Whether you prefer calling it a rolling shot, side-drifting, or boon-dogging, drift fishing is one of the tried and tested techniques for salmon, steelhead, and other species. So, what is drift fishing? This particular fishing technique requires a little more than the basic fishing tackle and a boat.
We can agree that there are already so many approaches and techniques to fishing that make many anglers confused on which is the most appropriate to use in a given situation.
In this article, we’ll teach you what drift fishing is, how to drift fish, and drift fishing techniques to help you get more fishing action using this highly effective fishing technique.
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What is Drift Fishing?
Basically, drift fishing is among the boat fishing techniques where you let your boat move freely, drifting with the wind and current, for lures and bait to pass through fish concentrations and grounds naturally.
While the drift’s direction can depend on the current and wind’s strength, the idea is to let the wind and the current drag your choice of bait and lures.
The reason why this fishing technique is very effective is because you can cover more ground quicker than you would with a boat that’s anchored. With drift fishing for salmon or drift fishing for steelhead, you increase the number of strikes from fish.
What Can I Catch with Drift Fishing?
You can use this approach to catch just about any species, regardless of whether you’re in saltwater or freshwater.
It’s a versatile technique as you can use it to catch fish that are swimming in shallow water, in mind-water structures, and in deep water.
You can also choose the artificial or live baits and lures you prefer. However, you need to remember that this will depend on the species that you’re after.
Drift Fishing Tips
We’ll now look more closely at how to drift fish. Keep these tips in mind as they’re crucial for success.
Conduct a Dummy Drift
Among the most critical factors that you have to keep an eye on are the tide, wind, and current.
Perform dummy drifts in order to assess how the elements combined will affect your drift and fishing success. You can use fish finders, chart plotters, ice fishing flashers, and GPS to get vital data on drift direction and speed.
Use the Correct Type of Boat
The kind of boat you’re planning to use to drift shift will play a massive role in how you can perform the technique.
To give you an example, a hardtop that’s 6 meters long will be acting as a sail when it catches the wind. This overwhelms the current effects.
A kayak has minimal windage and weight and will go at the same speed and direction as the current. As for a launch, it has a hull and more weight, making it quite harder for water currents to push.
Control the Drift
Although the speed of your boat is important in drift fishing, control the drift effectively so your bait and lures will have maximum time within strike zones.
You can do this by choosing the right sinker weight and outriggers that can get the lure perfectly in a targeted zone. Get an ample amount of weight to get your bait into the area where fish will likely strike.
Have the Appropriate Gear
The appropriate gear will depend on the fish that you’re targeting, the drift fishing experience, and your fishing location.
For instance, if you’re in a river, a spinning reel and light rod action will be great while a 9-ft rod with an 8 to 15-pound test line is perfect for a beginner.
Go with a shorter cast if you are planning to do drift fishing in a small stream. Longer casts are more ideal in bigger water bodies e.g. large rivers.
- Reel: When choosing a budget spinning reel to use for drift fishing, choose the one that has a great drag system. It should allow you to have consistent, smooth, and even pressure in different situations in order to tire out a massive fish.
- Rod: It’s important to note sensitivity will be crucial. So, the best material for your drop shot fishing rod would be high modulus graphite.
- Line: A monofilament with a 10-14-pound test will be sufficient. But, this might not be the best, depending on the conditions of the water. Consider an 8-pound test moon line with a fluorocarbon leader that’s less visible if you are using a light action rod in clear waters. You can use mono with a 20-pound test in combination with baitcaster if you will drift fish in a body of water that has high winds and strong currents.
- Weights: For the weight, the pencil-shaped weight will be the best kind as it’s incredibly easy to use. You can also take the tackle easily to a certain fishing zone. Of course, you should have various weight classes effective in various depths.
- Hook Size: Size 1 is the best hook size for drift fishing, but you can also combine it with size 8 or 10 for effectiveness. Your goal would be to match the hook size with the drift bobber’s size so they won’t be overshadowing each other.
No matter where you’ll be for your upcoming fishing trip, try drift fishing as it’s an easy, versatile, and effective fishing technique.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for fish in mid-water structures or at the bottom, drift fishing can help you land any species.
Just remember the aforementioned tips and let the current and wind help you in getting some action.