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Boat control with trolling bags


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Looking to see if any others have boat control issues when using trolling bags.  My set up is a 19 foot deep V aluminum with a 4.3 IO.  My bags are 48 inch and this able to get me down to 1.7 mph for walleye.  I've been trying different spots on the boat to anchor the bags and I've had no luck.  As soon as I let the wheel go I'm doing a crazy Ivan.  I have a kicker and the boat tracks a lot better when using it I just don't have remote controls for it.  Maybe I'm fighting a losing battle or maybe someone  has some experience on a similar set up.  Pretty much I like bags for when I'm solo.

Seabass73

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Bag need to run a beam the boats pivot point. If the bag are too forward or aft the boat will be less stable. Good luck

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1 hour ago, Earl28 said:

Bag need to run a beam the boats pivot point. If the bag are too forward or aft the boat will be less stable. Good luck

what he said. on my 26 Penn Yan Ilooked like a stoner on the  plotter track until i found the boats COG and pulled from that point

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14 hours ago, Seabass73 said:

Looking to see if any others have boat control issues when using trolling bags.  My set up is a 19 foot deep V aluminum with a 4.3 IO.  My bags are 48 inch and this able to get me down to 1.7 mph for walleye.  I've been trying different spots on the boat to anchor the bags and I've had no luck.  As soon as I let the wheel go I'm doing a crazy Ivan.  I have a kicker and the boat tracks a lot better when using it I just don't have remote controls for it.  Maybe I'm fighting a losing battle or maybe someone  has some experience on a similar set up.  Pretty much I like bags for when I'm solo.

Seabass73

Best luck I have had is through the bow eye. Equal lengths past midway on my 19'.

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Also make sure if it is a single bag you are running on the side of the boat the prop is spinning too.   So standard rotation spinning to the starboard make sure the bag is on the starboard side.  Also Ricks's suggestion of two smaller bags on each side could fix it as well. 

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I had steering issues with my 19" islander using 2 bags also. They were running about even with front chairs. The boat would sway right and left continually. I lengthened the ropes so they now run even with the rear cleats and use a shorter rope on the rear loop of the bags tied to rear cleats to keep them tight to the hull. Boat tracks perfectly now.

Edited by Steve.e
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14 minutes ago, Steve.e said:

I had steering issues with my 19" islander using 2 bags also. They were running about even with front chairs. The boat would sway right and left continually. I lengthened the ropes so they now run even with the rear cleats and use a shorter rope on the rear loop of the bags tied to rear cleats to keep them tight to the hull. Boat tracks perfectly now.

this is the way i run my bags if i'm running 1 bag or 2 on my 23' cobia. but its very seldom i run 1 bag. i troll with the wind and need 2 bags to slow me down. i tie off to the front cleat and have the rope set where the back of the bag reaches my rear cleat then the back must be tied off. i usually just tie the back to the base on my rod holders.

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Thank you all for the suggestions, these are my third set of bags I started with 28' s then 36' s and finally got my speeds where they need to be with the 48' s.  I was unaware of how the pivot point can be a factor with control.  Originally I had them anchored just in front of the windshield and the end of the bags were almost even with the stern.  I did some testing last season with the tail rope lengths trying to keep the bags tight to the boat.  I also tried anchoring them to the bow and having them run a little under the boat and just past the drivers seat.  If I'm understanding the pivot point theory I have to have them anchored at that point on the boat.  

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16 hours ago, Seabass73 said:

Thank you all for the suggestions, these are my third set of bags I started with 28' s then 36' s and finally got my speeds where they need to be with the 48' s.  I was unaware of how the pivot point can be a factor with control.  Originally I had them anchored just in front of the windshield and the end of the bags were almost even with the stern.  I did some testing last season with the tail rope lengths trying to keep the bags tight to the boat.  I also tried anchoring them to the bow and having them run a little under the boat and just past the drivers seat.  If I'm understanding the pivot point theory I have to have them anchored at that point on the boat.  

you want to have them tied off to the front/side cleats then they should be back so the back of the bags are within a couple of feet from the back of the boat then the back of the bags tied off to the boat short enough that they don't drift away from the boat. they do affect boat handling just a little and at very slow speeds they may affect it a bit more. 1.8 to 2.0 is the slowest i have used them and had no problems with control that was noticeable.

