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2021 is the year the team at Ascent Fly Fishing is dedicating to float fish as often as possible and we invite you to join us! There is no better way to fish over 10 miles of water in a day, get away from the crowds, and have you a shot at some truly epic fish than to hop in a drift boat or fishing raft! When the opportunity arises, we want to help you maximize your time and set yourself up for success. Here are three tips to keep in mind that will enable you to float fish like a pro this season!
Stay in Your Lane
In the moving world of drift fishing, there is an endless supply of fishy-looking water constantly floating into view around each corner and one of the greatest things about fishing from a boat is that you have the opportunity to touch all of it! Gone are the overhanging branches threatening to grab your back casts, and 50 to 100-yard drag-free drifts are the norm as you float along with the current. While fishing from a raft or drift boat opens up the river in a whole new way, you still need to share the water with the other anglers in your boat, and this basic float fishing rule will help you from crossing lines and running afoul of your fishing partners.
In order to get the longest drift and to maximize their chance at hooking up each drift the angler in the from of the boat will want to cast their line between 1 and 2 o’clock or 10 and 11 o’clock and then allow their rig to float almost parallel with the oar blades before picking it up and recasting. For the angler in the rear of the boat, their domain starts parallel with the tip of the oar blades through the entire sweep of water behind the boat. When you Stay IN Your Lane everyone is happy and you will get more fish to the boat!
While fishing from a drift boat or raft gives the angler unparalleled access to miles of river in a day, 90 % of trout only utilize about 10% of the river so you are going to need to work with the rower to line up your drifts. Fishing from a boat requires teamwork. The rower should keep their eye downriver to choose a safe line while also getting the anglers within range and call out the best holding water. The angler in turn should keep their head on a swivel, spending most of their time watching their rig and adjusting their drift but casting periodic glances downstream to anticipate and line up their next cast and drift. You only get one shot when fishing from a boat so look ahead and Line Up Your Shots!
Fishing from a boat requires constant line maintenance in order to create those nice long, natural-looking, drag-free drifts. The varying speeds of the water across the surface of the river will constantly seek to grab your fly line and skate your flies through the water and off the menu of discerning trout. To combat this, you will need to learn to mend your fly line. By lifting the tip of your rod and fly line off the water you break the grip of the surface tension with the water. Following this, quickly push the tip of your rod downstream along with a length of your fly line before lowering it back to the water. A good mend buys you time. Time for your flies and line to play through the water for another 30-40 yards before mending again or recasting your line to the next promising line.
We hope to see you on the river this summer! If you float by the Ascent team make sure to say shout out so that we can toss you a cold beer and tell you what the fish are biting on!
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