Courtesy is Important While Drift Fishing
Each year we fishermen enjoy the many benefits to drift fishing.
As we trailer our boats toward the bay with great anticipation, we take time to discuss with each other how we are going to fish this or that particular area, and what kind if bait to use.
Keep in mind; wind direction in the city and at the water’s edge is usually 180 degrees different.
Once away from the marina, head straight for the area you wish to fish.
Upon arriving, take note of the wind direction and start your drift sideways.
By doing so, more people can fish toward the structure with the wind at their backs.
If the wind is pushing your boat too fast for you to work the bait of choice (live or artificial), there are several methods to drift.
The most commonly used is a drift anchor. It is a bright yellow or blue plastic cone, with a half-inch rope attached to straps that are connected to the top of the cone. (Approx 4 feet across)
The cone fills with water and slows down your drift. The other end is just about an 8-10 inches wide. Other materials may include a five-gallon paint bucket allowed to fill with water and trailed on a half-inch line about 20 feet long.
If you don’t have either of these handy attachments, take your anchor and set it down backwards, allowing it to drag the bottom and slow down your drift.
Earlier, I mentioned keeping the wind to your back. It is almost impossible to cast into the wind or away from the direction you are drifting. Unless you are dredging the spoils of the channel. More on that another time.
You must keep up with the slack line between you and your bait. Once you have a fish on, tell your guide or friend immediately. He will then be able to set the anchor so you and the rest of the party can cast in the general direction of the first fish that was caught.
Do not over stay in the area. A good rule-of-thumb would be about 15 minutes.
If you don’t pick up any more trout or reds, pull up the anchor and continue to drift.
Sometimes I find it more productive not to use the anchor and just drift. Each structure or reef is different.
And, remember, never leave fish. If you have been successful either by anchoring or drifting, stay in the area. The fish will feed again or they may have moved nearby.
Tidal movement and presentation of your bait are very important. If you have caught fish in the area, work it deliberately for at least an hour before moving on. You may want to return to the area when the tide turns the opposite direction.
Boating courtesy is very important when drifting. You may have had another boat anchor right in front of your drift or what we refer to as being cut off from either a boat running through your drift area, or starting up the engine as soon as you approach their boat.
Keep in mind the fish are not likely to stay in the area if you continue to make lots of noise when you decide to leave. Pick up your anchor and drift out of the area then start up the engine and begin a new drift.
Use common courtesy and look for bait activity. A trolling motor comes in handy if you need to leave, but don’t want to stay.
Remember to always have fun and enjoy being outdoors.
See y’all on Galveston Bay.
Capt. Paul Marcaccio
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