Speed is the Key…employing drift/trolling bags

Whether you are drifting hair jigs and blade baits in the spring, or trolling cranks, spoons and harnesses, boat speed is a crucial element in having a successful trip. Sure you can have a trolling motor employed, but on days when the wind is kicking, controlling the direction of the boat can be an issue.  This is where having a trolling bag or two in the boat can make all the difference in the world.


When you see the green, it means the bags are made in the USA, and sold by Big Papa Sportfishing Products.  Of all the fine products sold by Bob Bell, these bags just might be the most important items on his website. You just cannot stress enough the factor that speeds plays in fishing big waters like Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.

When drifting, there are several places on your boat where you can use one of these bags. On slightly windy days, in the middle of the boat can give you a good broadside drift through your target area. Sometimes boats don’t have a middle cleat or perhaps not in the right location.  This is an easy fix, cleats are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. On windier days, I like putting a bag off the bow, and another one, off the aft cleat. Since you can be fishing in the same area, just let the bags have a little more line and fish in front of them.  During a drift you would like to be able to keep it under a mile per hour, but no more than 1 mph under most circumstances.  Call it a guideline, because every once in a while, these general rules of thumb just do not stand up to all conditions.

Why would you need a bag while trolling?  You have an electric unit in the bow you say…well on most days that is fine, but the when the wind kicks up, you will wish you had a pair of bags handy.  Some days the conditions make it hard to go with the wind, the bow mount motor can help, but it uses up more juice than when you just employ it to add a little speed.  When you want the bow into the wind and under the power of the kicker or main motor, the bags allow you to buck the waves, but keep your speed down to target the fish you are after.  For my purposes it would be for walleye fishing, but do not under-estimate their use for salmon fishing, and I even break out my bags when drifting for big Northern Pike on the U.P. side of Lake Michigan.


When trolling with the main or kicker motor, I place bags off the bow cleats and run them back to middle or slightly further back of my boat’s length.  Then I can put my planer boards from Church Tackle out to their desired distances and get to fishing.  Somebody once asked why I don’t run them off the back of the boat, the answer is easy, that is where all the action takes place.  Actually, with the additions of the TX-007 to Church’s line-up, I want the backside of the boat completely clear of any potential entanglements.

stern planer prototype2

Whether you are trolling with the bags, or breaking them out while on a hot drift, remember is speed is the key to success, and a safe trip too. If you don’t have a bag or two onboard, you can take my word for it, or ask your buddies for that matter.  If they are experienced walleye guys, I bet you will be picking up a pair before the season gets too old this year.

Copyright, 2014


About Mason

Born off the Detroit River, raised in Ida and on Lake Erie. Anything fishing holds my interest from Walleye, Pike and Muskie to a 10 year run on the Ice Fishing Circuits around the MidWest.
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