When trying to fish a small wreck from a drifting boat, determining where to start a drift that will pass over the wreck can prove complicated, especially with conflicting winds and currents. It’s largely guesswork; that is, unless you have a Furuno NavNet TZtouch3 multifunction display with the exclusive Drift-It chart-plotting feature.
I had a chance to experience this system in the Atlantic waters off Marathon in the Florida Keys with Capt. Jack Carlton of Two Conchs Fishing Charters. Carlton not only uses Drift-It to effectively fish deep wrecks, but he was also integral to the development of this feature.
“I asked Furuno if they could come up with a way for the TZtouch system to tell me exactly where I need to start a drift, and they came up with it,” Carlton says; he also helped Furuno field-test and refine Drift-It.
To employ the feature, first tap on the chart to create a temporary waypoint that Furuno calls a “Fish-It go-to point.” Then activate Drift-It. The chart plotter automatically calculates the boat’s drift path based on previous drifts, then creates a starting point that will take you directly over your spot.
In addition, the feature creates dynamic range rings, a course line between the point and the boat, and a temporary track line of the boat’s actual path. The distance and bearing to the point, as well as speed over ground and course over ground appear at the top of the display. The feature stays active until you tap “Stop” on the data bar. To give you time to get ready to fish, you can select three- or five-minute drift times to the spot, or up to a 20-minute drift.
With a particularly fast Gulf Stream current pushing us along, Carlton opted for five minutes on most of our drifts. Drift-It helped us catch a wide range of wreck-dwelling fish, including big amberjack, goldeneye snapper and mutton snapper, while fishing wrecks in depths up to 250 feet on my trip. “Based on the success I have experienced with Drift-It, I would not go fishing without it,” Carlton says.
While the captain oversees a fleet of 23 charter boats, he takes his guests out fishing aboard his Yellowfin 39 Offshore center-console powered by quad 300 hp Mercury Verado V-8 outboards. The helm features a pair of 19-inch Furuno TZtouch3 MFDs.
The Drift-It feature and other cool capabilities are included with the free 2.01 software update for all NavNet TZtouch3 MFDs. To learn more, visit furunousa.com.