Drift socks are invaluable tools for fishing on windy days. By creating a significant amount of drag, they help keep your boat positioned exactly where you want it, instead of drifting away from the fish. Drift socks are also useful for reducing your trolling speed when you want to slow your bait presentation down. Commercial models are available, but you can make your own for a fraction of the price.
Fold the tarp in half so that the sides with grommets touch each other. You should now have a double-layered tarp, approximately 4 feet long by 6 feet wide.
Determine the mid-point of the folded edge with the tape measure; it should be about 36-inches from either side. Mark this location with the marker. Lay the straight edge on top of the folded tarp. Align one end of the straight edge with the marked midpoint, and place the other end at a corner on the opposite side of the tarp. Trace alongside the straight edge with the marker. Repeat the process with the other side, leaving you with a marked triangle. Cut along both lines with the scissors -- be sure to cut through both layers of the tarp.
Sew both layers of the left and right sides – leave the side nearest the grommets open – together with the needle and thread. Repeat the process so that both seams bear double-stitched seams. The tarp should now look like a cone.
Cut the nylon rope into four 3-foot-long pieces. Tie each rope to one of the grommets, and tie the other end of each rope to the metal ring. Tie the remaining length of rope to the metal ring; this rope will tie to your boat.
- Do not use drift socks in strong current.
- It is wise to attach a float or buoy to the rope on the boat side of the metal ring. This will prevent your drift sock from sinking to the bottom, should it become detached from the boat.
- Tailor the size of your drift sock to the size of your boat and the current conditions. The described drift sock is appropriate for boats between 16 and 20 feet in length that are experiencing moderate to strong winds. Increase the length of the sock by using a larger tarp when piloting larger boats or decrease the length of the sock when piloting smaller vessels or using the sock in very calm winds.
- Construct and use two drift socks for greater stability, drag and control.
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