On the Fly column: You may never wade again
On the Fly
If you are a lifelong wade angler, your first foray on a drift boat will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about the sport. Here are a few tips to ensure success and help you feel a little bit less like a fish out of water.
First, you must be in tune with the other angler in the boat. Typically the angler in the back is watching the one in the front and timing their cast accordingly. Most of the time, the front angler gets the water in front of the oars, and the back angler fishes behind the oars to stay out of each other’s way. Many novice anglers in boats are facing the wrong direction as well. Your water is in front (downstream) of you, not behind you. As we like to say, “face the future.”
Managing your fly line will be a challenge at first. Learn to strip it in neat piles by your feet, or into the stripping basket or platform on the fore-side of your leg locks. Always face forward as a passenger in the boat so you are not caught off guard by sudden changes in speed or angle, otherwise you’ll end up in the water when the oarsman makes a sudden move. I learned that one the hard way.
Being courteous is paramount in a drift boat. This applies to the other angler as well as wade fishermen you may encounter along the bank. When you’re in a “river limousine,” you get miles of water to enjoy. When you see wade anglers coming up, pull away from them and reel up. They’ll appreciate the gesture.
If you have a friend with a drift boat, be sure to make some inroads with them and get yourself invited along. Offers of shuttling and bringing food and beverages usually work out in your favor. Be safe, have fun, and get ready to be spoiled rotten — you may never wade again.
This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.