When poling for bonefish from a flats skiff, typically only one angler fishes from the front of the boat, while the other waits patiently in the back of the boat until it is his/her turn on the deck.
The angler in the back of the boat has plenty to do anyhow, from freeing up tangled fly line, to scanning for tails, to calling out pesky doctor flies about to strike. We call it being a good boat buddy, and its an important part of a successful day on the flats.
There are times however, when immediately after the angler on the bow hooks up, more fish come cruising behind, giving the angler in the back a chance to ‘double up.’ Therefore, that requires even the ‘waiting angler’ to be ready at all times.
Rods stored in the rod racks of the boat can take too long to get to when the moment presents itself. Therefore, as soon as your guide begins poling, we recommend leaving a rod within reach on the gunwale of the boat, with the rod tip towards the stern. That way, your rod is ready in a moment’s notice, and won’t get in the way of the angler on the deck.
Just be careful not to knock it overboard, as we’ve seen that more times than we care to admit.