View Full Version : Running over the fish?

02-15-2008, 02:05 PM
Here we go, when I learned to fish many years ago I was taught not to run over the fish with my motor running. Triangulate and anchor short of the cover. Since then I have fished with a number of guys that will run the trolling motor over the cover, mark it and anchor back away and cast at the marker. I now know several guys that will run over the cover with the 25 Merc just putting along (one doesn't even own a trolling motor) and drop markers and fish the markers. All of the methods seem to put fish in the boat but, the numbers of fish off a given spot don't add up like they once did. How do you guys do it and why? I think it does spook some fish when you run over their heads. Some others say fish hear motors all day long and they don't react at all to the noise.


02-15-2008, 02:43 PM
I'm from the same school of thought that you are Bandit. I try to stay back from the cover and cast to it. Also never let the trolling motor wash toward the cover.

02-15-2008, 05:05 PM
If you are talking about deep fish I try to ease in on the structure to tie up since there are so many trees in this lake I already know where I am going to be most of the time.

If you mean in the spring I troll with my trolling motor and I find a place I can go down a bank for some distance, like say 75 to 100 yards long. Sometimes much shorter and some times longer, but that is probably average. I try to stay on some contour line, say 6' deep and will zig zag with that depth. I usually can get in a spot that I will catch fish at 3 to 4 spots on that trail and I will put a marker at any bend in my path to I know when a slight turn is coming and where it is.

The really cool part of this is the fish don't act the same as if you tie up. Meaning I can go back and forth for a pretty long time and they don't stop biting like they do when you pull one after another out of the same hole.

I have a place that I have not been back to in years (just foolish I guess), but I had this spot near deep water very near by and 12'-14' deep over grass where I trolled back and forth. If my memory serves me right the length was only about 40 yards long total. I never went to that spot that we didn't average 60-70 fish per hour. Needless to say we didn't need to fish there very long each time. I also had a place on that trail that I could branch off of that was a little deeper on the edge of grass and did the same there and the leg was only about 20-30 yards long.

So for me I think trolling over them with the TM has less effect than running over them with the big motor and much less effect than catching them out of the same spot one after another. Also all spots need a rest from time to time IMHO.


02-15-2008, 05:17 PM
I've heard some guys say that if you have to run over fish, that it's better not be switching your trolling motor off and on, and that a steady run with a tm won't spook them as bad as on, off, on, off. I don't really know, because I've never caught any of the fish I spooked (that I know of).

Barnacle Bill
02-15-2008, 05:21 PM
I believe that some days noise will attract them and others spook them. I know for a fact white perch are attracted to noise. So why not crappie at times?

02-15-2008, 06:59 PM
i'd say running over the area they are in could stir up algae.this in turn would create bait fish to feed increasing the crappie action.never tried it but maybe a slow day will have to

02-15-2008, 07:14 PM
Fished with a guy, who would fish his brushpile, when they slowed down would crank big motor for a few seconds, and lots of time they would start up again.We almost alway hunt with big motor, for them in 10 ft or more, wish I knew if it hurt or not . sometimes they bite and sometimes they don't. maybe they have been around boat traffic so long they don't care, but it is fun to sneak up on them..

02-15-2008, 07:16 PM
I try not to run over top the cover with either motor, but when looking for some submerged cover on the graph sometimes it is inevitable. Sometimes it seems to spook 'em, but there have been times when I have bumped the cover and still caught fish from it a few minutes later. But like Skip said, it seems dragging one after another out of the same spot kills a spot faster than anything. Especially if you bounce 'em off the branches on their way out. Vertical fishing pulling one after another seems to have less of an effect than dragging them through a laydown or something, so I always fish from the outside in or top down. I have heard guys talk about running over or around a piece of submerged brush with their big motor to stir things up when the fishing slows down. Never tried it and really don't know that I ever will, but maybe it does stir the algae and get the baitfish feeding and starts a frenzy? For me, I'll stay back if I can. The boat might not spook 'em, but if ya don't go over them, you won't have to find out.

02-15-2008, 09:54 PM
I have not been crappie fishing but a year. I do know that boat traffic will turn trout on in the river. When I used to wade and fly cast, when a boat would come by, I would cast directly into the white foam of the wake. Catch a trout nearly every time. Tight lines

Brush Buster
02-15-2008, 10:41 PM
good artical on this in Crappie World this month

02-16-2008, 06:20 AM
I try and keep away from the cover and keep the prop wash to a minimum.

02-16-2008, 07:37 AM
Good Question. I have run over fish deep with trolling motor on and circled back to catch em. Have turned on T M and had every fish within 30 yds head for cover. Different conditions dictate their pickyness(is that a word). I am now looking to put a fish finder on the front of the boat so that I can cut down on over running the fish. Aluminum boats are inherently noisy and I'm trying to see if it will help my catch rate. I know it can't hurt.

