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What Is a Fly Fishing Boat?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated Jan 27, 2024
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A fly fishing boat can take on many shapes and sizes, with the most common similarity being the ability to cast and fish flies on a stable platform. From inflatable boats to wooden and aluminum vessels, and from kayaks to flat-bottom skiffs, a fly fishing boat can typically be handled by a single operator while fishing. Paddles and electric trolling motors are used to propel these small boats through the water. Some of the better-built fly fishing boat designs utilize a smooth and flat floor that works well for stripping fly line onto while making casts.

For an experienced angler, an inflatable fly fishing boat may fill the bill and meet all of his requirements in a fly-fishing boat. A beginner or a novice may want to choose a wooden or aluminum boat that will be able to withstand an occasional hook strike. The inflatable styles of fly fishing boat could be punctured by a fly as it is swept through the air while casting. The inflatable craft are also more "tippy" and less stable than a solidly-constructed vessel will be. The solid construction is also better-suited to a rough white-water type of environment where rock strikes could destroy an inflatable boat.

Often referred to as a drift boat, a fly fishing boat is designed to float along with the current while a fisherman casts his flies along the shore line and near rocks and fell trees. In some situations and for certain species of fish, a raised platform on the bow of the boat will allow the angler to better see the fish and place more accurate casts at moving fish. This is often true in the United States with a Florida-based fly fishing boat that is used to fish the flats off of the Florida coastline.

This style of fly fishing boat can often be comparable in size to a well-equipped bass boat; however, the typical fly casting boat is much smaller and a lot less expensive than a bass boat. Often resembling a wooden fishing or row boat, the fly fishing boat is commonly of a flat bottom design and has shallow sides. With the fisherman positioned in the center of the boat, corrections to direction, positioning in the water and speed are easily manipulated by the fisherman/driver of the boat. Some boat designs are configured for two persons to occupy the boat: the fisherman and a pilot. This allows the fisherman to focus on fishing rather than handling the boat.

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Discussion Comments

By myharley — On Aug 17, 2012

@sunshined-- You are right about the expenses adding up. Whenever I wonder what to get my husband for his birthday, I know that any kind of fly fishing equipment is a good idea.

When my husband bought his fly fishing boat he didn't buy a brand new one. You can find some great deals on used boats that are in great shape. As much time as he spends on this boat, I think it has been more than worth it.

By sunshined — On Aug 16, 2012

Many people who love to fish talk about getting a big bass boat. All my husband wants if a fly fishing boat because this is his favorite activity.

While I am glad these are not as expensive as a bass boat, everything still adds up. By the time you figure in the price of the boat, plus all the fly fishing gear, you can have quite a bit of money wrapped up in it.

We don't even live in an area where there is great fly fishing available. He would have to travel some place to find some great fly fishing. Still, this is something he has dreamed about for a long time, and I won't be surprised if he gets one when the time is right.

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