I could feel the grips on the oars bite my palms as I backrowed and tried to hold the boat in place.
“Okay. Big fish rising at 2 o’clock, five feet from the bank.” I told the angler in the front of the boat.
“Just a minute, let me get a shot at the one back here,” he replied.
“No. Forget it. Look ahead! Look ahead! But it was too late. And we floated by the nicest fish I’d seen all day and never even got a shot at it.
It’s easy to get focused on every rise when fishing from a drift boat. But all too often anglers spend too much time looking back and not taking advantage of the best opportunities to catch fish in front of them. By applying the 45 and 90 degree rule you will increase your opportunities to catch more fish when drift boat fishing.
Orient yourself downstream in the leg locks and generally speaking face front. It’s important to keep in mind that the very minute you cast behind the boat, your flies are dragging. Simple as that. Sure, once in a while you make a fifty foot cast behind the boat and manage to pull one out of your #$! but consider it luck and realize that to fish better from a drift boat you should always be facing front if the boat is floating downstream. Nothing matters behind you unless it’s a hurricane bearing downstream with gale winds at 90 miles an hour.
The 45 and 90 degree rule is basic and easily explained. If the boat is moving the same speed as the current, you should make your cast downstream 45 degrees ahead of the boat. That way, the line, fly and boat are moving at the same speed allowing for a long, drag free drift provided you mend as neccessary. If the boat is being slowed, adjust your cast to 90 degrees and perpendicular to the side of the boat. This way, you’re effectively compensating for the slower speed of the boat relative to the speed of the current. Make a good, sweeping mend, and you’re in the game.
By applying the 45 and 90 degree rule you can fish more effeciently from a drift boat and spend less time with your fly dragging and more time hooking up.