Casting from a Drift Boat

When two anglers are fishing from a drift boat, both must exhibit good technique to avoid conflicts. The main pitfall is tangling during casting because drift-boat anglers rarely watch their back casts. If the casting planes of the two anglers intersect, nasty line tangles ensue. And every second that you waste untangling lines, good water is slipping past the boat.

To ensure harmony in the boat, both anglers have to pay attention to what the other is doing. The easiest way to avoid tangling during casting is to develop an alternating rhythm, so both anglers aren’t casting at the same time. Since the stern angler can more easily see what his partner is doing, it’s usually the stern angler who times his casts for when the bow angler has his line on the water. This sounds good on paper, but no one casts like a metronome, and when the bow angler sees a particularly great spot or a rising fish, he may make a quick out-of-rhythm cast that can catch the stern angler off-guard and with his line in the air.

A better method is for both anglers to cast at similar angles to the centerline of the boat. Parallel lines never cross, right? Usually, you should try to keep your casts between 45 and 60 degrees downstream from the centerline. If the front angler casts too far downstream or if the rear angler starts casting directly at the bank, their lines will cross behind them, leading to more lost fishing time. As with the rhythm method, there are plenty of pitfalls here. It takes quite a bit of discipline to maintain the correct angles when you’re dealing with constantly changing conditions of water, wind, and boat position. However, behaviorism is at work: the more you get it right, the more you get to fish, so you learn.

The parallel-angle casting method also serves to protect the guide from flying projectiles with hooks in them. An uninjured guide is a happy guide, and a happy guide puts you over more fish.

Photo by Neal Osborn.

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