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Thread: Drift Fishing, How do you do it?

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    Member AlaskaIsCold's Avatar
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    Default Drift Fishing, How do you do it?

    Hiya!

    So yeah for the most part I have always done fly fishing and the few times I have used a spin or baitcast I have been tossing mepps into the water. so I was wondering how exactly one drift fishes, I found out that you would want to attach a three snap swivel, put the main line on one of the loops, a stick lead on the bottom one and 2-3 feet of line out to your lure on the other cast it into the water and then call it good. Is this really how you do it? I just ask because I dont really have an Idea and I don't want to look like a moron or potentially get tangled up with somebody and ruin their experince. I know its like 5 months before this really matters, but im just curious is all, learn a little now as opposed to later.


    ---Chris
    A bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work.

  2. #2

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    There are a lot of finer points than just casting your rig out and letting it bounce the bottom. Your best bet is to look up drift fishing on the internet for good instruction. You may want to buy a book or two on the techniques and rigging options. Try "Drift Fishing for Steelhead and Salmon" by Scott Haugen, and it can be ordered from the book store on this site. Anglers on the Kenai use a unique drift fishing strategy for reds.

  3. #3
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    I use a three way rig with pencil lead when bottom bouncing bigger, faster rivers like the Kenai and use a three way dropper with splitshot on the dropper for smaller, slower rivers.

  4. #4

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    Hey Chris,
    conceptually, its all about getting to the bottom with enough weight to move with the flow of the water. If your rig is ticking bottom while moving, you are drift fishing. The balance is having enough weight to hit bottom with out hanging up to often. Of course you will snag up every now and then. My rule is if you hang up to often, go lighter on your weight. Start by casting slightly above 12 o'clock. If you have close to the right weight, you should hit bottom just as the rig passes you. As far as rigs are concerned, they are mutiple. Alot of people simply use a rubber core sinker above their rig, another is the 3 way swivel with rubber tubing and pencil lead, or a cannon ball sinker or others. Another popular rig is the snap swivel where you attach the mainline to one end, the leader to the inner ring of the snap, and pencil lead to the snap etc. On the business end use anything you want from flies to corkies to spin & glows to yarn or a combination with or with out bait. Leader lengths are always dependent on the conditions. In most areas, 18 inches is the minimum. I usually go longer as the fish become spooky and also I use lighter line or flourocabon as a leader. Tight lines!

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    When I drift fish, I hardly ever use a 3-way swivel. I use a quality black swivel and when I tie on my mainline, I leave a couple inches or more of the tag end after I complete my knot. I buy hollow core pencil lead, and then it's easy to slip on what I need. If I snag up, I pop my line a couple times and I'm free as the line pulls out of the lead. Replace the lead and keep fishing. No need to re-tie, have extra knots etc. Works well with split shot as well. The hollow core lead comes in different weights so you may want to get one weight for heavy flows and a smaller one for slower water.

    What I have gone to is a 'slinky'. You can do a google or a youtube search for how to make them, but essentially use parachute cord with the center removed. Buy lead shot that fits the size cord you have.Use a lighter to heat the end and seal with pair of pliers. Add lead shot. Snip, leaving enough to heat and seal again with pliers. I use a quality snap swivel and tie my mainline to one end tie my hook to the other end of the swivel portion, leaving the snap loose. I run it through a couple strands of the cord. Slinkies will hang up way less than lead does. I make 2-shot up to 10-shot. Above that I use something else or the water is too high/fast to fish. Try them you will like them.

  6. #6
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    bunch of weight (pencil lead, bass casting sinkers are good), enough that it bounces nicely on the bottom... + some corkies + some spin and glows or beads and some yarn and maybe some eggs if I'm not too lazy... Cast out, tighten line, feel the bounce... bounce... bounce... set the hook when you have a fish.. pretty easy... Like fishing at the russian with different terminal tackle and a longer cast.

    Nowadays if I'm fishing with non fly gear I'll use enough weight to keep it on the bottom so I can sit in a lawn chair and drink beer while I wait for mister king to come along. The real trick is landing the fish without putting down your beer!
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  7. #7
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    I grew up drift fishing flies and spawn bags for steelhead in Michigan. I used 3 way swivels early on cause they are easy to rig. Now I just use a barrel swivel and tie the dropper for the lead off the lead swivel loop with the mainline. Keep an assortment of shot sizes so you can add or subtract what you need. Leave the dropper open with no knot so you can pull free or use light line for the dropper so you can break off. Stream bedload dictates how you fish it and how much you get hung up. Sand is forgiving, large rocks are not. The tough part is knowing when to set the hook. Sometimes he hits it, sometimes he stops it and drops it. If it stops, lift your tip and check him.....if he responds, nail him....if not, could be bottom. Sometimes you will line (floss) him and it cathces in his mouth. Get him before he feels the weight and shakes it out. Pencil lead is great but shot is cheaper. I make my own. Try the trick with the chute cord the other guys mentioned....less hangups and easy to do. Dropper should be a foot or so. Leader at least 3 ft in dirty water and 6 at least in clear. Try light mono or some flouro for leader. Steelies can be real line shy sometimes. Some guys use weight with their fly gear and call it "Chuck and Duck". You probly know why!!! Google it. I use a fly rod (8 or 9 wt) with lite spin gear for steelhead drfiting. Avoid the "Duck" part of it. Many guys using big floats to drift these days. I dont but I hear it works well. Nothing magic about it. I catch bass, walleye, channel cats, stripers, etc....as well as trout and salmon drifitng a variety of flies, lures, baits. Very usefull technique.

    If your combat fishing, you will get tangled. Try to time it right with the guys around you and don't worry to much about it. Keep your clippers close by.

    Ive rambled enough. Good Luck.

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