Friday, August 10, 2007

The Trolling Plate Category Has Expanded

If you fish for Walleye, Salmon, big Lake Trout or a variety of marine species, you are probably aware of the importance of slow trolling. Getting your boat down to that perfect speed can be a challenge, which means that anglers usually have to turn to some specialized gear to help them out.

Many anglers add a small electric or gas trolling motor to push them along with a little less force. However that brings with it the challenges of buying, maintaining and mounting two motors, plus they may need an separate steering system for their trolling motor.
The other alternative is to run their regular outboard or stern drive at an idle, but in many cases, even that isn't slow enough. That is where trolling plates and drift socks come in.

minnkota drift sock and drift sock harnessA drift sock is basically small sea anchors - sort of a windsock for the water. They work by creating drag opposite the boats direction of travel. When trolling, this can be enough to slow you down and it can aid in maintaining steering control at slow speeds. Drift socks are also used when anchoring in a current to help stabilize the boat from swinging in the current. This is a favored tactic for catfish anglers who are working the big rivers and need to stay steady while drifting bait through deep holes and flow convergences. The challenge with a drift sock is to make sure you keep it our of your prop. we offer two sizes of the popular Minnkota Nylon Drift Sock and the drift sock harness designed for each.

Easy Troller Trolling Plate with plate in down position for trollingTrolling Plates are pretty simple in theory. When in use they present a plate (metal or plastic) that drops behind the prop, deflecting the engines thrust. When not in use, the trolling plate swings up out of the way so that it has little or no impact on normal engine performance. Where it gets trickier is designing the plates to raise and lower reliably under pressure, and to survive accidentally being hit with the engines full thrust. It is inevitable that an angler with a trolling plate will forget to lift the plate before hitting the throttle to set up for the next track or head home. In the original models, that would almost guarantee that the trolling plate would bend or break. You don't do that to too many of trolling plates before you wonder if there isn't a better way. The most recent generation of trolling plates have come up with some pretty innovative ways to address this issue.

In heavy duty metal trolling plates, the Ironwood Pacific Easy Troller Trolling Plate is one of our favorites. It provides good positive up and down locks and works smoothly even under some pressure. The Easy Troller also includes a patented hinge design that allows the plate to flex and disperse the energy if the engine is throttled up while the plate is locked in the down position. You won't go anywhere fast, but you won't ruin your Easy Troller either.

The Davis Marine Happy Troller Trolling Plate is another of the heavy duty metal trolling plates. The Happy Troller trollng plate has been used by thousands of anglers over the years and it is one of the best known names in trolling plates. Our only complaint about it is that Davis still relies on their tried and true "original" style. That means if I forget and hit the gas with the plate down, I'm liable to break or bend my Happy Troller and I won't be happy.

The T & L Trol-a-Matic Trolling Plate is a unique design that uses fiberglass filled nylon to make a light weight trolling plate. The Trol-a-Matic is spring loaded so that when engine speeds drop to a certain level, it will drop to the down position. It doesn't lock, but still disrupts the thrust enough to slow the boat to trolling speeds. If you apply power, the thrust overcomes the spring and automatically pushes the trolling plate to the "up" position. No bent plates and no worrying about raising and lowering it. The manufacturer notes that since it is always on, Trol-a-Matic can also aid in slow speed maneuvers like docking and it sits out of the way in the down position when the boat is moored.

If you are looking to get your boat's trolling speed down, stop by the SavvyBoater Trolling Plate and Brake Section and check out our great prices and the most popular brands of trolling plates and drift socks.

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