Boat control crucial in the month of September
September is a good month to talk about boat control in windy conditions. We have heavy wind days throughout the open-water fishing season, but September is full of windy days.
All this wind the last week reminded me it might be a good time to offer some suggestions that can help with keeping yourself on your spot in big wind.
We all know that boat control can make a huge difference in fishing success, and fishing in strong, gusty winds can challenge the best anglers for controlling their boat.
If you have a light aluminum boat with a remote gas tank you may want to consider moving the tank toward the bow of the boat.
Fill the tank to add the extra weight needed to make the bow heavier. Anchors, heavy tackle boxes, and even trolling motor batteries can be shifted around in the boat to create balance.
A light bow gets blown around easily and can make for frustrating boat control. If fishing with partners you may have to move them around in the boat to help maintain a low profile. Proper weight distribution helps keep your boat under good control.
For medium size boats with built in gas tanks, add gas before heading out in strong wind conditions.
Filling live wells and bait wells can add extra weight that makes the boat less susceptible to getting blown around or moved by bigger waves.
You may want to consider moving your fishing partner off the bow so they don't act like a sail. If it is very windy and you only have a bow mount trolling motor you may want to consider back trolling with your gas motor or kicker motor to maintain better control, and reduce the amount of bouncing around that happens in heavy waves or chop.
I only recommend this if you are equipped with splashguards. If you don't have splashguards on your boat, you may have just discovered something to add to your Christmas list.
Drift socks can be invaluable for controlling speed of a drift in a strong wind. If you do not have a drift sock, you have another gift idea for yourself.
They can be effective with all boat sizes and are sold for specific boat sizes.
For larger boats and windshield boats, all the considerations already mentioned apply.
In addition, you may want to consider opening your windshield so wind can pass through it and it won't also act like a big sail.
Make sure you clip the windshield open so a strong wind doesn't slam it closed and break it. At time an anchor can be the ultimate in boat control for large boats in windy conditions.
You will need to let 3 times the length of rope out as the depth you are fishing to reduce the risk of dragging the anchor through your spot.
Anchor up wind with the bow into the wind and let yourself back to the spot you want to fish.
Cleat off one side, than the other, as this can change the angle of approach and help to cover more water in the area fishing.
Glass boats are usually heavier and may be less affected in the wind than aluminum boats.
This is not always true, as the profile of the boat is also a big factor in windy conditions. The only way to get better at boat control in the wind with your boat is to get out and practice.
You may find that the days you used to avoid fishing because of the wind, start to become days of good potential for success.