Fly fishing afloat

On a lake or reservoir where the bank fishing is difficult, because of the crush of other anglers or weather or shoreside conditions, a boat can give you a degree of freedom Most lake and reservoir trout fisheries provide boat fishing for those who prefer it. Many anglers would argue that the boat fisherman consistently catches more than his bank-fishing counterpart. Others oppose this view. The majority choose according to conditions and what suits their pocket.

With half a gale blowing, the boat angler may find it impossible to fish either because the drift is too fast, or because the anchor will not hold bottom. It may then be wiser to stay on the bank, where some shelter may be found. Another day, he may find the bank lined with anglers, with hardly room to fish. If the water looks good he may decide to use a boat and take advantage of the greater freedom of movement this provides.

Some anglers travel light, prepared to walk the bank with only rod, reel and fly box—an excellent day’s fishing if you are in the mood. Others carry a lot of gear to cover all the possible variations required. Then, a boat is very useful indeed.

Whatever your motives for fishing from a boat, there are a few essentials which will improve your chances. The most obvious is a good anchor. A length of regular or nylon rope about 30-50 yards along is indispensable, and a heavy lump of concrete attached by a ringbolt will suffice either to anchor, or to trail behind the boat in a high wind to slow the drift. A proper anchor is preferable, however, especially of the folding variety, which makes for easy stowage and portage.

The anchor rope should never be fastened to the rowlocks but must be taken twice around the thwart (the oarsman’s bench) and fastened with a tucked half-blood knot. It can then be passed through a crutch or over the side direct, according to fancy. The anchor will always sit and hold better if it has about 6ft of light chain attached at the business end. This stops the anchor from dragging, except when you are fishing in a very high wind.

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