Last week Terry and I dunked the Outcast PAC-13 in the river for her maiden voyage down the Brandywine. Obviously we took along fishing gear, but this was to be more of a "dry run" for the float trips we will be running this summer. We put it in at our uppermost put-in (at this time) the Lenape picnic park and floated to one of our take-outs on a private section of the Brandywine.
We started off drifting down the river with Terry on the oars and me on the bow. One thing became apparent right off the bat. Casting and fishing out of a drift boat is NOTHING like walk and wade fishing! After a few impromptu lessons from the boss and a learning curve that I made much harder than it needed it to be we started to get in sync. Pick up, cast, strip, strip, strip, repeat. There is no time for false casting and the strip is an aggressive, long , fast strip. One thing I had to wrap my brain around is that the boat is always moving down river. Shortly into the trip the first ever fish to be landed on the boat came to hand...
As we continued to float down the river Terry remarked at how easy the boat was to maneuver. I was surprised at the complexity of the oarsman's job. There is much more to rowing a drift boat than just floating down the middle of the river. Positioning for a river left or a river right cast, back rowing, looking for casting obstructions etc. are all part of the job. With two fishermen in the boat this will be quite the intense job. Terry had me in the game the whole afternoon, a true professional!
About an hour into the float we really started to get things down and started to land a few fish including a few nice Smallmouth. Unfortunately, the nicest fish had other plans when it came to picture time and back in the river she went. A solid 15 to 16" Bronze-back was the days best. One thing for sure, once you float in this boat you won't ever want to float in a canoe again. The stability of this boat is amazing. Weather sitting or standing casting is no problem. With the two of us and enough gear to stay on the river for two or three days the boat floated in less than 6" of water! The bow casting platform is very roomy and easy to work from. At no point did I feel like it was too small. If my back started to hurt I would just sit down and cast from the seat, the line of sight was not as good, but it was a nice break from standing.
Here is a short video of Terry bringing the boat through a narrow section of the river. Believe me, he makes this look easy. This was a tough slot to navigate.
If you have been thinking about floating the Brandywine, or looking to cross a few fish off of your "Challenge" list let me say there is no more comfortable way to do it than in our PAC-13 drift boat. If you have been floating in a canoe you really should try the PAC-13, the stability in this boat is unbelievable. Give us a call at the shop (302)654-6515 or contact us through email here if you are interested in more details about out summer float trips down the Brandywine. July is already starting to fill, but August is wide open. We look forward to hearing from you.
The "Smallmouth Challenge" is designed to be a fun, non-competitive fishing challenge we will be hosting in the shop this summer. The premise is simple. Bob Clouser, most famous for the Clouser Deep Minnow, has seventeen great fly patterns in his book "Clouser Flies" all designed to catch Smallmouth Bass. What the challenge consists of is tying three of four of each of the patterns in the book and landing at least one Smallie on each of the seventeen flies in one season. I personally did this on my own last year and it was a blast. You can read about my completing the challenge here. Everyone that completes the challenge will be eligible for the prizes we will award at the end of the challenge. As mentioned this is meant to be a fun, non-competitive fishing challenge designed to push your skills at the bench as well as on the river. We are not big on rules as this is recreation. Here are a few things you need to do in order to help us host the challenge.
1) Go to www.facebook.com/smallmouthchallenge and like our challenge page, then message us with your name, email address and let us know you want to take the challenge. We will set up an album within the page with all of the participants names. Each time you complete a set of flies or catch a fish on one of them send the picture to us and we will put it in the appropriate album. When you have tied all seventeen flies and caught seventeen Smallmouth, on each fly, you have completed the challenge and are eligible for the prize drawing.
2) All flies are to be tied in the "spirit" of the pattern. Some substitutions such as hooks or some of the harder to find materials can be made, but, lets try to keep things as close to the original pattern recipes as we can. You may tie the patterns in any color you wish.
3) If you have tied any these patterns before and would like to use them that is fine as long as you can provide a picture of them. I had tied several of the flies before, but thought I owed it to the "Challenge" to tie all new flies, the choice is yours.
3) We would like the fish to finish their spawn before we start fishing for them. For that reason we would like to start the "Fishing" portion of the challenge on June 22nd and run until October 19th. You can tie as many flies before hand as you like.
4) All fish are to be released after carefully photographing them. For a few tips on fish photography click here. The challenge is open to any and all people who want to participate. Please be sure to follow any and all fish and game laws in the state you will be fishing.
5) Have Fun!
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Good luck to all and remember...get out and fish!
Keep up to date on all things flyfishing.