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Take control for more walleyes
by Norb Wallock

Staying in complete control is one of the keys to successful walleye angling, and is worth the effort to try  and effect, especially if you want to catch more, and bigger walleyes. If you can control your boat, you can  control your bait, allowing you to keep your offering in the “zone” and maximize your opportunities. A complete loss of control will result in fewer caught, and a serious increase in frustration. Frustration can lead to throwing in the towel, and missed opportunities. While there may be certain situations that are completely beyond your reach, most can be dealt with. One of the most important improvements in boat control has come at the source; The boat itself. By 
starting with a craft that is controllable, the rest of it comes a lot easier. The test is creating a craft that is extremely safe, without giving up fishability. 
Norb Wallock trolls with his Crestliner boat
Boat manufacturers, like Crestliner, have stepped up with new boats designed specifically for walleye fishing. These new high tech water craft have specific characteristics that lend themselves to a variety of situations that you may eventually encounter. For example, the Crestliner 202 is a twenty footer that has been engineered with good boat control in mind. It has been designed to sit level on the water, and doesn’t have the inherent problems of a high riding bow that can catch the wind, and blow you off course. The amount of freeboard has been kept to a reasonable level, which helps to reduce the “sail” effect. It also has a TruTrac center keel, that provides 
improved tracking, allowing you to stay on course, and on the fish. Big improvements in electric trolling motors have helped immensely with staying in control, and has 
allowed anglers to tame some of the roughest conditions. Trying to stay on a tight break line in two to four foot waves takes a lot of thrust, and a little coordination, to get the job done. Today’s giant trolling motors can produce over eighty pounds of thrust, and can help you stay where you want, when you want to be there. 

The downside is the fact that they can eat up your batteries pretty darn quick, especially if you’re running on high. Extra batteries can help, but they also take up space, and can add a lot of unwanted weight. An alternative is the new Evertroll nickel-zinc batteries, which are 30% lighter than comparable lead batteries. They also produce continuous power throughout the discharge cycle, which can be a big 
advantage, especially when you’re trying to hold on some active fish in a hard wind. 
Speed is another important element, and is critical to successful trolling presentations. Finding and duplicating productive speeds can be a rather frustrating endeavor, especially if you’ve tried to accomplish the task with standard equipment, like a depth finder with a speed indicator, or even a G.P.S. The depth finder indicators utilize a paddle wheel type sensor, and work well under calm conditions. However, they 
become totally useless when you throw in a little wind. The problem arises as the wind kicks up and you start to get surface current. For example, a trolling run with the wind may be indicated by a zero speed reading, even though you’re running up to two mph, or more. Global Positioning Systems helped a little, but because of inherent inaccuracies it was nearly impossible to get a definitive reading, as the speed would 
run up and down, even when the boat was running constant. The best that you could do was watch the speed for a while, and try to take an average. Fortunately for today’s anglers, the speed problem has been solved by the introduction of the W.A.S.S. 
system, developed by Raytheon for the F.A.A. The W.A.S.S. system is a huge step up in Global Positioning, and provides accuracy to within three meters. By providing more accurate location, speed accuracy is greatly improved. Raymarine was the first to take advantage of the W.A.S.S. system, and has several units that can utilize the new highly accurate signal. The result is a speed reading that you can count on, and use to your advantage. 
Now that you now how fast your running, achieving an exact speed is the next problem. Trying to get an outboard to run at a specific speed has been next to impossible, until now. Mercury Marine has addressed the problem, by combining the Optimax Outboard with SmartCraft gauges, that actually allow you to set a target boat speed, or rpm. Now you can hit and hold a productive trolling speed, over and over again, 
which can definitely mean more fish by the end of the day.Another big advancement in trolling control has come in the form of autopilots, designed for smaller water craft, that can provide hands free operation. The Sport Pilot from Raymarine, for example, fits directly onto your steering wheel, and will hold a course that you have selected. There is also a remote control option that allows you to make steering adjustments from anywhere in the boat. Serious trollers know what a huge advantage an autopilot can be, especially when you get busy fighting and landing fish. You can simply relinquish control to the Sport Pilot while you get your business done, and take it back as soon as you like. Drift socks are the answer to controlling a drifting presentation, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple in the boat. To hit the right speed, you can experiment with a single, smaller sock, for light wind conditions, to two larger bags for high winds and rough seas. A sock with a larger bag should be used to handle the bow, while a smaller bag can take care of the rear of the boat. The bow will drift faster than the transom, 
and the two bag setup will help to keep you square. 
Drift Control Sea Anchors
  • Only Sea Anchor Fully adjustable from boat
  • 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 safe3ty 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 you lose control you lose confidence, and confidence plays an important part in an angler’s success. By taking control, you’ll find that you can catch plenty of fish under the some of the roughest conditions. 

    Norb Wallock

    Walleyes Inc. website is maintained by Randy Tyler Fishing the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Circuit, Masters Walleye Circuit and the Team Walleye Circuit. All rights reserved.Copyright 1999/2001
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