There’s nothing like boating or fishing in calm waters, but unfortunately, it’s not something that boating enthusiasts are always blessed with. If you’re in rough waters and you want to control the boat’s drift without running the engine, you can easily do so with a drift socket. However, what type of boat socket is ideal for your boat?
Smaller boats will need smaller and less complex drift sockets, and vice versa. When choosing a drift socket for your boat, always look at the quality of the harness line, the collapsing cord material, and the drift sock. Always get a drift sock designed for the conditions that you’re boating in.
In this article, I’ll discuss the basic components of a drift socket and how to choose the best drift socket for your boat. I’ll also discuss the best drift sockets available online and explain which conditions they are most suitable for. Let’s get started!
What To Look For in a Drift Socket
Not all drift sockets are the same or designed for all waters. Some drift sockets are more suitable to slow rivers and lakes and will keep your boat as still as possible, while others are more suited to prevent drift in rough ocean conditions. The material and design of the drift socket will also affect how effective it is at keeping your boat stable.
When buying a drift socket, always look at the quality and material of the components, whether they’re the right size for your boat and the conditions it’s designed for. After all, you can’t expect a drift socket designed for calm lake waters to keep your boat steady in rough ocean currents!
This doesn’t mean that you don’t need a drift sock in rivers or lakes as the drift may even take your boat aground. If you’ve ever run your boat aground, you’ll know how hard it is to rectify a grounded boat.
Here are some factors to consider before getting a drift socket:
The Quality of the Drift Socket’s Materials
While you won’t really have to worry about this when getting a drift socket from a quality brand, it’s an important factor, nevertheless. Cheaper drift sockets are usually made from low-quality materials and aren’t ideal for rough waters.
Drift sockets are assembled from 3 components:
The Drift Sock
This is the main component of the boat drift sock kit and should be made of high-quality fabric. The best drift socks are made from heavy-duty nylon since it doesn’t tear easily under pressure. Even if you need a drift sock for relatively still waters, it’s much better to get one that’s made from marine-grade material.
The Harness Line
The harness line is the cord that keeps the drift socket in the right direction. It also keeps the drift socket in shallow water, increasing the boat’s resistance and reducing swaying.
The harness line should be made from a UV-resistant cord, preferably polypropylene. Depending on your boat size, it’s usually 10-5 inches long and half an inch thick. The quality of the harness line is important, and you don’t want it to snap and release the drift socket.
The Collapsing Cord
The collapsing cord is similar to the harness line, but it’s attached to the underside of the drift socket. When you need to pull the drift socket in, simply pull on the collapsing cord. This way, you’ll encounter less resistance, and the drift socket will be much easier to pull in.
The collapsing cord doesn’t need to be as thick as the harness line since it doesn’t face the same pressure. However, it should still be made from a quality UV-resistant material that doesn’t snap under pressure.
Getting a Drift Sock for Your Boat Size
Drift socks come in all sizes, so it’s important to get one that suits your boat. Most small to medium-sized boats require 33-inch (83.82 cm) drift socks. Larger boats can use 72-inch (182.88 cm) drift socks. However, the boat size isn’t the only thing you should be looking at when determining the ideal drift sock size since weather conditions and the current strength also play a role in boat drift.
An easy way to determine the ideal size drift sock for your boat is to look at the boat’s length in feet. Boats longer than 21 feet (6.4 m) should use bigger drift socks, and boats shorter than this can use small to medium-sized drift socks.
If you have a bigger boat or are going into rougher waters, a single drift sock may not be enough. Most experts recommend using two drift socks to reduce swing instead of using a single large drift sock. This way, you’ll have more control over managing the boat’s drift. Larger boat drift socks are also more difficult to put in the right range and pulling them back in can be challenging.
Getting a Drift Sock for the Water Conditions
If you’re going fishing or kayaking in still waters, you may not even need a boat rift sock at all. However, as you enter rough waters with more sway, a boat sock becomes essential. Not only will it keep your boat steady, it will do so silently.
It’s always helpful to match the type of drift socket with the type of water you’re boating in. If you’re boating in still waters, you need to use smaller freshwater drift socks. If you’re boating in the ocean, you can use larger, marine-grade drift socks.
Keep a few different types of drift socks in your boating gear, so you’re always prepared for changing water and weather conditions.
Alternatives To Drift Socks
Drift socks help steady your boat, especially when you’re on a fishing trip. But are they really necessary? And is there anything else you can use for a similar effect?
The only alternative to steadying boats is a trolling motor. This is a special motor designed to control drift and can give you more control of your boat’s position. However, it is expensive to run and can even scare away fish. Trolling motors are also very difficult to control in rough waters.
If you want to keep your boat steady in windy conditions without affecting your fishing experience, drift socks are the better option. They are cheap, easy to use, and won’t scare away fish.
Best Drift Sockets
While there’s a wide range of drift socks in the market, choosing the best ones can be daunting. Fortunately, I’ve compiled a list of the best drift socks, so you don’t have to make the mistake of getting something that will get damaged in windy conditions.
Here are the top 4 drift socks for boating and fishing trips (all from Amazon.com):
The Moody drift sock is made from durable PVC rip-stop fabric designed for heavy drift ocean currents. The drift harness buoy has 30 feet (9.14 m) of durable rope that’s maintenance-free and will last a lifetime.
Best of all, this drift sock is designed for heavy winds and can keep your boat steady in sea fishing conditions. You can also get in various sizes to suit your boat type, from 18 inches for small boats to a 56-inch option for larger boats.
When it comes to quality, the Lindy drift socks are revered in the boating world. These drift socks are made from reinforced nylon which won’t rip in heavy ocean currents. It’s a low-maintenance drift sock that’s extremely easy to use and also comes with a pre-attached dump line.
The quality harness rope has a tangle-free design, so you don’t have to work about it interfering with your fishing systems. These drift socks also come in different designs and a range of sizes for all types of weather conditions.
If you’re looking for a complete trolling kit for fishing, this is it. The Mythic Lures drift sock comes with a 16-foot (4.88 m) harness rope, an extra collapsing cord, and even a waterproof storage bag. It’s also available in a 33-inch (83.82 cm) size, which is ideal for most small to medium-sized boats.
If you need more control in rough winds or high tide, two of these will be enough for a larger boat.
If you don’t want to get a harness line, dump line, and buoy separately, this kit is ideal. It comes with everything you’ll need in a drift sock kit and can be used in all weather conditions. This 56-inch (142 cm) drift sock is mostly designed for heavier boats, but you can also use it for smaller vessels in rough weather.
Having a drift sock or two is crucial for drift fishing and especially handy when you’re in rough waters. While you could get a trolling motor, it’s expensive and difficult to use in rough waters. When getting a new drift sock, always ensure that its quality, size, and other specifications match the boat size and weather conditions.
Moreover, ensure that the harness line and drift sock material are rip-resistant, so you don’t lose your drift sock in rough winds. Lastly, while you can use larger drift socks in rough weather, using two smaller ones is better.
Project “Catch My Drift“ Boating
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