How to Prepare for a Float Trip
How to Prepare for a Float Trip
By Mike Hodge
The Tuck Fly shop offers wade and float trips. Each has their place. Wade fishing is intimate, but can be challenging, depending on the water conditions and the angler's physical condition.
Float trips are more expensive, but cover more water and are easier on the angler. You can sit in a comfortable seat for a half or full day of relaxing fishing. Nevertheless, floating does have its obstacles. Below are a few tips to think about before you fish out of a drift boat or raft.
You want to cast across the boat, not over the middle of the boat. Put simply, do not cast over the guide's head. Make sure there's water behind you and in front of you before you cast. In a typical right-hand bank scenario, the angler on the bow will have to back-hand his or her cast, while the angler in the stern will have a traditional forward cast, assuming both anglers are right-handed and fishing out of the right side of the boat.
Avoid the Chaos
Tangles are inevitable, but can be tamed with synchronicity. If both anglers fish off the same side of the boat, the angler in the bow should cast slightly upstream and end their drift slightly before their fly reaches the oars; the rear angler fishes from the oars back toward the stern. Essentially, each angler has a small swath of water to cover. Stay on your piece of water and all will be smooth.
There is a second option, which involves the angler in the back fishing first, casting upstream and completing the drift. The angler in front follows. This approach takes timing and communication. If you're unsure, it's best to have one angler fish off each side of the boat to start out. Keep it simple.
Have a Firm Grasp of the Obvious
The angler in the rear is close to the anchor line. Pay attention to the fly at the end of your drift. Steer it away from the anchor line. If it gets stuck, don't try to grab it. Have the guide take a look at first.
Learn how to Water Haul
If you're nymph fishing, chances are you will have a strike indicator, a weighted fly and a piece of split shot. With traditional casting, you'll often tangle due to multiple hinge points on the leader. The best option is to water haul. Let the fly line swing down stream and use the tension of the water to propel the forward cast. This eliminates false casting and cuts down on tangles.
Listen to Your Guide
Guides can't control the fishing. They can help the angler catch fish, but there are too many variables beyond a guide's control that dictate how many fish an angler catches. What a guide can do is be prepared and maintain safety standards. Guides often will tell a client to sit down during a rocky stretch of swift water. Rocks are sometimes hard to see. If you're sitting, you're much safer. When in doubt, sit. Don't stand. Safety also extends to when the boat is dead still. Let your guide assist you in getting in and out of the boat. Broken rods and twisted ankles are not worth the risk of a solo exit. Teamwork is important --- from start to finish.
Even on the best days, mistakes happen. It's part of fishing. But understanding a few rules and mastering a one or two skills can make the day on the water much smoother.