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Drift Boat Fishing

            Drift boats are a very effective way to cover a large amount of water that is often times inaccessible to wading fishermen.  Fishing from a drift boat allows for a long drag-free presentation of the fly.  There are a few major differences when casting from a drift boat as compared to wade fishing.

            Across stream casting at a right angle to the boat will allow the fly to have a long drag-free drift, and tangles will be minimized with both fishers making parallel casts.  If the fly is moving slower than the boat you can quarter your cast downstream on an angle to the bank, but both fisherman must be in sync with casting or tangles will occur.  Keeping your back cast high is also very important because it keeps the flies from finding their way into other people on the boat.  The tip of your rod should never go beyond the 1 or 2 o’clock position behind you so that the fly line is staying high in the air on the back cast.  Since your back cast will be higher than it is when wade fishing you must bring you forward cast down to a lower angle than you normally would.

            Mending is another important aspect to drift boat fly fishing.  Mending allows for the drag-free drift essential to tricking trout.  If the boat is moving faster than the fly you will mend downstream, and if the boat is moving slower than the fly you will normally mend upstream. 

            You don’t have a long time to hit a target with a drift boat, so looking downstream for the next lie will help you to be ready for the next cast.  Accuracy makes a big difference in the amount of strikes you will receive.  Adjusting the length of fly line out of the reel for the cast distance of a particular drift makes it easier to accurately hit a target.  False casting too often is a common mistake.  False casting causes more tangles, and your flies are in the air instead of the water where the fish are. 

            Drift boats are a great way to cover a large amount of water.  They also allow you to learn a river and how to read the water.  You can also find lots of good spots to go wade fishing.  The only disadvantage to a drift boat is that you won’t get to work a hole thoroughly like you would when wade fishing.  

John Geer