When you start fishing, whether it be on the shore or dock, on your own boat, or open party boats, it’s natural to observe the other anglers around you and try to mimic the ones who are having success. As I’ve progressed in the sport, I still find myself doing this practice (when I’m not the one catching all the fish), but it’s night and day when I compare what I notice now against what I used to notice. It’s easy to see what bait a person is using, but how do they rig it? How do they fish it? Where are they casting to? Just copying the bait is only the beginning. It’s only when you put all the factors together that you can truly understand what’s going on.

When you’re in a private boat, one of the key factors to success is where and how you set up the boat before you even start fishing. In this article from Bass Resource, tournament bass pro Mike Iaconelli walks you through his thought process in positioning the boat for fishing success.

Ike_boatposMore critical than most people think. I don’t think I realized this right away. Initially I learned how to bass fish from the bank. Then I progressed to a small jon boat for a lot of years. I think out of necessity I learned many of the basics of boat positioning. When I finally got into a full sized bass boat I understood how the position of the boat was crucial in executing what I needed to do, presentation-wise that is.
It is definitely a crucial part to every technique, just as important as the line, rod, or casting presentation itself. I always try and use boat positioning to my advantage. It makes the rest of your mechanical presentation that much easier. But at the same time I always try to stay in what I call a “safe zone”.
A safe zone is the area where your boat is positioned in reference to not spooking or scaring the fish. Your safe zone changes daily, depending on water clarity, current, wind, or light conditions. With time you will get the feel for what’s right. General Rules of Thumb:

  • Make longer casts in clearer water.
  • Never hit the cover or bank when possible.
  • Use a constant speed with the trolling motor. Ideally use current or wind to your advantage (when possible)

Photos: Mike Iaconelli (top); Bass Resource (above)