If you’ve read my column for a while, you already know that I absolutely despise fishing in windy conditions. I can take the rain and the downpours, but I cannot stand fighting the wind and trying to keep the boat in a position so that both Missy and I can fish decently.
I was tired of drifting over spots due to the wind, or not being able to hold myself in a spot to work bedding fish. It was a challenge even sitting in open water vegetation to pick apart the grass and locate bass. So when I ordered my new boat almost two years ago, something that would help me with boat positioning was near the top of my list.
Actually, I got three somethings: A pair of Power-Poles for anchoring in shallow water, and a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor. The Minn Kota a game-changing feature called Spot-Lock capabilities. A simple click of the button and the trolling motor will hold the boat right where it is, with no additional input from you. Basically, it allows me to temporarily anchor the boat in any depth.
These devices have made my fishing so much easier. This past weekend was a perfect example. The wind had kicked up a little bit — not real bad, but enough that it would move me around while I was fishing out in deeper water and working underwater vegetation.
In my old boat, this would have been a problem, but not anymore. I looked at my GPS to see where I had found bass in practice, drove the boat right in the middle of my spots and kicked on the Spot-Lock. Perfect. We sat there and fished, catching a few before I took off the Spot-Lock, moved to another area nearby, and locked it to start fishing again.
It was perfect. Using the Spot-Lock to allow us to fish this area really well, we boated 12 keeper bass inside of an hour. Would we have caught fish without it? Sure — but I give a lot of the credit to having a device that could hold us in one spot and allow us to fish the way we needed to.
Why not just use the Power-Poles? This particular area was too deep for the Power-Poles to work. The only other tool that would have worked was an actual noisy, messy, fussy anchor. Having something to keep me in the place I needed to be was essential, and the Minn Kota definitely did the job for me.
As the day wore on, we ran to another location and found some running water. Up ahead at the bend in this small outflow I could see bass breaking the surface, ambushing bait as it came through that area. Here is where the Power-Poles came in handy. I worked my way up into this outflow and found the water moving faster than I had ever seen it. I had the trolling motor on seven just to keep myself inching forward. Using Spot-Lock in these conditions would drain the batteries quickly.
So as soon as I got within casting range, I lowered the Power-Poles so they could hold me right where I needed to be. This also illustrates why I have twin Power-Poles instead of a single. One would have held the boat, but the current would have swung us around. With two, the boat stayed facing the direction I chose.
Between the wind and the current, we didn’t stand much of a chance trying to catch these bass without the Power-Poles. It held us where we needed to be so we could cast right where we needed to in order to catch those bass.
These two devices paid huge dividends in two different ways. The Spot-Lock on my trolling motor allowed me to fish the deeper water and catch a couple limits of bass in a short amount of time. The Power-Poles allowed me to hold myself in an area and pick off a few bass that I may not otherwise have been able to even cast at.
They’re both great tools, but I can’t pretend they’re not expensive. Depending on the Power-Pole models you want, it can cost $5,000 or more to buy and install a pair. A Minn Kota trolling motor (which I chose partly because they integrate with Humminbird Helix fishfinders), will run you between $2,000 and $3,500. Pricey toys.
But for me, they have been well worth the money. I feel that having these for tournament fishing has been invaluable.
I never knew what I was missing out on until I finally had it. My old boat had no shallow anchor and a manually steered trolling motor. We fought with boat positioning constantly, and when you’re running a 22-foot Ranger with a 250 Mercury on the back, it’s no easy task to control the vessel in tough conditions.
If you have these devices on your boat, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you don’t, maybe it’s time to at least take a look and do some homework on these devices. I’m happy with my particular choices, but you might also look at Talon anchors or other trolling motor manufacturers, which offer similar features.
I know this much for sure: I won’t ever have a boat without either of these again.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.