Working all the Angles

Working All The Angles

This short story is about your trolling motors on the bow and transom. The short story identifies the advantages of using both units as one, which many anglers do not do as a normal tactic. The incorporation of both trolling motors will allow you to work all angles.

Anytime an angler is faced with locating fish, especially on water that has a lot of vertical structure, the use of electric trolling motors is a very good option. Many anglers will use one or the other and many just one. This can limit your opportunities to locate active fish and determine the method best suited to catch them.

I fished many years with my friend, Wallace Becker. He taught me a lot about walleye fishing. Wallace was old school. When he found walleye, he would often as not, tie on a jig and back troll with his transom mount trolling motor. He was very successful at this tactic. In later years, he would often forward troll spinner blades with his bow mount trolling motor but that was pretty much the extent of it.

Trolling motor advancements and new battery technology has made a trolling motor a formidable tool in angling. Gone are the days of trolling motors with a speed control that eats up stored electrical power in your battery (s). MinnKota made the breakthrough many years ago (Maximizer feature) and installed a rheostat in the head of the unit that utilized power by demand. Instead of using power based on the constant demand of the motor, the rheostat allows you to use power based on need, from 0 to 100 % demand. This innovation added triple the hours use of a battery thus making the trolling motor far more efficient and long lasting search tool.

The battery technology has added to the working time of a trolling motor as well and that is why we are discussing the advantages of using both bow and transom trolling motors at the same time.

The go to areas for a lot of walleye anglers is checking the break line, from shallow to deep. Their quarry relates to these areas often and thus helps the angler focus on key areas holding fish. To analyze these areas, an angler will watch his sonar intently. He or she may use the main engine to run along the break line or zig zag back and forth in an attempt to find their quarry.

Once fish are located on the sonar, a determination is made whether the sonar indications represent those of walleye characteristics. Sometimes this is not possible but in either case, the angler will determine a bait and presentation that will entice a bite. Once an angler determines that walleye are present, he or she will most likely anchor or use a trolling motor to catch fish.

Electric trolling motors are extremely quiet and the most often used for shallow fish. At depth, sound from sonars, boat hulls and people seem less important.

However, walleye will show certain traits throughout the day on the same structure. They have feeding patterns from passive to aggressive. Passive walleye often school deep on tips of points and inside turns. The more active a walleye gets, the more the fish rises off bottom and begins a journey up the water column. A fish seen on sonar at 30’-0 in the early morning could move to 10’-0 or less during the course of the day. An angler who does not watch for the constant vertical movement of the fish will miss out on a consistent bite.

Anglers who move across the break line from deep to shallow and back again will often pick up on these fish movements. This is when an angler should consider using both trolling motors in tandem.

My MinnKota bow mount has two interesting features. One, I have a corded foot pedal that allows me to operate the bow unit while sitting on the rear casting platform. This is my position when operating the rear transom mount as well. Then I have an auto pilot feature on the bow mount. This allows me to set a compass direction and have the trolling motor make adjustments for me. Once set, I can either use the directional control of the autopilot or engage the foot pedal to make course corrections, change speeds or push the on, off feature.

The transom mount has an auto deploy, a four to one steering control as well as infinite speed control like the bow mount.  Anglers like myself have taught ourselves to use these units as one. You can pull up the break with the bow unit and pull yourself back to the depths with the transom mount, instead of having to turn a circle to stay on your prey. You can hover on a spot or turn a circle in less than a boat length.

The accuracy of your presentation is intensified immensely and there is very little work involved. If you fish with a partner, one or the other unit can be operated by the partner, and both of you can see how the fish are positioned or become more conscious of the fish activity.   In this case, one party will pull the boat up the break and the other back down. Directional changes so simple and so effective, I wonder why so few anglers do this?

My boat is an older unit that carries two 31-plate deep cycle batteries to give me a 24-volt system. This matches my trolling motors. Both units feed off the same power source. Because the trolling motors are energy efficient, I can work through the majority of tournament days without running out of battery power.

Working all the angles is all about boat control and how to stay on fish without expending too much time and energy. I hope you read through this short story and apply the knowledge to your fishing experience.


September 21, 2006