Fly Fishing from an Inflatable Boat: Tips, Techniques, and Gear

Fly fishing from an inflatable boat offers anglers a unique opportunity to access hard-to-reach fishing spots, while also providing a lightweight and portable option for fishing adventures. In this guide, we’ll explore the various aspects of fly fishing with an inflatable boat, including the necessary gear, techniques, and safety precautions to make your experience a success.

Fly Fishing from an Inflatable Boat: Tips, Techniques, and Gear

Choosing the Right Inflatable Boat for Fly Fishing

Before embarking on your fly fishing adventure, it’s crucial to choose the right inflatable boat to meet your needs. Factors to consider include the type of boat, size, weight capacity, stability, maneuverability, durability, material quality, and ease of setup and transport.

  1. Types of inflatable boats: The most common types of inflatable boats for fly fishing are rafts, kayaks, and pontoons. Each offers unique advantages depending on your preferences and fishing conditions.
    • Rafts: These are versatile, stable, and can handle rough water. However, they may be more challenging to maneuver in tight spaces.
    • Kayaks: Inflatable kayaks are lightweight and highly maneuverable, making them ideal for accessing narrow or shallow areas. They may be less stable than rafts or pontoons, though.
    • Pontoons: These boats provide excellent stability and ample room for gear but may be less maneuverable than kayaks and more challenging to transport than other options.
  2. Size and weight capacity: Consider the size of your inflatable boat in relation to your height, weight, and the amount of gear you plan to carry. Most inflatable boats have weight capacities ranging from 250 to 450 pounds.
  3. Stability and maneuverability: Select a boat that offers a balance between stability and maneuverability, as both are essential for a successful fly fishing experience.
  4. Durability and material quality: Look for boats made from high-quality materials like PVC or Hypalon, as these offer better resistance to punctures and abrasions.
  5. Ease of setup and transport: Consider how quickly and easily your inflatable boat can be set up and deflated for transport, as well as its overall portability.
Choosing the Right Inflatable Boat for Fly Fishing

Essential Gear for Fly Fishing from an Inflatable Boat

  • Fly rod and reel: Choose a fly rod and reel that are suitable for the type of fish you’re targeting and the fishing conditions you’ll encounter.
  • Fly line, leader, and tippet: Select the appropriate fly line weight, leader length, and tippet strength based on your target species and fishing conditions.
  • Flies and fly box: Bring a variety of flies suited to the area you’ll be fishing in, and store them in a waterproof fly box.
  • Landing net: A rubberized landing net is ideal for safely landing and releasing fish.
  • Line clippers and forceps: These tools are essential for cutting line and removing hooks.

Boat accessories

  • Inflatable boat pump: A manual or electric pump is necessary for inflating and deflating your boat.
  • Oars or paddles: Choose oars or paddles that are appropriate for your boat size and type.
  • Personal flotation device (PFD): A PFD is essential for safety on the water, and many models also offer pockets for storing small items.
  • Anchor system: An anchor system will help you maintain your position in the water while fishing.
  • Rod holders and storage: Rod holders and storage solutions will help keep your gear organized and easily accessible.

Techniques for Fly Fishing from an Inflatable Boat

Drifting and controlling your boat’s position: Learn to drift with the current while maintaining control of your boat’s position, allowing you to present your flies more naturally to the fish. Keep a paddle or oar ready to make small adjustments to your course as needed.

Anchoring in various water conditions: Become proficient in using your anchor system to hold your position in different water conditions, such as calm pools, fast currents, or shallow riffles. Proper anchoring allows you to thoroughly fish a specific area without being carried away by the current.

Techniques for Fly Fishing from an Inflatable Boat

Navigating currents, eddies, and obstructions: Develop your skills in reading water and understanding how currents, eddies, and obstructions affect your boat’s movement. This knowledge will help you maintain control of your boat and put yourself in the best position to cast and catch fish.

Stealth and minimizing disturbance: Practice moving quietly and smoothly in your inflatable boat to avoid spooking fish. Keep noise to a minimum, avoid sudden movements, and use your paddle or oar gently when maneuvering.

Safety Precautions for Inflatable Boat Fly Fishing

  • Wearing a PFD at all times: Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) while on the water, even if you are an experienced swimmer. Accidents can happen quickly, and a PFD can save your life.
  • Staying aware of water conditions and weather forecasts: Check the weather forecast and water conditions before heading out, and stay vigilant while on the water. Be prepared to change your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Carrying a safety whistle and communication devices: Bring a safety whistle to signal for help if needed, and carry a fully charged mobile phone or other communication device in a waterproof case.
  • Avoiding overloading your boat: Be mindful of your boat’s weight capacity and avoid overloading it with gear, as this can compromise its stability and safety.
  • Properly maintaining and inspecting your inflatable boat: Regularly inspect your inflatable boat for wear and tear, and repair any damage promptly. Keep your boat clean and well-maintained to ensure its longevity and safety.


Fly fishing from an inflatable boat can be an incredibly rewarding experience, giving anglers access to untapped fishing locations and a more intimate connection with the water. By investing in the appropriate gear, mastering the necessary techniques, and following safety precautions, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and enjoyable fly fishing adventure.