Outdoor Life

What are drift fishing basics?

By April Hall
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Drift fishing is the perfect technique to reel in a tasty catfish
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What are drift fishing basics if you plan on being successful on the river?

Drift-fishing is generally not a technique that a beginning fisherman would probably be able to use successfully. Most beginning fishermen will start out with bank fishing, which is another way to say a “wait and see” type of fishing. You just bait your hook, throw out the bait and basically just sit and wait for the fish to locate your bait. If it happens to be a windy day, the scent of cut bait, stink bait or live bait will be ineffective for catching fish like catfish.

Knowing a few drift-fishing basics will help you to catch all kinds of fish, but catfish are especially vulnerable on a windy day! Understanding the type of fishing gear suited to drift fishing will make certain you head home with a hearty catch.

Fishermen use large poles or fishing rods when casting for catfish, but when you are drift-fishing you will need to have a long flexible type rod. The fishing line that you use on the rod should be monofilament that is strong enough to hold a catfish but light enough to float in the water current. If the fishing line is too heavy, it will not move smoothly in the flow of the current and the speed of the water will probably cause the fishing line to move too quickly down stream; which could possibly prevent you from catching fish.

A lighter line should be used in order to allow you to easily cast into the moving water. The resistance or friction will be less on the lighter line so the line will travel at a slower speed. A slow-moving line is one of the most important aspects of drift fishing.

There are a few additional drift-fishing basics to help you catch catfish. One hint is to use a bobber when drift-fishing from the bank. You can drift your bait by placing a bobber stop so that your bait hangs about one or two feet above the bottom of the lake or river. Add just enough weight to the line to keep the bait down and to have the bobber standing up. A cigar type bobber is best for this kind of fishing if you are using light bait.

Alternately, if you are using heavy bait, you should use a large round slip bobber. Keep a taut line to prevent the line from floating ahead of the bait. A tight line will help you set your hook. If the line is too loose, you will need to take in the slack of the line before setting the hook which most times will allow the fish to take your bait without getting caught.

Drift-fishing basics are not limited to “on the bank” (or “wait and see”!) fishing. Drift-fishing allows you to be able to fish around fallen trees, boulders or other structures where you might find catfish. Always be sure to cast into a flowing stream. The theory to using drift-fishing basics is to allow the fishing rig to slowly drift with the current. You want the bait to look natural as it is moving through the water.

Next, continually feed the line as the bait moves downstream. If the rig stops because it is hung, lift it a bit to get it moving. If you do not get a bite, continue to work the area by recasting and adjusting the bobber up to allow your rig to drift through deeper. After several casts and no luck, you might need to move downstream to another spot and start the process over again.

As with any other type of fishing, drift-fishing takes almost as much patience and luck as it does skill!

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