another great thing about them — I especially like this part — is that they don’t interfere with your spikes. If you want to approach an area quietly, just use your Drift Paddles on your approach. Then, when you see something you like, drive the spikes into the bottom of the lake. You’ll stop dead in the water with your boat exactly where you want it.

If you’re serious about your fishing, I’d suggest you look into getting a couple of them. They’ll make a big difference in how many fish you catch.

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