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fishing without a trolling motor

long story short. my dad is coming down from the myrtle beach area to fish in and around ft. pierce in mid march. 90% of his fishing consists of offshore up in sc. the trolling motor he had/has is a very old minn kota that finally kicked the bucket and they no longer make parts for it. he isn't going to cough up 1-2K on a new TM just for this trip. we usually do a mixed bag of fishing, offshore and backcountry/inshore stuff. 

we have fished that area before but the trolling motor worked at that time. honestly, i have never fished without a TM and i’m scratching my head on how to fish inshore/backcountry (docks/shorelines) without it. fishing the flats would be near impossible (no platform or pushpole). the last thing i want to do is fire the motor up every 30 seconds. the only other option would be to drift fish. i'm somewhat spoiled since i fish mainly out of kayak or off my sup so i can get in/out any type of water. any suggestions?

he has a century center console, 19-22', drafts about 12"ish, running a 115 yahmaha. 

rise and shine, it's fishing time!


  • ArsinekArsinek Posts: 64 Greenhorn
    Depends on how youre going to fish I guess. As a kid I never had a trolling motor. We would just anchor and throw out live bait and let it sit on the bottom. Fish for like 20-30min, no action, move to the next spot.
  • Bassin AssassinBassin Assassin Posts: 1,300 Officer
    Tough to fish inshore without a tm. Gotta use an anchor or use the wind, if possible, to drift down some flats. Put buckets on ropes and drop them off the back to slow your drift if the wind is blowing you too fast. Break out the artificials to cover more water. Work the shorelines on higher tides.
    Improve Our Fishery - Practice Catch and Release
  • BareHookBareHook Posts: 47 Greenhorn
    You can find lower cost used trolling motors on craigslist and at local pawn shops and get a replacement without breaking the bank
  • skankin pickleskankin pickle Posts: 52 Deckhand
    thanks for the input guys. @barehook, my dad is stubborn as hell. when i told him how not having a TM changes things, it was like talking to a wall  :( . might even try and use my sup or kayak paddle to move us around, it's ghetto but it would work. 

    rise and shine, it's fishing time!
  • Garage DogGarage Dog Posts: 157 Deckhand
    BareHook said:
    You can find lower cost used trolling motors on craigslist and at local pawn shops and get a replacement without breaking the bank
    Thats what I did. Found it on Craigslist.It took a while to find a good one but I ended up with a 80 lb Foretrex for $350!
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,986 Captain
    You're not done when your troller craps out on you (or when you break or lose your pushpole - another of those "ask me how I know" moments in 21 years guiding....).   Here's how I handle it on those rare occasions when my pushpole (I haven't had a troller for 15 years or more....)is either gone or broken and un-usable.... I simply work spot to spot, concentrating on places with a noticeable current like river/creek mouths, points, forks, etc - all in the backcountry of the Everglades with anglers aboard.... I ease into position -shutting down first then allowing the current to bring us to where we need to be before dropping the anchor (kind of real old-fashioned - but very workable....).   I have my anglers tossing arties (jigs or leadheads with Gulp tails mostly) at structure or across current and deep while setting out baits down current that will fish rods anchored in rod holders....  Works like a charm if you stay on top of it - we keep two bait rods out (either live or cut ladyfish mostly) while my two anglers are working their casting situations.  Whenever one of the bait rods goes over I have them hand be whatever rod they were fishing - then they go to the bait rods....

    An alternative is to drift the edges of grass flats or channels through flats with one angler working a popping cork with a jig or live bait under it while the second angler works a jig or leadhead as we cover ground.  Another way of working the same type of ground is to anchor up where you can reach the deep edge of any grass flat where there's a current - then hang out a chumbag to draw fish while you bounce jigs along the grass edges - then catch and fish the small bait that your chum line draws and only moving when the current quits or the fish do...

    Hope this helps - none of this is secret info - all of us probably started out this way early on - then we all got sophisticated and wanted to fish like bassmaster tournament types....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,346 AG
    edited February 2018 #8
    I drift the grass flats using wind and tide. In around oyster bars and emergent grass/oyster areas I ditch the boat and wade. High tide these areas are only a couple feet deep, they are out of the water during low tide. Wading is a lot of fun. Some times I worry about the bacteria...I wear white rubber boots to protect against oysters.
  • skankin pickleskankin pickle Posts: 52 Deckhand
    thx lemaymiami and Cyclist. very much appreciated.
    rise and shine, it's fishing time!
  • finbullyfinbully Posts: 771 Officer

    When I first bought my flats boat, I thought it sacrilegious to put a troller on it. I was fine polling when I had someone on the bow doing most of the casting. However, I found myself ineffective fishing by my self trying to poll and cast or idling to spots and drifting or anchoring. I ended up installing a bow troller and I'm much more effective in the catching department now when fishing by myself. I still like to poll someone around and do my fishing by spotting fish or fishy looking areas to cast by my guest on the bow. I get more fun out of seeing the other person on my boat hooking up than when I hook up myself. I guess age did this to me.

    Bob (lemaymiami) is extremely knowledgeable in his craft so when he write we should read. Another though to add to his suggestions are getting a drift sock (anchor) to slow your drift. If you deploy two of them (1 at the bow, 1 at the stern), you will stay parallel (or thereabout) to the wind. Deploying two anchors (1 at the bow, 1 at the stern) will keep you broadside to your casting target area instead of swinging on one anchor.

  • Bite 1Bite 1 Posts: 489 Deckhand
    WADE, shallows. Have towed my Dad many miles when TM went bad and caught many good fish. Ask Mark Nichols. Slow and deadly
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