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What Size Drift Sock for 18 Ft Boat?

Drift fishing is a popular technique among anglers who are looking to cover a large area of water and target fish that are suspended or actively moving. When it comes to drift fishing, having a drift sock is essential to control the speed and direction of your boat. But what size drift sock should you choose for your 18 ft boat? In this article, we will discuss different factors to consider and help you determine the right size drift sock for your needs.

Factors to Consider

1. Boat Size: The size of your boat is an important factor when selecting a drift sock. A larger boat will require a larger drift sock to provide enough resistance against the wind or current. An 18 ft boat falls in the mid-size range, and you will need a drift sock that can effectively slow down your boat without overpowering it.

2. Wind and Current Conditions: The wind and current conditions of the water you are fishing in will also affect the size of the drift sock you need. If you are fishing in areas with strong winds or fast currents, you will need a larger drift sock to provide enough resistance. On the other hand, if you are fishing in calmer waters, a smaller drift sock can suffice.

3. Weight and Material: Drift socks come in different materials and weights, which also impact their effectiveness. Lighter materials are easier to handle and deploy, while heavier materials provide more resistance. Consider the weight of the drift sock and choose a material that is durable and suitable for your fishing environment.

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Choosing the Right Size

While there is no definitive formula to determine the exact size of drift sock you need for your 18 ft boat, there are some general guidelines you can follow:

1. Rule of Thumb: As a general rule of thumb, your drift sock should be 1-1.5 times the length of your boat. For an 18 ft boat, a drift sock between 18-27 ft in circumference should be suitable.

2. Consult the Manufacturer: Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the size of drift sock suitable for your boat’s length. They often provide size charts based on different boat lengths and weights.

3. Consider Boat Weight: If your 18 ft boat is heavier due to additional gear or equipment, you may need a slightly larger drift sock to compensate for the added weight.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can I use a larger drift sock than recommended for my boat?

A1. It is generally not recommended to use a significantly larger drift sock than recommended for your boat. An oversized drift sock can cause your boat to become unstable and difficult to control.

Q2. Can I use a smaller drift sock than recommended for my boat?

A2. Using a smaller drift sock may not provide enough resistance to slow down your boat effectively, especially in windy or fast current conditions. It is best to choose a drift sock that is within the recommended range for your boat size.

Q3. How do I deploy and retrieve a drift sock?

A3. Deploying a drift sock involves attaching it to a cleat or rail at the stern of your boat and allowing it to drag in the water. To retrieve it, simply pull it in using the attached rope or handle.

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Q4. Can I use multiple drift socks?

A4. Yes, you can use multiple drift socks to increase the resistance and slow down your boat further. This can be particularly useful in strong wind or current conditions.


Choosing the right size drift sock for your 18 ft boat is crucial to ensure effective drift fishing. Consider the factors mentioned above, such as boat size, wind and current conditions, and weight and material of the drift sock. Following the general guidelines and manufacturer’s recommendations will help you make an informed decision. Remember, it’s better to have a slightly larger drift sock than a smaller one to prevent your boat from becoming uncontrollable. Happy fishing!