Boat Positioning

Our boat drifted along the end of Great Island, Mass. with the current.  I watched my son in the bow cast repeatedly and not catch a fish.  My daughter was in the stern, and at one point she caught three fish in four casts.  She absolutely hammered the striped bass. And me?  I was behind the console, which put me in the middle in more ways than one.

Both were using an identical plug cast on an identical rod with an identical leader.  On the next drift I turned the boat 180 degrees.  Low and behold my son started
catching ‘em up and my daughter went fishless. All was well with the world.

The problem?  It was that the boat position was better suited for the angler in the stern.

When the anglers in the bow cast on a 45-degree angle straight ahead, the boat drifted towards the plug. Anyone in the bow could simply not reel fast enough so as to add action to the plug. Anyone in the stern had a lay up and as soon as the line came tight, either a striped bass or a bluefish was hooked up.

Whether you’re drifting with a strong ocean current or a trolling motor, keep in mind how you cast.  If the boat is heading towards your lure the odds are good that you won’t catch a fish.  Cast on an angle to the boat, let the line come tight, and add a sassy action that will drive the fish crazy.  (Top Photo Copyright Barry and Cathy Beck)

You Might Also Like

Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at