May 31, 2015
By Dr. Rob Neumann
Along with your trolling motor, driftsocks are among your best options for boat control. That's no surprise to top walleye experts who use the handy bags when boat position and precise maneuvering are critical to presentation effectiveness. It seems only natural that walleye anglers pioneered many driftsock strategies.
Use driftsocks for walleyes to slow your boat's drift speed in high winds. Control boat position and swing while anchored. Intricately maneuver along tight contours while trolling. Fine tune trolling speeds. As far as fishing equipment goes, a driftsock is one of the least expensive investments you can make — but with a little practice the payoff is huge.
Accu-Drift Sea Anchors feature a spring opening design for easy and instant deployment; 4 sizes available from 30 to 60 inches: $24.99 to $43.99. Reinforced nylon prevents fraying in the Drift Control Fisherman series; 7 sizes from 18 to 54 inches: $22.89 to $56.91. Along with 1-inch heavy-duty straps and durable coated Rip-Stop nylon, Drift Control Original series driftsocks have upper cylinder floats and bottom weights for fast opening and to eliminate bag rotation: 4 sizes from 25 to 60 inches, $54.20 to $85.23. Drift Control Magnums offer more drag for the same diameter as other driftsocks, tough 1-inch straps, coated Rip-Stop nylon, and floats and bottom weights: 3 sizes from 40 to 60 inches, $80.72 to $124.09. Offered in 5 sizes, Wave Tamers have spring openings and top flotation to prevent collapsing, sinking, and spinning: $69.44 to $183.91. Connect any driftsock to the boat with the Drift Control Harness Buoy: $27 — lindyfishingtackle.com
Advanced Angler Pro Series Drift Socks are made with durable, fast-drying 420 denier nylon and feature top floats and bottom weights for instant opening upon deployment. Eight sizes from 26 to 77 inches, $34.99 to $69.99. The company also sells Cabela's Drift Socks in 8 sizes from 26 to 77 inches: $24.99 to $59.99. A harness with buoy also is available: $24.99-$39.98 (2-pack) — cabelas.com
The Minn Kota Drift Sock comes in a 34-inch size, and is made with 210 denier Rip-Stop nylon and heavy duty 1-inch straps: $39.95. The Pro version, also 34-inches, features durable 420 denier Rip-Stop, and sewn-in weights and floats for quick deployment: $42.95, harness with buoy, $32.99 — minnkotamotors.com
Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops Drift Anchor is made with reinforced nylon. In 6 sizes from 18 to 48 inches for a variety of boat sizes and applications: $29.99 to $57.99 — basspro.com
Don't Forget the Dump Rope — A dump rope is a section of rope attached to the small end of the driftsock. The other end of the rope is attached to the main driftsock tie-off at the boat, or on the sock near the tie-off, as long as it's within reach while the driftsock is deployed. To retrieve the sock, pull the dump rope to collapse the sock from small end first, essentially emptying water from the bag as you retrieve it.
Speed Control Trolling
In stronger winds deploy a driftsock (or two) off the stern while you use your bowmount trolling motor to propel the boat forward with the wind. The driftsock slows forward progress, allowing you to fine-tune speed with the trolling motor.
Hugging Contours in Wind
Use the wind to your advantage for presentations along contours. In this example, with wind blowing into the contours, deploy a driftsock off the side at the back of the boat. While you use your bowmount trolling motor to make forward progress and hold the front end in position, the drift sock keeps the back end from blowing into your spot and maintains the boat in parallel position to the contours.
Drifting Lakes and Reservoirs
Use a driftsock to control drift speed on lakes and reservoirs. A single primary driftsock positioned off the side and towards the back often keeps the boat parallel to the wind. Sometimes a second sock (often smaller) towards the bow is necessary to fine-tune your drift.
Control Anchor Swing
Deploy a driftsock off the stern to reduce boat swing while anchored in current. Deploy off port or starboard sides towards the back of the boat to adjust boat position. The boat angles opposite from the side that the driftsock is tied.