Bryan Burke works in our Anchorage office now, but he earned his stripes guiding guests at Alaska West on the Kanektok. In a recent conversation about favorite fishing techniques, Bryan declared boondogging (huh? read on…) to be at the top of his list. We asked him for some tips, and he obliged.
Four Tips to Better Boondoggin’
One of the things I miss most being away from the Kanektok is that rare day when two of my fellow brethren and I got a kitchen pass to go rainbow fishing. We might have spent the day exploring some braids, taking a nap (yeah right) or fishing the main channel from gravel bars. But our favorite fishing was to go ‘boondoggin’.
Boondoggin is, simply, drift fishing from a boat. One guy fishes from the bow, one on the stern, and one guy is on the oars. Fishing in this way gives you the opportunity to cover lots of water, and lends access to holes you’d otherwise never be able to reach.
I do a lot of it here on the Kenai River, but it’s far from the experience you’ll have on the Kanektok. The Kenai is a big piece of water -most spots you’ll never see the bottom, and sight-fishing means watching your strike-indicator. The K-Tok, on the other hand, is often clear with a visible bottom, and just the right size to watch the dark shadows dart out from root wads to take your fly.
Here are four ways to boondog better!
- Pole Position. The angler on the bow of our boats has a bird’s eye view of the river (which is nice), but the stern gets the first look and is the first to make a presentation [when you’re boondoggin’ the stern points downriver]. If you roshambo and win, start with the stern.
- Keep it in the Game. Let your fly dead drift for as long as possible. Make a couple of quick mends (if any), and only pull it in if you see a better opportunity.
- Use Your Roll Cast. Spending less time with your fly in the air, and more time wet, is always mo’ betta. Roll casts are great for a quick reload into a hole.
- Look Down River. Focusing on your present water is good, but take the time to look down river to see what’s coming up. Be prepared to pull your fly and present it to better water downriver, and don’t waste your time on the great lie that you just passed!