Simple Drift Boat Tips
When fly fishing from a drift boat it is important to remember it is different from wade fishing. I watch a countless number of driftboats go by trying to fish like they would while wading. Here are some simple tips to help you catch more fish from a drift boat.
1. Row the boat at the same speed as your flies. Most of the time your flies and the boat will be moving at different speeds. The rower needs to focus on one of the flies and slow down or speed up accordingly. It is the job of the fisherman to mend his/her line as needed to keep a proper drift. If two people are fishing, fish out the same side of the boat at a similar distance. It is impossible for the rower to row two different drifts at the same time. 2. Fish nymphs perpendicular to the boat with the boat pointed downstream. If you fish nymphs in front of the boat you will miss most of your hits. In fact, the majority of your hits won't even move your indicator. You'll never know if they even happened. Cast your line straight towards shore and mend accordingly. You want your flies to trail back on a 45 degree angle from your indicator. This will increase the number of hookups. 3. Don't overweight your nymph rigs. Weight your rigs enough to get the flies to the bottom without hanging up. It should take the flies almost ten seconds to reach the fishable zone. I can usually float 200 to 500 feet without hanging up. If you never hang up you probably need to add a little weight. Adding too much weight will not allow the flies to drift naturally with the current. Rather your indicator will pull your flies through the natural currents. The undercurrents are not always the same as the surface current. You want your flies to drift naturally. 4. Fish Dry flies downstream from the boat. An easy way to do this is turn the boat sideways and cast straight downstream. This can be difficult if the wind is blowing. If the boat is pointed downstream, cast as much downstream as possible and still reach your desired target. The person in the back should push the person in front downstream. When fishing the bank avoid the temptation to cast straight accross. Hit the bank as far downstream as possible. A reach cast works best. 5. Things not to do. Don't fish behind the boat. Especially with dry flies. You want the fish to see your fly first, not last. Don't anchor in a run or on a flat. It is rude to block the natural flow of traffic. Don't pull anchor and start fishing in front of someone right behind you. Don't switch sides of the river in front of other boats. Don't row over other fishermens flies. Don't criticize other boats for their mistakes. 6.Things to do. Have fun and catch fish. Give others lots of space. Avoid contention on the river. We are all out there to have a good time, so lets have a good time. Good times, Ryan
Hopper and a Dropper
I love to fish Dry as much as I can. There are times when the fish aren't looking up so well. So, to pass the time between dry fly opportunities you can throw on a dropper. I think of this as a shallow nymph rig with an edible indicator. It can also give you some versitility on days where they eat nymphs in one spot and dries in another. You can use many different kind of dries, but make sure you use one buoyant enough to hold up the dropper. I like to tie my dropper off the bend of the hook versus through the eye fo the hook. I think this makes for easier casting and doesn't sink the dry as fast. When fishing dry/dropper, maybe the hardest part is determining the length of the dropper. Many people are shocked when I put a dropper on their line that is five feet long. Many people seem to believe there is some sort of standard where all droppers are between 18 and 24 inches. I've fished droppers anywhere from 6 to 60 inches. On the Green we have a distinct advantage, water clarity. You can simply look in the water and see where the fish are. Through most of late summer and fall there are a lot of fish around four to five feet. Until last year I rarely saw these fish fished to even by guides. That being said there are a lot of days when they are in shallow water. Look at the fish, they will tell you how deep to make your dropper! Along with looking to see how deep the fish are, observe what they are eating. Are they cruising for scuds, midges, or other stuff (like little fry or flesh from dead fish)? If there isn't something they are keying on, throw an attractor. Get your fly where the fish are. They are not always in the seams. Many days they are in slower or stagnant water. One last tip, make sure your dropper weighs enough to keep the dropper line tot. If there is any slack your dry will never even move when the fish eats it. To summarize:
- Use a dry buoyant enough to hold up the dropper.
- Tie the dropper line to the bend of the dry fly hook.
- Observe the fish to determine the length for the dropper.
- Observe what and where the fish are eating.
- Make sure the dropper weighs enough to keep the line tot.