Learn to Love the Back of the Bus
I just did a two day float on the Blackfoot River. What a fantastic fly fishing trip. The buddy I went with hadn’t done a guided fishing trip for over 20 years and the trip was a combo birthday, Father’s day, and Christmas present for him. Since I have the good fortune of going on these type of trips with some frequency, I thought the right thing to do would be to do the whole trip from the back of the boat.
After a bit of arguing, and Rich finally realizing I was as stubborn as a mule, we agreed that’s how we’d approach the trip. There’s a common notion that if you’re in the rear of the boat, that you’re going to catch less fish. Depending on who you’re going with, this may or may not be true. The way we worked it, depending on the spot of course, Rich would drift once or twice through an area, then I’d hit it.
While I didn't get first shot at a spot, I could fish a particular spot as many times as I could hit it - depending of course on how fast we were drifting past.
This can be an advantage.
Many times, it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth drift that a fish would rise. The front of the boat is absolutely going to get the most aggressive fish, there’s no doubt about that. It really is the premium spot.
However, the back of the boat has a real shot at some of the larger, more educated fish.
One technique I picked up on during my trip was the real need for a dropper. I almost always fish two flies. There were many times where both we would get a refusal, and some of these were big fish.
Instead of two dry flies, I tied on a nymph on about a three foot dropper. This is way longer than normal, but we were in a drift boat, so it worked, and worked well. There were at least two dozen occasions where the dries got refused and I picked on up on the nymph.
As it turns out, we both caught about the same amount of fish picking up more than two dozen each per day. Not a bad trip at all!
Yes, you have to mess with the anchor. Yes, you have to be diligent about watching the cast of the guy up front….but there can be rewards. The topper for me was a 21” rainbow that tail walked all over the river…..she hit…..the dropper fly while I was in the back of the boat, that refused a dry up front!
The most important thing to remember about fly fishing is to have fun. There are no winners and losers. You are in some of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth. Enjoy it, the company you are with, and immerse yourself into your surroundings.
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags