People often ask me what do you prefer fly fishing out of a drift boat? Or simply wade fishing?
Wade fishing is simply putting on your boots, grabbing your fly rod and walking up or down the river, stalking and casting to fish that you want to catch. It’s fun and exciting because you are navigating the river and you are trying to read the water to figure out where to cast your fly, and if you’re like me you find yourself in crazy situations that you wouldn’t necessarily think about unless you were stalking that next big fish.
When you are wade fishing you are taking your time, you are extremely aware of your surroundings and are paying particular attention to riffs, ripples, runs and holes (those are all fishing terms). Basically fish feed in riffs, ripples and runs and hold in holes, all of these are important to fish. While wade fishing you can take your time and explore all sides of, say a run, and fish from the bottom to the top and from one side to the other. This takes some accurate casting skills and, sometimes, some sort of patience. Don’t forget the riffs, ripples and holes though, fish will take a fly in all of these situations.
Fishing out of a drift boat
What is a drift boat? It’s a uniquely designed boat specifically designed for fishing rivers. It’s meant to float down the river and put the angler in great positions that a wading angler can not access. It also opens up a whole new world of fishing and casting techniques. However, this kind of boat is not meant for big white water, we will leave that to the rubber rafts.
When you are floating down a river you are going to cover a lot more water than if you were wading or walking it (a good days float is around 4 miles, it depends on how fast the river is flowing that day though). The biggest difference is that while floating you are covering more water and you’re not necessarily stalking fish you are casting to areas that you think the fish will be holding. Not to be confused because I think it’s still stalking but not as deliberate. You also have more opportunities to get your fly to float differently than if you were standing in the river.
When I first started fly fishing I seriously didn’t even know what a drift boat was, it was crazy amazing how naïve I was. I finally figured out that those people rowing down the river where getting to fish in areas that i could not get to just by wading.
When you first fish out of a drift boat you soon realize that it’s a bit different than simply wade fishing. You need to cast a little different and anticipate where the boat is going. You need to take into consideration how fast you are drifting as well as the direction and adjust your cast from there. However, the best news is, is that you find yourself casting to fish in areas that you may never have been able to when wade fishing. The downside is, is that you usually only have one or two casts into an area until the boat has drifted on by. The upside is you are going to cover a lot more water.
So what is the verdict?
Well I really don’t have a favorite. I love wet wading, getting my feet wet and exploring a river, figuring out where the fish are and taking my time to cast to every inch of an area that I think a fish will be feeding or holding. It’s exciting to put on your wading boots and waders and walk up, or down a river with the opportunity and hopes of landing a nice fish.
Fishing out of a drift boat is fantastic fun! You seriously feel like you’re a bit spoiled. You find yourself casting to areas you never thought you could before, hoping to find that monster fish you just couldn’t cast to while wade fishing. Its awesome to see and fish more water than you would while wading and let’s face it you’re in a boat.
I will say this though. I have caught as many fish during a day while wade fishing than I have out of a drift boat. In truth I can’t say one is a better way to fish than the other, they are simply different.
Fishing is fun and a good time for families as well as friends!!