02-16-2008, 08:00 AM
I read a artical in a fishing mag that was written by a pro giude that said one day he was not have much luck with a client and he decided to make a couple passes over one of his spots with his big motor at a slow speed. The crappies started to hit. He then tested this idea on other spots. Spots would not hit so he would make 2 or 3 passes over it and the crappies would bite. He figure that the noise and current made by his big motor caused them to be more active. Plus he brought up a good point saying that most fish that live in a body of water that has constant traffic should be use to the noise of a motor. In my HMO that should be true.
My 2 cents

02-16-2008, 11:19 AM
The guides at reelfoot lake will fish 2' from a running trolling motor and catch fish, but if you backwash a dock at Weiss you're done:confused:

02-16-2008, 01:49 PM
I recalled a trip to lake weiss when we got on little river befour daylight we were the only boat there, starting trolling and immediately starting catching fish had 12 or so in boat befour 1st boat came threw, buy the time the 3rd boat had got there fish had shut down.

02-16-2008, 03:36 PM
I have always heard the stories of motors scaring the fish but one time i was on a super clear lake and you could see the fish on the bottom in 30 foot of water.
there was a school of fish i could see . when i turned the troll motor on the school would swim right up to the motor if i turned the motor off they slowly started to swim off then i would start the troll motor and here they would come back like the humm was atracting them.

so i dont belive the motor scares them in the spring i troll the bank in 2 to 3 feet of water jigging and catch crappie all along the way.

i know many guide fishermen that will crank up there big motors and do circles in the water to get the fish actively feeding.


charlie H
02-17-2008, 08:27 AM
sometimes it's the dephfinder that spooks the fish not the motors.Remember a finder admits sound and it bounces off the bottom or structure and this is read on the graph. The sound is more intense and compact and going in a certain direction. I have found that if you are fishing in less than 8ft water go over cover mark it and go back without the dephfinder on.
It's like someone blowing an air horn on the highway the traffic you get used to the horn will get your attention.

charlie H

02-17-2008, 09:46 AM
that it's a lot of "when" & "where" ... that may be a difference. Some folks saying it don't matter, some saying it does, some saying it helps.

Personally, I don't know for sure .. one way or the other. What I do know is, I won't be turning my depth finder off, and I sure can't turn my trolling motor off (and stay on the spot).

Maybe, in the Spring ... when spawning is priority one, to the fish ... it may not matter so much. Some cases in point (personal experiences):
Lake Weiss - prespawn movement - lots of boats running over the same area - depth finders running, trolling motors running - boats leaving/coming in (with big motors) ... and people still catching fish.
Lake Barkley - flooded conditons - fish holding on trunks of live trees on flooded banks - depth finder on - trolling motor wash all over the place (trying to navigate thru the shoreline trees) ... & catching Slabs, even when the water is only 3-4ft deep and TM prop wash is hitting the tree I'm fishing.
Watts Bar - Spring/Fall - dock shooting - wind constantly pushing boat out of position - trolling motor wash going towards/under dock - depth finder on - boat occasionally bumping dock ... catching Crappie in spite of all that commotion.

While I admit that I don't/can't know if I spooked some fish away, with the depth finder ping or trolling motor wash/noise ... I do know that I did catch fish, in spite of them.
Fish are curious, and may even be attracted to some noises. They may become used to them, or just plain ignore them. I don't know. I just know that without the depth finder & trolling motor ... I'm blind and crippled, to an extent. And so being, I'm not near as likely to catch as many fish as I would using them.
And yet, while I do cut the big motor off, tens of yards away from where I intend to fish ... I still see people crash pontoons into a stand of trees, run the big motor to position the boat among the standing trees, tie off to those trees, then drop their baits over the side ... and expect to catch fish :rolleyes: (some do, most don't)

To my way of thinking, if the depth finder ping bothered the fish ... you'd rarely see them on it, or they would leave shortly after you got near them. If the trolling motor wash/noise bothered them, they'd move away or hunker down into the cover farther. If outboard motor noise bothered them, they'd stay deep or hide most all the time. If they're already spooky, for whatever reason, you may be making the situation worse ... but, you're unlikely to be able to tell the difference. Then again, you may just get their curiosity aroused, and introducing your bait into their proximity just may be the spark that starts their feeding motors :p

... cp :cool:

02-17-2008, 08:16 PM
I used to sneak up on them, but I've changed to simply running my big motor over the top of them and dropping a buoy.....if they are there I catch them 1st cast much of the time. I don't think it really bothers them on KY lake.