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  • Updated: 05/12/04

  • Taming the Waves of Big Lakes
    By Sam Anderson and Mark Martin

    The edge of a specific structure is a great place to start looking for spring walleyes. These edges form breaks, which almost act like barriers to hold fish a little longer to feed before they move on. These are physical boundaries between shallow food producing areas and deep water areas of the lake. Here schools of active walleyes meet concentrations of food and often this is a prime fishing area. By fishing the edges of weeds, drop-offs and structure like rocks, you will increase your chances of finding a funnel point where fish concentrate. These spots vary but are based on factors like: water temperature, availability of baitfish, oxygen, light level, structure and schooling tendencies. Success rests with proper presentation. Once you have located the edge and fish, the next step is to entice them to bite. Your bait presentation will depend upon the specific edge that you have selected. If the walleyes are directly below and concentrated on a physical edge you can backtroll a livebait rig, jig, or use a bottom bouncer rig, keeping the bait among the fish you see on thedepthfinder. 

    If you find the fish strung out along the edge, keep the bait moving and they will bite. If they're clumped up in one spot, hover over them and vertically jig them.
    Rocks also attract fish, try rocky shorelines, rock piles, humps or where rocks and weeds meet or are intermixed, work it over thoroughly with a jig or live bait presentation. Try to determine where fish are holding. Keep asking yourself the question, what is their pattern?

    Drift Control Magnum drift sock
    Click here for more
    information on Drift 
    Control Drift socks
    Drifting is a good way to catch a trophy because even the craftiest fish can not hear you coming.One way that I have solved the problem of boat control is to use a Drift 
    Control Drift Sock. A Drift Control Drift Sock is a cone-shaped under water windsock. First of all, they slow your drift in strong winds. Secondly, you can use them to fine-tune subtle boat maneuvers in rough 
    seas or heavy current.  Most anglers who fish large expansive lakes or rivers carry a Drift Sock 
    with them daily. The rule is usually that one Drift Control Drift Sock is adequate for most boats and conditions.
    But, if you have a large boat and the Drift Sock isn't doing its job you may need a large one off the front cleat and a smaller one at the stern.
    The Magnum Series Drift Control Drift Sock is designed for use in the most extreme angling conditions. One-inch Nylon straps offer added support. The unique flotation device and bottom weights provide for faster deployment and prevents rotation when it enters the water. Durable, coated Rip-stop Nylon stops the drift sock from pulsating; therefore, creating more drag than other drift socks of the same diameter.
    Wind also has an effect on light penetration. The wind creates waves, and waves cut down on light penetration. That's why you'll find walleyes on a shallow reef on a bright day if it's windy. Take the same reef on a bright, calm day, and frequently it will be devoid of fish.Mark Martin said; "I generally start looking for walleyes on the wind-blown side of the lake, and the wind-blown side of a structure.  Walleyes will usually be most active on the side of the lake or reservoir that the wind is blowing into because that's where light penetration is reduced. On a given piece of structure the same will hold true with baitfish being disorientated because of wave action. This is a key area, because the predators will congregate at the outside edge and feed on the baitfish. However, keep in mind that a good walleye structure that is not windblown will still be better that a poor walleye structure that is not windblown." Walleyes are opportunistic fish and will go where the meal is the easiest to catch. "There are some wind directions that I prefer over others, "Martin went on to explain. "It seems that north, northeast, and northwest winds can have detrimental effect on fishing success. They usually indicate a coming change in weather. Winds coming from the northwest are a good indication that a cold front is pushing across your favorite fishing hole. In the spring and fall this usually turns the fish off and the bite is very slow."
    Winds from the south or southwest are frequently good fishing winds. They bring warmer air, which can be a good deal in the spring and fall. They are commonly known indicators of stable weather conditions.As I mentioned before boat control is always a problem in the wind. With a little practice and a drift sock you can control your boat even on the toughest structure.
    Pictured Below are a few ways of rigging Drift Control Drift Socks
    Drift Control Sea Anchors
  • Only Sea Anchor Fully adjustable from boat
  • (tournament model only DC-TS-20 and DC-TS-30 only)
  • Easy To Retrieve
  • Inflates in seconds every time
  • No Tangling or Spinning
  • Control Speed of drift within boat
  • Make another pass without retrieving
  • Drift Control Sea Anchors are easy to use
    You will need two ropes approximately 3/8" in diameter.  Attatch 1 rope to tow rope
    Simple two step operation
    Run the other rope through the cylinder between the upper and lower tow straps Do not run the rope through the tow rope ring

    When placing in the water make sure the control rope is longer than the tow rope

    To deploy pull the control rope ring towards the marker on the upper tow strap.  Do not pull the control rope ring past the marker or you will pull it inside out

    Drift Control slows drift and stabilizes boat.  Tie the sock near the bow of the boat to decrease dift speed.  Minimize side to side stability .  You'll fish deeper with less weight and at the speed you desire

    Makes backtrolling more precise.  tie the sock to the bow to prevent swaying.  You will enhance boat control and fish your pattern not the winds.  If your motor fails in high winds tie the sock to the bow using a long tow rope and increase your safety by keeping tghe bow headed into the wind
    Use with you bow mounted electric trolling motor by tying to the stern of the boat.  This adds more precise boat control and allows you to follow the contour of the shoreline or hold on structure
    When wind and waves get above a manageable level, boat speed can be 
    controlled with Drift Control drift socks. When using Drift Control drift socks in this manner, the boat is positioned perpendicular to the wind, and the socks are thrown over the side. The bowmount can be used to move the boat forward or backward to follow the breakline as you slowly drift along. Mark Martin believes that you should maintain boat control in the bow even in the toughest conditions. "You can throw out a Magnum Series Drift Sock and shorten the length of the tow line so you keep you 
    bowmount in the water at all times." "If you are slipping along a breakline you can step on your bowmount and close the distance to the drift sock on every other wave." Martin went on to explain, that if you use this approach you will be presenting the bait in a vertical manner, rather than dragging the bait.

    In fact, at Chamberlain South Dakota Martin confesses, "when faced with fishing high winds in a tournament I tied off the Magnum MS -150 off my Ram mounts on my bow rail and a Magnum MS -100 off the stern, with a Tournament Series in the mid-ship area. Now that gave me the control I needed to stay at the depth the fish were at on the contour.""Believe me you will feel more strikes and boat more fish if you can keep the bow down in the water," said Martin.
    So if you want to tame the waves, first of all you have to fish them and secondly it is important to use Drift Control technology. For more information on fishing in high winds drop Mark Martin a line www.walleyesinc.com, www.markmartins.net or contact me at www.samanderson.com

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