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I was going to try a lesser pitch prop but the marina that I go to warned me it could be dangerous because the motor could then over rev.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great question!  I'm still struggling to get this right on a couple of my boats.  Got the 17' Whaler pretty much figured out but I'm still having a hard time getting the 23' Grady White to behave so I can troll for walleyes.  Next trip. I'll try the thing with a 24 on each side tethered back to about even with the transom.  You're right about looking like a stoner out there!  I have dropped more than my share of solid strikes trying to get the rod out of the rodholder while trying not to let the boat start doing donuts in the water.  And my walleye program really relies on precise presentations over sometimes rather small humps.  That's hard to do when the boat wants to wobble around.

I'm assuming that by suggesting that the bags be in line with the transom, that means the conical tips of the bags as opposed to the mouths?  Any suggestions welcome.

Anyone try dragging mud buckets with holes punched in them?  I used to do that with our 14' MirroCraft and it actually worked pretty well as long as you don't just tie to the existing handle.  Ask me how I know!!

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Another important point is which way the wind is hitting your boat vs the direction you want to troll.  I've got a 22ft sea nymph GLS with a 4.3l and I need at least 1 24in trolling bag to get between 2 and 2.5, depending on what angle the wind is hitting the boat.  A big issue is that because it's an aluminum cuddy cabin, the boat will barely steer into a modest wind at all at trolling speeds unless the bag is attached on the wind side.  I have a line ready to use attached to the front central bow cleat for each side so i can choose or swap the side quickly if, for example, making a u turn.  The bags point or exhaust is about a foot or maybe 18in from the transom. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/25/2022 at 6:55 PM, Seabass73 said:

Looking to see if any others have boat control issues when using trolling bags.  My set up is a 19 foot deep V aluminum with a 4.3 IO.  My bags are 48 inch and this able to get me down to 1.7 mph for walleye.  I've been trying different spots on the boat to anchor the bags and I've had no luck.  As soon as I let the wheel go I'm doing a crazy Ivan.  I have a kicker and the boat tracks a lot better when using it I just don't have remote controls for it.  Maybe I'm fighting a losing battle or maybe someone  has some experience on a similar set up.  Pretty much I like bags for when I'm solo.

Seabass73

Not trying to spend your hard earned $ but, since you have a kicker, you might want to consider one of the popular electronic throttle controllers. I too struggled with troll bags (21’ boat) and use them primarily when the water is very rough as it helps settle the boat in the waves. I set up a Trollmaster brand throttle controller on my kicker and it solved my trolling speed issues. I can fine tune my Troll speed all the way down to .8 mph. You don’t need to have kicker motor controls up front, just the small electronic module that is part of the Trollmaster, or I-Troll, etc. of your choice. It also makes life considerably easier if you have an EZ Steer or similar type connector rod between the main and the kicker so you can steer the boat in the usual fashion. 
Hope that helps in your decision making! 

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On 5/30/2022 at 9:08 PM, mrk61 said:

Not trying to spend your hard earned $ but, since you have a kicker, you might want to consider one of the popular electronic throttle controllers. I too struggled with troll bags (21’ boat) and use them primarily when the water is very rough as it helps settle the boat in the waves. I set up a Trollmaster brand throttle controller on my kicker and it solved my trolling speed issues. I can fine tune my Troll speed all the way down to .8 mph. You don’t need to have kicker motor controls up front, just the small electronic module that is part of the Trollmaster, or I-Troll, etc. of your choice. It also makes life considerably easier if you have an EZ Steer or similar type connector rod between the main and the kicker so you can steer the boat in the usual fashion. 
Hope that helps in your decision making! 

I considered an electronic speed control for my kicker, but I think I would have to upgrade my kicker.  I'm running a 1972 Johnson 6hp.  If my hand is forced I would definitely upgrade to a four stroke.  I will look again tonight to see if anything fits the 6.

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