Where to cast in the drift boat: One thing I try to convey to clients is being thorough in terms of presentation. A common mistake is to cast to the same spot expecting different results- when streamer or bugger fishing (especially if you have the pole position on the front of the boat) you want to cover all the water methodically starting close and working out from the boat as well as “fan casting” or zoning, covering water from perpendicular to your position to the opposite side of the boat like the hands of a clock. Sometimes big fish are up on the banks, often times they are close to the security of the thalweg (the deepest channel in the heart of the river) staging on its edges- especially when the water starts to recede from the dam release. Big fish are often found in hot-tub sized depressions in riffles too, spots that most anglers walk by. When the drift boat is moving, resist the urge to cast upstream- several bad things happen, the 200 grain head will sink into the rocks quickly (nothing like losing an entire fly line to start the trip), the fly line reaches the fish first-not good- and the fly comes streaking head-first at the fish, not the most natural presentation. I prefer a fly first presentation, with the most savage strikes occurring when the fly is side ways or perpendicular to the fish or swung in the traditional style down and across with the fly arriving first. My point being that presentation definitely correlates to more fish and sometimes can be more important than the fly- something good anglers think about constantly and is a recurring theme in the sport.
Casting: Well, presentation is one thing casting is another. When I first became obsessed with fly fishing I wanted to throw the tightest loop possible, and cast as far as I could, all of which is fine and dandy. What do you do when there is no room for a back-cast? What do you do when your throwing a brace of nymphs? I’ll say it right now, the roll cast is perhaps the second most important cast to have in your repertoire, and for smaller, tight streams and throwing nymph rigs, it is essential and will keep you tangle free longer than the standard cast. In fact, when using a standard cast for multiple nymphs you want to open up your loop during the cast to keep everything from boomeranging into a birdsnest. Practice the roll cast and you’ll spend more time unhooking trout then untangling your leader.
The O-Ring Technique: When I fish for big browns with streamers, I tend to throw at obvious structure, more often then not, right on the bank. Line control becomes critical, especially in a moving driftboat. The o-ring is simply using your non-casting hand as a line control device- shooting line through a circle on your hauling hand by joining the tip of your index finger and thumb to create the O. Once you become comfortable with it you can use the same casting stroke every time and cinch down and stop the cast at will, leading to pin-point accuracy. It also gives you an advantage in that you have instantaneous control over the fly- sometimes the fish hit as soon as the fly hits the water-and sometimes the fish want the fly moving as hits the water. I fish in the salt as much as I do in fresh water, fish like false albacore really respond to the instantaneous strip and the o-ring will give you that.
What to Bring
- Be sure to purchase a Vermont fishing license or Massachusetts fishing license before your trip.
- Polarized Sunglasses
- Hat or visor
- rain gear and warm clothes (remember it’s easy to shed layers, however it’s impossible to add layers you don’t have)
- waders ( if you have felt soles please soak them in a light bleach solution before coming to fish and remember felt is illegal in Vermont )
- wading staff
- snacks and beverages for half day trips, lunch and beverages are provided for full day trips.