Inflatable drift boats can be great for fly fishing a variety of waters. This guide will explore common features, what you need to use one for fly fishing, and how to keep yours floating for years to come.
Inflatable Drift Boats For Fly Fishing
Inflatable drift boats that work well for fly-fishing will range from the small one-person pontoon boat to the three-person inflatable raft.
Learn more about fly-fishing pontoon boats.
The larger inflatable rafts are great for longer expeditions and whitewater because they are very stable. They can navigate shallow, rocky and rough water because they have a very shallow draft and are quieter than the average drift boat.
Read more below to learn more about the basics of inflatable drift boats for fly fishing.
These rafts are used mostly on rivers. They are not used on lakes because rowing across a lake against the wind is less than fun. They do not track as well on flat waters as other fly fishing boats.
You can transport all of these inflatable drift boats without a trailer. They are portable but the larger ones will weigh in at almost 200 lbs. You can ship the smaller ones to your next fishing destination or stow them in a small airplane.
Do not use a rigid floorboard in a raft. A rigid floorboard can be a problem in whitewater because it may cause a flip when the raft hits bottom. You must have a flexible but sturdy floor on a whitewater raft.
Common Features of Inflatable Drift Boats
Most offer stand-up casting platforms. This is nice because the added stability of secure footing can make your casting more accurate and safe.
Most do not require tools to assemble and are very user-friendly. They do however require setup time. “George, did you remember the pump?”
All of the larger inflatable drift boats offer multi-chamber compartments. This offers a level of security in case of an accident. Most will come with a repair kit.
Another nice feature available on some rafts is that of a self-bailing floor.
Making It Last For Years
Most wear and tear on inflatable drift boats does not happen on the water. When these boats are inflated and in the water they are very tough. You should pay special attention to how the drift boat is handled and stored after your day on the water.
Common Mistakes with Inflatable Drift Boats
These things will dramatically shorten the life of your boat; and risk a day ruining deflation.
• Dragging them down a concrete or wooden ramp.
• Rolling them up and putting them under a pile of frames and supplies in your truck.
• Letting them rub against rocks or other boats at your campsite. D-rings and oarlocks from other boats can rub against your raft, causing damage.
• Letting ropes rub the fabric raw. Ropes can cause more damage to the tubes because they do not have the surface area that a flat strap does. Even a rope to a drink sack left against a tube overnight can do this.
• Dry straps pulled across the fabric will remove its coating. Get the straps wet before you remove the rigging at takeout.
• Leaving it on your car roof on a hot day can cause damage to your raft. Do not overinflate the raft.
• Failure to use the boat bags that came with the boat. This may sound like common sense but they will give you an extra level of protection while riding in the back of your truck.
• Removing all the air out of the boat. This creates sharp folds that can later lead to wear. Most manufacturers recommend storing your boat partially inflated.