Deep Dragging Basics

At various times of the year fish locate to deeper parts of rivers and lakes. This behavior may be related to outdoor and water temperatures or where feeding areas are located. Many species including trout, salmon, largemouth bass, walleye and muskie are usually caught in these deeper depths. These depths are reached when fishermen deep drag or deep troll using different techniques. Deep dragging or deep trolling basically means dropping a weighted line to a depth where fish are located while traveling in a slow moving boat. Equipment can be as cheap or elaborate as each individual can afford.

The correct line depth is influenced by the bait design, the trolling speed, the amount of extended line and the line diameter and resistance. The lighter the line the less friction it will endure in the water and the heavier the line, the more friction or resistance. If bait on a 17 pound test line drops 15 feet, the same bait will drop 20 feet on a 10 pound line and 22 feet on an 8 pound line. Depending on the type and size of fish one is hoping to catch, using lines up to 20 pound strength are recommended. Line should be thin in diameter and have minimal stretch. Some prefer the super braided versions.

Poles or rods should be light action, flexible and approximately 6-8 feet in length. Reels should have a large line capacity and a high gear ratio. Trolling reels have line counters to readily show how much line has been released which is an inexpensive way to estimate depth. Special trolling poles are manufactured along with other trolling equipment. When catching larger fish pros suggest using crankbait or rappelas that are at least 9” in length. The bait can be straight or jointed and natural or hot patterns can be used. Dipsy weights or snap lock weights are attached after a slip shot to achieve desired depth.

A boat should travel ideally at speeds of 1 to 4 mph. While the boat is moving cast off and gradually foot by foot advance the line until the desired depth is obtained or until the crankbait hits the bottom. The line should sink anywhere from 4 to 20 feet from the boat. The drag is set lightly as tight drags tend to break and could result in lost gear.

When the bait hits the bottom a sound is produced and silt is kicked up which will attract fish to strike. Pumping or jerking the rod will also assimilate the action of a wounded or struggling fish. The boat should move in a S-curve fashion which enables it to cover a lot of territory. When a fish strikes allow it to firmly take hold before attempting to reel it in. Turn the boat if necessary to ensure the fish is being brought in on the side of the boat rather than from the front or the back.

As with any sport there a numerous types of elaborate equipment one can purchase to enhance fishing techniques. Tattle flags and plank boards with flags allow anglers to visualize when a fish latches on using the same concept as a bobber. Many like using 12 to 24 inch heavy duty leaders at the end of the line with swivels and snap lock weights. Bouncers are a type of lead that is L shaped thus skimming along the bottom without experiencing as many snags.

3-way rigs are a favorite and consist of a 3-way swivel which attaches to the end of the main line. Another line comes off of this and the sinkers are attached to that. The last line contains the hook and bait. The sinker line will drudge the bottom rustling out the fish while the bait line swims smoothly along waiting for them to strike. Some anglers attach an additional line to the main line by use of swivels and lighter weights thus creating the option of catching more than one variety of fish at various depths.

Many anglers prefer using fish finders which can be purchased at sporting equipment stores or mass merchandisers with prices starting under $100. These battery operated devices provide water temperature, a visual of the bottom topography and locate fish singly or in schools. This allows anglers information as to how deep the line should be sunk and where.