I live near the Cumberland River, which is a 688-mile-long river which drains almost 18,000 square miles of southern Kentucky and north-central Tennessee. A series of dams along the river create impoundments and tailwater fisheries. Despite all of this water, shore fishing options are surprisingly limited due to industry, periodically dry river beds, and landowner rights. Without a motorboat, my fishing time would be limited to when I travel. Fortunately, there are a lot of good options available to get me on the water.
Like other river systems, the Cumberland has a bottom that varies greatly in depth. Being able to see any debris or shallow shoals ahead is imperative. The Sportsman 17 SS allows me to sit higher in the water than a traditional john or bass boat and gives me a lot of extra room for gear. In addition, this lightweight boat requires a smaller outboard to power it safely, which saves me a lot in gas money, and it can be pulled with my everyday SUV. My current Highlander has over 375,000 miles on it and I know it will get me on the water for many years to come.
Like getting the perfect oars for your drift boat to accommodate your size and body style, the right trolling motor is key. I’m not the most coordinated person, so using a foot pedal trolling motor and fly casting at the same time is brutal. The i-Pilot Link allows me to be able to do all the above without tangling on the foot pedal or feeling like I’m about to fall out of the boat.