In our last post I made a fair case for several reasons why it is we love drift boat fly fishing. Just as fly rods are finely crafted to perform smoothly with remarkable accuracy, so to are drift boats crafted to execute the presentation of a fly to extreme levels, therefore giving the bow seat angler(BSA) a rare opportunity into fly fishing prowess. After spending hundreds of days and countless hours watching BSA’s of all skill levels, as well as through my own personal opportunities casting from the bow, you quickly realize you could have a mediocre cast but if your angle off the bow is correct and your oarsman knows what he or she is doing your fly will be in the strike zone and if desired, perfectly dead drift.
There are basically two ways you can present dry flies, dead drift or with controlled drag. A dead drifted fly is in general what you want to achieve, then sneaking a little controlled drag in a swing gives life to a bug that is going, thus far unnoticed. Most folks who hop up front and haven’t spent much time drift boat fishing but have a fair cast all do the same… make a few casts directly perpendicular to the boat towards the shore. Fair enough, and I would agree that is the gist of what we are doing from a boat but when fishing dry flies of any size, drag or dead drifted the best bow angles will always be near a 45. On the left- between 10 & 11 o’clock(I personally like 11 the most… Fish the Future!) and on the right- between one & two.
One way to know if your angles are good, and its important to note that it can vary depending on streamflow speed, is if your need to mend the line decreases. To keep it simple basically the slower the water the more out front your fly should be. Then as you learn to drop subtle reach casts into the mix your presentation sky rockets.
Lastly, the oarsman ultimately controls the boat speed and angles and these can be tweaked to put the angler at a huge advantage… combining all skill sets will put many more trout in the net and therefore remember to always fish barbless hooks!