All about the drift

It’s no secret that many of the pros are setting up drifts in the swift current of the St. Lawrence River. The ideal situation is to begin drifting up current of the targeted strike zone—underwater humps and rises in the bottom—and allow the lure to blend in with the banish being fed upon by the smallmouth. The challenge this week is the current and wind are coming from opposite directions.

Downstream here the current flows southeast from Lake Ontario, and the wind is blowing from the northeast. One nearly cancels out the other. That makes boat control a trick.

“You really have to pay attention to your drift,” said Brian Snowden, seventh place on the leaderboard. “It’s all about boat control.”

He continued, “You’ve got to control the drift with the trolling motor to keep the boat going at the same speed as the bait and current. Once you figure that out, then you get hung up far less, and you can keep the lure longer in the strike zone.”

Greg DiPlama, in fourth place after yesterday, said he learned what Snowden is referring to on Lake Erie.

“When the wind and current are coming from opposite directions it basically makes your boat like a sail,” he explained. “You are actually being held back, because the boat is going faster, so you have to control the entire setup.”

To do that, DiPalma puts the nose of the boat into the wind, using the trolling motor, to compensate for the difference in speed.