Crappie pro Matthew Outlaw said his favorite tactic in any season entails tight- lining combinations of jigs and minnows along channel breaks and over the tops and sides of submerged timber and brush. The majority of the time — especially during the early spring — that exposes him to the wind, which can make tight lining extremely difficult.
“Successful tight-lining means you have to go slow,” he said. “Hard winds will blow you all over the water and cause you to troll a lot faster than you should. You have to figure out a way to slow the boat down.”
In the past, anglers would use drift socks or 5-gallon buckets, deployed behind the boat, to slow the drift of the watercraft. The problem was, the drag in the rear of the boat created severe control problems and you could only go with the wind, not at angles to it.
The next tactic is still employed by a lot of anglers. Dragging one or two sections of heavy gauge logging chain behind the boat provides better control, and when combined with electric anchor trolleys, can be set, adjusted and deployed from the stern without having to interrupt fishing and wrangler with wet lines on the back of a rocking boat.
“Dragging logging chains works pretty good, and most all of the tight-liners have learned how to make it work,” Outlaw said. “The problem with dragging chains is it’s a one-and-done deal. If you drag a set of chains through a brush pile or over the top of a stump bed, it spooks the fish and muddies up the water and it’s hard to turn right around and get those fish to bite.”
The newest innovation in slowing down the progress of a wind-blown boat is an added benefit from a piece of gear used to hold fishing boats still in shallow water: the Power Pole.
Now available as an accessory attachment to the retracting arms of the Power Pole are Dual Drift Paddle kits. The paddles can be rotated 180 degrees to fine-tune the amount of drag and when fully deployed have as much stopping power as logging chains.
“These things are awesome for slowing you down, even out in deep water where the Power Poles won’t reach bottom,” Outlaw said. “I can fish just about any wind and keep the boat in better position. The other good thing is I can raise or lower the Power Pole remotely from the front of the boat when it’s time to move and don’t have to go to the back of the boat.”