Drifting with the fish

November 2, 2013

Drifting is a common technique used by many anglers to cover an abundance of water. This is similar to trolling, though typically slower.

Depending on the wind, you may have to slow down your drift or accelerate it with your trolling motor. When you do locate fish you can toss a marker or mark it on your GPS.

Drifting may not be as precise as structure fishing, but at times it will draw more strikes. If the fish are willing to chase a bait, drifting may more readily draw predators.

If you are fishing relatively shallow and the fish are a little spooky, this may be a way to keep your bait away from the boat and get more bites. At times it is a good idea to keep some of your live bait presentations under a float or a balloon.

The speed and direction of the wind will vary your presentation, and you may have to adjust speed to get your bait at the right depth. A nice small chop on the water makes for a nice drift. You may consider using a drift sock to slow you down.

If the wind is too much to handle, I will usually toss an anchor. If you have an Auto-Pilot trolling motor you may not need an anchor.

With the bait moving, the aggressive fish may be willing to chase even though they are not real hungry. The other theory is that the predators more readily locate the bait when drifted versus the bait sitting still.

Drifting can be effective year-round, and many folks use this method religiously. At times it is best to stop drifting and stay on the fish.

How deep do you drift? Pay attention to your graph and the area you are fishing. Look for where baitfish are located.

Drifting live shad and allowing the weight to bounce off the bottom can be real effective. If you stir up the bottom, active fish will come in to see what the “fuss” is all about. Active schooling fish compete with each other.

The slab bite is still extremely effective this time of the year. Bouncing the slab off the bottom will bring in sand bass and stripers. The smaller shad-shaped slabs are better for sand bass where the bigger more elongated slabs are typically better suited for the striper bite.

Don’t forget to thrash the water with your rod tip even when drifting. You will bring in more predators.


Water temperatures continue to be in the middle to upper 60s and water level continue to be dangerously low. White bass are excellent on most days on slabs at mid-lake and on the lower ends.

The new stripers in the lake are everywhere mixed in with the sand bass. Don’t mistake a small striper for a sand bass. Black bass reports are fair to good near laydowns on soft plastics.

Squaw Creek black bass are good to 6 pounds on soft plastic near timber and near laydowns. Tilapias continue to be excellent on small worms fished under a bobber.

Hybrid stripers are fair to good on Lake Benbrook, Lake Proctor and Lake Lewisville on live shad. Sand bass are good to excellent on Possum Kingdom near the Peanut Patch. Whitney sand bass reports continue to be good near the Island and near McCown Valley. Stripers on Whitney are hit-and-miss on the main lake.

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Category: Sports Archived