I like to think of wade fishing and fishing from a boat (drifty, raft, willie raptor, etc) as two very different sports. Because of this, your approach when fishing from a boat should be different than when you are wade fishing. Things happen a little faster when floating so you want to plan accordingly. You have to look downstream (the direction where you are headed) and plan where you want to cast well before you get there. You don’t want to be casting straight out to the side of the boat. Typically the person on the oars will be back rowing in the middle part of the river, allowing you access to the soft “fishy” water along the banks. If you are the lucky person fishing from the bow, there are several reasons why you want to be casting sightly downstream of the boat.
1) The fish will see your flies before it sees the boat.
2) You will have a longer, more natural drift. If you cast straight out towards the bank, your flies will start to drag almost immediately as you and the boat are drifting faster than the area where your flies landed. A cast downstream of the boat gives you a longer drift as the boat has time to catch up, and the rower has time to adjust.
3) You give the person in the back of the boat room to fish. Everyone wants to be a good boat partner. If you are in front and cast straight towards the bank, you are leaving the person in the back very little water to fish.
4) You wont get stuck living in the past trying to hit a pocket you just drifted past. Anyone who has fished from a drifting boat has experienced this. You see a pocket you wish you had put flies in so you try to heave a cast even or upstream of the boat. This never works or gives you a good drift. Usually it just causes you to miss good water that you could of effectively fished downstream.
Moral of the story, if you are in the front of the boat, always be looking and fishing slightly downstream!
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