Boat Control
by Nic Di Gravio

Boat control is by far one of the most important 'know- hows' for a day of success on the water. You have to compensate for every scenario Mother Nature throws at you and be ready to change in a moments notice!

Wind alone can cause havoc in a days fishing, but if you have a good sense of boat control it can work to your benefit. When approaching a potential spot check the wind direction and work your way in against the wind. This way you have much better control of the boat and using your bow mount you can keep yourself totally still to thoroughly work good cover or move ever so slowly along the fishing path.

Boat control traveling with the wind is equally as important for keeping the boat in a certain position and holding it while the wind moves you along the path. I use this technique often when fishing fast baits like crank baits, spinner baits etc. along a stretch of docks. Then I move up that same stretch against the wind for more control so that plastics can be finessed in that same stretch of docks or weed lines for that matter. Using the ‘fast' bait approach fan casting your offering while the wind propels you is a great way to work a body of water quickly.

When slow trolling for Smallmouth I like to keep the bow into the wind. I find I can very much stay in constant view of my buoys and where I am in relation to them. If there isn't wind to contend with I can zig zag back and forth all around the markers, but with a breeze in the mix it's a different ball game. I move into the wind dragging bait. At the waterways end I reel in and move, circling back way around the markers using the wind and the bow mount to propel me quickly to my starting point.

Vertical jigging with the bow into the wind is made easy with markers in your site. You have something in the water to judge your position and that combined with good boat control is important to vertical jigging success. If using a GPS instead, you can run way off course on a brisk day just by taking your eyes off the screen. The GPS in my opinion should be used to mark fish caught so that you can have a general area to fish. The buoys then help make that area specific which; I think makes controlling the boat much easier!

To me, buoys are an excellent aid for boat control in open water Smallmouth fishing. They are as visible as your rod, always in your line of sight, so you never have to take your eyes off either to see one or the other the whole time while your foot is working the bow mount. Even while retying a different color bait or just grabbing another rod you can still keep the buoy in constant site. If you run off course reeling in a fish then it is as simple as retying and getting back to the visible path with out missing a beat, rather than checking the GPS unit at your feet. Mind you, straying way off course calls for the GPS in order to find your marker quickly.

I use to run an electric steer bow mount on my Bass boat, but found the cable steer system more practical for my Bass outings. On the other hand, my Walleye boat is equipped with an electric steer Auto Pilot bow mount and I wouldn't have it any other way. Now there are certain Walleye fishing situations where the cable steer system would sure come in handy, but you can't have both on the bow! Both types of bow mounts have their advantages, which makes for a tough decision when only one is in the budget!

Now Bass fishing is a whole different ‘ball game' for the most part. It requires fast maneuvering of the boat at the best of times which warrants the cable steer system foot control. You have to be able to change direction in a split second. This is where the cable steer shines. Every tool has its time and place.

They say practice makes perfect. Practicing boat control on the lake just happens to be something I love to do and that's good thing because I can't practice in the garage!

Born In Guelph, Ontario, Nic, his wife Lawney and their son Lorenzo now call Kitchener, Ontario their home.
Even though Nic has thirty years of fishing experience, he still feels that you can never stop learning. His love for Bass fishing has brought him to the Pro Bass Tournament trail. In his first year going professional, Nic has two top ten finishes and was a Classic Qualifier in the C.S.F.L Bassmania Pro Bass circuit, placing eighteenth over all.

But Bass fishing is not Nic’s only love. In the Spring his passion turns to downrigging for salmon, where he competes in Salmon Derbies. Already, he has a first place win under his belt. And if that’s not enough to keep him busy, you can find him chasing Walleye, Pike, and even Muskie. You name it, Nic will fish for it. has fulfilled a life long dream for Nic. Not only because of his active tournament angling and multi species fishing, but because he gets to share tips.

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