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First-Time Fly Fishing from a Boat

by Captain John Kumiski

The astute fly caster can use any boat as a fishing platform with a little foresight and preparation. Not all boats have been designed with fly fishers in mind. If you will be fishing from someone else's boat you need to carry a few items in a small pack that will save you from the aggravation (and maybe lost fish) of having your line hang up on everything or getting your rod broken.
A large bath towel can be wet and used to cover large tangly items like trolling motors.

A stripping basket helps. You can wear one or put one on the deck. I like a pop-up leaf basket weighted down with a lead-filled section of garden hose, in part because it folds down and can be put away easily. Or you could carry a stripping mat like theCarbon Marine Line Lair.
A roll of duct tape can cover cleats. Ask the captain for permission before you go taping anything.
A fly rod in a boat not designed to carry them risks destruction. Under-gunwale storage is a blessing. You can carry your own rod racks with an I Fly suction cup rod holder. They make a rod tip holder too.

A boat needs a way to be silently anchored in shallow water. A Power Pole, Wang Anchor, or even an old-fashioned mushroom anchor can all do the trick.
Eventually you will hook a fish. Most of us want to touch it, even if we plan to release it. I handle most of my fish with bare hands but some fish like tarpon require gloves. Most people will use a landing net. Any fish to be released should not be taken from the water and should be handled with care. Get and learn to use (easily done) a dehooker.
Lastly, the bumper sticker says, "A bad day fishing beats a good day at work." Not necessarily true. You need a small first aid kit with band-aids, a moleskin patch, some gauze patches, a gauze roll, and some first aid tape. You should already have duct tape in your pack. Know how to remove a fishhook from yourself or your friends.


Mike Deegan treating a big red with care.
Enjoy every day you get to spend in a boat!

This is a re-post of John Kumiski's article from our original blog. 
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Capt. John Kumiski has been guiding fishermen in the waters surrounding the Kennedy Space Center for over 20 years. His books include Indian River Lagoon Chronicles, Redfish on the Fly, and Fishing Florida’s Space Coast. Contact him at 407.977.5207 or his website http://www.spottedtail.com/


Allen Wyatt
Allen Wyatt

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