Get the Drift
begin drifting, position the boat on the upwind side of the flat. The ideal wind conditions will move your boat at about 1/2 mile per hour. If the boat is moving slower, you can use a trolling motor to increase your drifting speed. If the wind is stronger and you need to slow the boat down, it can be done in a couple of ways. Wind socks are available that attach to the side of the boat and work well at slowing the boat’s speed, but it is sometimes just as easy to use two five-gallon buckets. Attach a 4- to 8-foot section of rope to each one and tie them to opposite ends of the boat. They will fill with water and provide the same type of drag as a windsock.
Once you begin drifting across the flat, it is best to hold onto your fishing rod. When drifting, strikes can be lightening fast and if the rod is in a rod holder, the fish will often be missed. Once a strike occurs, try to mark the location with a marker buoy, a GPS or by shoreline landmarks. After drifting the entire length of the flat, you can maneuver the boat upwind of the strike zones and target the areas that produced fish.
As summer winds down, lasso a few shad with a casting net, throw a couple of five-gallon buckets in the flat-bottomed boat and head to the lake. Enjoy the cool breeze blowing the boat gently across the water, but try to keep a tight grip on the rod. It can be yanked over the side of the boat in an instant and sink to the bottom among the many other fishing rods of those unprepared for the powerful strikes of catfish while drift fishing.
Find MO Fish
MDC now has a free smart phone application that shows you a map of Missouri with the locations of public boat ramps to major lakes, rivers and streams. The map also shows you the exact location of underwater fish structures MDC has established over the years. These fish-attracting structures act as habitat for fish. With the geo-location feature, you can guide your boat right up to your favorite fish attractor and start fishing.
For links to find this application for your phone, go to mdc.mo.gov/node/15421. length of the flat, you can maneuver the boat upwind of the strike zones and target the areas that produced fish.