If you’re a wade angler, you know there’s nothing like putting life’s concerns out of your mind while wading through the water anticipating your next target. It’s a feeling of Zen and exhilaration all at once.
Now imagine how much better the experience would be floating along the river in a beautiful Idaho Falls drift boat, casting out under trees and just behind boulders. There are a lot of great spots out there that you simply can’t reach if you’re out by the bank.
If you’re new to the art of drift boating (and all that it entails), there is more to purchasing, using, and maintaining a drift boat than you might realize.
Whether it’s an idea you’ve been mulling around in your head for some time or something you are adamant about doing this summer, arm yourself with the following information.
Tips On Selecting Your First Drift Boat
Before purchasing or renting one of our Idaho Falls drift boats, consider the following:
High Side vs. Low Side – Which is Better?
The answer to this question lies in what kind of water you’ll be traversing. Low sides are great for big, gentle rivers and they handle well in the wind. In places like Idaho Falls, low side drift boats work for a lot of spots, but if you’re going somewhere with a lot of rapids, you want to go with a high side drift boat.
Ease of Use
If you’re new to drift boating, you want to get a boat that isn’t sluggish and heavy. These can make your trip a lot more work than play. Basically, don’t pick out a clunker.
- Wood: Wood drift boats are great for a number of reasons. They’re beautiful and generally easy to row, but keep in mind they’re a little more high maintenance. If you don’t mind putting in some extra elbow grease, wood might be the way to go.
- Fiberglass: A lot of pros and fishing guides swear by fiberglass. It’s a current industry standard for a number of reasons. It’s low maintenance, durable, stable, comfortable, and you might be surprised how easy it is to row. That said, when it comes to form vs function, you’ll probably find a fiberglass drift boat falls more on the “function” end of the spectrum.
- Plastic: Plastic drift boats are not only light, they’re pretty dang strong as well; plastic whitewater kayaks can hold their own, so a plastic drift boat shouldn’t have any reason to let you down.
How to Operate a Drift Boat (and In One) – Essential Tips for the Newbie
Get Some Experience Before Purchasing or Renting a Drift Boat
Before purchasing or renting one of our Idaho Falls drift boats, it’s a good idea to gain a little bit of experience with a buddy or a guide first. This will:
- Give you a better idea of what you’re looking for in a drift boat, and
- Build up some confidence before taking your new boat out on the river
Rowing isn’t as easy as you might think. There’s technique involved, and a real learning curve.
Obviously, the person doing the rowing isn’t going to be fishing at the same time. You and your buddy (or buddies) should all take turns manning the ship.
You Shouldn’t Have to Make Long Casts
As you get better at rowing, or fishing with someone who is skilled at it, you’ll quickly find it easy to get close to places that are more promising for catching fish. Often these areas are up against the bank.
Basically, you shouldn’t have to cast more than twenty feet when fishing from a drift boat, although there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you’re stalking rising fish you may end up casting about 40 feet from the boat.
You’ll Have to Learn to Cast in Tighter Spaces
You’re going to be casting in a tight space surrounded by your buddies. Many of our Idaho Falls drift boats are pretty spacious, but they’re still drift boats – there’s only so much room in there. The last thing someone wants on a fishing trip is a hook lodged in their scalp.
It’s especially important to avoid hooking the rower – this can lead to dangerous consequences, especially on choppy rivers that require more technical rowing. A fist fight between friends is one thing – the whole boat capsizing is another.
Obviously if you’re right handed and casting to the left, or vise versa, then the sky’s the limit. But if there’s a risk of hooking someone, remember to keep the line high and straight over your head when you cast.
So You Got Snagged – Now What?
A lot of people end up getting snagged when casting up against the bank. Loosen your drag if you need to and give the rower some time to circle back so you can get your fly.
But what if there’s no way of getting your fly back? At that point, a sacrifice to the river gods will have to be made: point your rod directly at the snag so that your line breaks instead of your rod tip.
Keep Your Line in Your Zone
That’s the space you’re fishing, which is either in front of or behind you. If you’re standing in the back, cast slightly behind the boat. If in the front, cast to the right or left, or slightly ahead of the boat if in slower current.
Share the Front of the Boat
The one fishing at the front of the boat has a slight advantage because in any given run, the fish are going to see his or her fly first. It’s common courtesy not to hog the front spot.
Keep Your Fly in the Water as Much as Possible
Unless you have an incredibly gracious rower who’s willing to back up, you’re only going to hit a good run once. The longer the drift, the better the chances of catching a fish. More false casts means more missed opportunities, and more chances of hooking the rower.
Take the Time to Wade Fish
You’re going to come across some amazing spots to get out and wade fish. Do it! With our Idaho Falls drift boats, you’ll have the opportunity to fish some spots that would otherwise have been inaccessible because the hike would have been too long, or you would have had to trespass on private property to get there.
If you’re ready to purchase or rent a drift boat in Idaho Falls, come on into Hyde Drift Boats today! If you’ve had some practice with your buddies, decided on the right material, and memorized the above fishing recommendations, you’re more than ready for a good time on the water.