May 10, 2015
Paddle Your Way To Better Boat Control
By: Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz
Ask a group of walleye anglers what the most important aspect of catching walleyes is and you will no doubt get a variety of answers. However, one of the answers that you’ll get from many of them will be “boat control.” So many walleye presentations rely on the angler being able to put the boat over the right spot at the right speed in order to get bites. To accomplish ideal boat control walleye anglers have many tools at their disposal, but one boat control device we have come to rely on a great deal the past couple seasons is a paddle … bet that gets your attention!
Now we are not talking about your typical “row-row-row your boat” kind of paddle. We’re talking a Power-Pole Drift Paddle! If you have seen our boats the past couple seasons, you have noticed they sport these tall apparatuses on the transom opposite the kicker motor. That is a Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchor. While these have been very common on bass boats the past few years, you are just beginning to see them mounted on walleye boats. How they work is with the push of a button, the device scissors out and down, and drives a fiberglass rod into the bottom. For those few presentations like pitching jigs to shallow shoreline breaks, or tossing crankbaits along weed edges, where anchoring in shallow water is called for, these work perfectly.
But only a small percentage of walleye fishing is done in shallow water: Most of the time we are drifting deeper flats or trolling structure or open water. So how can a Power-Pole be of use in those situations? Honestly, as a shallow water anchor in those situations they are of very little use, but attach a Power-Pole Drift Paddle to the unit’s spike and now you have a boat control tool that can be used in a number of ways to keep you on fish.
Let’s take on a couple key scenarios where the Drift Paddle would be used and we think you’ll see how this unique accessory can become an integral part of your walleye fishing.
Scenario #1: You are trolling open water in early summer using spinners. The wind is up to about 15 to 20 mph, and as you troll with the wind, it becomes difficult to maintain a good slow speed for the spinners because the wind is pushing you so much. With the Drift Paddle attached to the Power-Pole, you simply deploy it into the water creating drag that helps in slowing down your trolling speed. You can even control the amount of drag it creates by how far down into the water you lower the paddle. Deploy it only half way and it slows you down a little; deploy it all the way down into the water and we have actually been able to slow the boat down as much as a mile to a mile and quarter when trolling with our big engines.
Another advantage of using the Drift Paddle in this scenario is that with the paddle down, it dramatically decreases the “surge” effect the waves have on the boat as you troll. That’s a big deal, especially when trolling spinners, as the surges can affect how the spinners are running, and in dingy water can make it difficult for the fish to track down your bait. By eliminating, or at least lessening the surging, the spinners run truer and therefore are more effective. Not to mention it just makes for a more comfortable ride for the angler.
In scenario #2, you have found a school of walleyes scattered along the break off a large shallow main-lake flat and determined that a controlled drift approach would be the best bet for approaching and boating a few of these fish. One of the great features of the Drift Paddle is that it can be set. The Drift Paddle has seven quick-change positions that cover a full 180 degrees, allowing you to set the paddle at the angle you need to help the boat drift on the path you want it to. Controlling the boat’s path by using the bowmount trolling motor, when you need to move in or out on the break, the Drift Paddle easily cuts through the water making positioning so much easier than having to drag a drift sock as we used in the past. Drifting with the Paddle off the back and our bowmount trolling motor up front, this is “Controlled Drifting” with the most ultimate control we’ve ever had!
Another advantage to the Drift Paddle over the drift sock, in both scenarios, is when a fish is hooked and is being brought to the boat. The paddle can be easily lifted out of the way with the touch of a button – especially using the key-fob remote control that we just wear around our neck when fishing.
And the Paddle is tough. It’s made of a space age UV stable polymer that flexes with the spike for increased stability, features stainless steel and bronze hardware for durability, and silicon rubber bumpers for quiet operation.
Could you do the same thing with a drift sock? Sure you could, but with a lot more work and much less versatility. Not to mention, any of you that have used drift socks know the mess they can make when you bring them in the boat, getting everything wet. The Power-Pole and Drift Paddle adds so much versatility and control to walleye anglers, we believe that adding one to your boat is one of the best things you can do to ensure your success at getting your Next Bite.