BoatingOffshore-GearOffshore-How-To's

Drop on the Go

While most of today’s fishing boats, from small center consoles to larger sportfish yachts, are outfitted with electric reel ports for a variety of fishing styles, these setups can be somewhat limiting. Yes, it’s convenient to be able to plug in and rely on your boat’s battery power to haul up deep-water delicacies all day long, but what are the options for those who don’t have that luxury?

Deep dropping has become a very popular tactic for offshore anglers around the entire state. For some it’s a fallback plan when other targets won’t cooperate, and for others, it’s a number one tactic. Regardless of where this pursuit lands on your list of favorite things to do, every angler in the state should have it in their arsenal. It can be a real day-saver.

Of course, today’s latest and greatest fishing platforms are outfitted with every bell and whistle imaginable, so a few outlets for electric reels are almost standard features at this point. Furthermore, while many of today’s electric deep drop reels provide long cables to allow for some movement while plugged in, anglers are largely stuck to the area around the outlet.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Capt. Matt Arnholt

The same goes on head boats, where guests travel with their own batteries that they set down on the deck of the boat and plug into. While the battery can certainly go wherever they go, these batteries are heavy, and it seems unrealistic for anglers to carry their batteries around with them if they choose to move around.

Fortunately, though they are not very common, portable battery setups do exist and they can provide quite an advantage. However, since they are portable, they must be recharged periodically and can’t offer the same all-day reliability of a plug or a traditional battery. That said, the ability to move freely about the vessel while still having your reel plugged into battery power is quite the advantage, particularly on head boats when multiple anglers are fishing close to each other, and tangles happen.

Most manufacturers who produce these batteries offer several options, so you’ll want to be careful when purchasing. This means that a battery that promises two hours of use per charge won’t be of much service, as you’ll spend more time charging than fishing. However, there are options out there that offer up to eight hours of use, making them suitable for both traditional one-day trips as well as multi-day head boat trips. These batteries are relatively light in weight, charge quickly and offer excellent reliability and performance.

Regarding placement of the battery, the best way to keep a battery pack close by is with a shoulder strap. You may think that even a lightweight battery pack will begin to wear on your shoulder with prolonged use, but today’s top options provide comfortable use for hours on end. Most importantly, they are compatible with modern power assist deep drop reels, including Daiwa’s Tanacom and Seaborg series and Shimano’s BeastMaster.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Capt. Matt Arnholt

Before heading out on a long-range trip with a portable battery, you need to make sure that you have all the right connecting pieces for the reel to function on this power source. Remember, this is not the same as a traditional battery or plug, so the connection to the battery pack may require different hardware. This will depend on the manufacturer of the reel and the battery pack, so just make sure you have the right pieces before leaving the dock. Additionally, it’s important to bring a few extra of any sort of hardware required to make the entire outfit function. It would be absolutely heartbreaking to get out many miles offshore only to realize you lost a fitting in transit and now the whole trip is ruined.

By the same token, long hours at the rail leave anglers subject to the elements, including sun, rain, salt and more. Therefore, if you’re going to invest in a portable deep drop battery pack and rely on it for years to come, we recommend dedicating a few extra dollars to a protective case. This not only protects your battery from typical wear and tear, but also prolongs the battery life per charge as it protects from the heat, which can suck the energy out of a traditional battery.

The ability to remain mobile while deep dropping may seem like an obscure detail but believe us when we say there are plenty of advantages to be had. Furthermore, having a portable battery means you don’t have to lug traditional heavy batteries on board, only to have them clutter the deck and cause potential problems. You also won’t be confined to the same area all day, which is perhaps the greatest benefit to these devices. Yes, you will have to recharge your battery when others don’t, but like anything else, there’s a give and take here. However, for those who want the freedom to move about the deck with a lighter load when deep dropping, a portable battery pack is the way to go.