Drogues Slow down and catch more fish.
When I first started guiding 13 seasons ago our business was entirely lake based. The highland lakes of Tasmania are well know for windy personas. The wiser,more experienced local anglers all used drogues to slow their boats so I purchased the biggest drogue I could find. It was the conventional windsock type of design and was a flouro yellow colour.
After just a week or so of business I was sick and tired of pulling it in every time I wanted to move the boat. I often moved up to 100 times a day, sometimes just 15 meters to line up a fish or a structure. After a while it did not take a rocket scientist to work out that if I put an additional, and longer rope, onto the tail or small diameter end I could pull it in with this rope and use a fraction of the effort of pulling in the fat end. I advise all anglers who own a conventional drogue to go and set it up like this now. One day on the water you will thank me for this simple advice.
I still had the problem of towing the thing under load when I needed to move off. This was solved when a Scottish, or maybe he was actually Irish, client hinted to me that someone he fished with many years ago used a rectangular underwater sail to slow the boat. Again, I am no rocket scientist but I was once a design engineer so I started what turned out to be a three season process of developing the HAYES Superdrogue.
I am proud of the fact that this simple and effective idea has spread throughout the state such that this drogue is now the standard used in most Tasmanian boat fishing situations. The fact that they are often copied is a compliment. Our design has changed markedly over the decade and beware of imitations of our older designs.
Benefits of the Superdrogue design.
They are more effective in slowing the boat in big winds due to their resistance area.
If they are adjusted correctly you can move off in either forward or reverse without towing the drogue under load.
The darker colour reduces the potential fish like the bright yellow and Orange colours of a conventional drogue.
By adjusting the bow and stern rope lengths you can actually steer the boat downwind (you don't have to go in exactly the wind direction) This is handy when there are other boats to avoid downwind of you or the shore you are following is at a different angle to the wind.
They are easily pulled in by motoring forward until the drogue comes along side then simply reach over and lift it aboard.
1. In my opinion the greatest error that most people make when using drogues it that they are used too often. It seems that it becomes habit to throw them over the minute you stop. In calm conditions a drogue is not necessary and it will simply sink to the bottom and foul.
2. Catch more fish! I can assure you that if you find a productive area of the lake you are better off not putting the drogue through it. Go over several times without the drogue and you will catch more fish than the same number of drifts with the drogue out.
3. Another error is that in really excessive winds you are often better off using two "galvanised drogues" - anchors. Get yourself two good anchors and use them at the bow and the stern to glue the boat to the spot. The stationary boat gives much better control of the fly line resulting in better bite detection.
4. Set up your drogue ropes through an eye bolt fore and aft. Then use cam cleats to lock off the length. The cam cleats can be mounted amidships to achieve a single adjusting point.
The Hayes Superdrogues are available at all good tackle stores or can be mailed ordered directly by phoning Tasmania's Premier Fly Fishing Guides on 6398 2333 or through our website www.flyfishtasmania.com.au