Accessorizing your craft for optimum trout catching conditions
If someone tells you you don’t need a trolling motor on your boat, stop talking to that person — you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
I had an idea of what I wanted for an inshore boat when I started my saltwater journey a little more than five years ago.
My idea was based primarily on my bass fishing past and the handful of times I had fished with local inshore anglers.
Here we are in 2017, and I know exactly what I want. I just have to convince the chief financial officer of my household that’s what I need.
Please bear in mind that the boat I lay out below is to optimize the way I fish for speckled trout. There’s countless ways to capture speckled trout, so don’t get your knickers in a twist if this goes against anything you believe.
The boat I have in mind is a 24-foot bay boat, maybe 22 feet if the CFO limits my budget.
Let’s start at the front and work our way back.
A trolling motor is a very important part of my game. I like to move a lot and try different angles. so a trolling motor is a must.
I used foot-control trolling motors on my bass boats and have a hand control on my current boat. My next boat will feature a remote-control trolling motor with the anchor feature, such as the Minn Kota i-Pilot or the Motorguide Xi5.
If my budget allows, it’ll most likely be the Minn Kota that has the auto stow and deploy feature. I’m not a guide, but I take a lot of folks fishing so this would be nice to be able to do everything from the boat’s console.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve caught a trout and during the process drifted off the spot while reeling in the fish, unhooking and placing it in the cooler or releasing it.
With the anchor feature, I can hit the anchor button immediately and stay in the same location. This feature will be used when I’m fishing an area deeper than 6 feet; more to come on that.
The other feature that intrigues me about the remote-control trolling motors is the ability to save tracks.
This feature would be incredibly handy when fishing structure like Katrina Reef. I could set my drift and let the trolling motor keep me the optimum distance off the reef based on a pre-configured track.
When a fish strikes, simply hit the anchor button and comb the area over.
The next option I’ll have is a good electronics package that includes side and down imaging.
I have no doubt that I could increase my catch if I took the time to map out the areas I fish to determine where fish are holding and why.
A pass with side imaging down Katrina Reef would show where fish were holding, along with what they’re holding on. Side imaging would allow me to see the areas that consistently hold fish, and would be an aid to help me find similar areas on other parts of the reef.
The other area I think quality electronics would benefit is during the fall and winter when trout are up the bayou. I could idle up Fort Bayou and actually see trout on the side imaging and down imaging more clear than my current electronics.
Again, it would also allow me to map out areas that are consistent year after year and see what the fish are holding on.
The next piece of the puzzle are shallow-water anchors, whether it be Minn Kota Talons or Power Poles. I want two on the stern to keep the boat from spinning.
Shallow-water anchors come into play in water less than 6 feet deep. When I get a hit, I’ll punch the anchor button so I can stop in my tracks and comb the area over.
It’s the same logic as the anchor feature on my trolling motor, but for shallow water. I feel the trolling motor anchor in shallow water would cause too much disturbance to the bottom.
I’ve had a hydraulic jack plate on all but my first two boats, and I’ll never own another boat without one.
Hydraulic jack plates do add an extra expense, along with extra weight but they’re invaluable if you fish shallow water or have to traverse shallow water to get to a spot.
A hydraulic jack plate allows you to raise your outboard vertically so your outboard is pushing straight forward. It also keeps the water pickups on your outboard in the water, which will prevent overheating.
The last piece is an outboard that is at or close to the maximum horsepower rating for the boat.
It seems to me a lot of saltwater boats I see are underpowered, which ends up overworking your outboard. I’m no longer a go-fast guy, but I want enough motor on the back to get me rolling and not struggle when I need the power to get on down the bayou.
Like I said at the beginning, the components I spoke on are to optimize the way I fish for trout. They might help you choose your next rig, and they might not.
We have so much technology at our fingertips we can leverage to make our lives more efficient. My plan is to take advantage of said technology and become more efficient at doing what I absolutely love — chasing those wondrous speckled trout.