[Click through the images above to see uncommon vessels used for fly fishing.]
When we hear the words "fly-fishing boat," most of us picture a wide-open skiff that floats in about 6 inches of water and has a poling platform on the back and a large casting deck up front. That is, of course, an ideal. However, there are a variety of nontraditional crafts out there that many anglers use to ply skinny water. Some are regional concepts, some are taken from our freshwater brethren, and others are simply classic designs that you may not have thought about using as fly-fishing platforms, but all hold possibilities for the saltwater fly-fisherman.
Dargel Skooter 136 Sport
Dargel Boat Works has been making scooter-style boats since 1958, and public demand for the Skooter 13 prompted it to reintroduce this mud skiff. The company spent several years developing the 136 Sport, incorporating the features that made the original so popular, and then modernized it. This new version floats in 5 inches of water, but it runs shallower and even over mudflats, which is why it has the uniquely Texan flush-deck design. The flat-bottom hull allows the boat to skim like a sled through ultra-skinny water.
The Skooter 136 comes standard with a center console and a raised transom that allows you to mount the engine so that the prop and skag sit flush with the bottom of the hull. This ensures that the boat can actually run in water shallower than it draws at rest.
While kayaks geared toward fishermen are nothing new, Heritage Kayaks' latest creation, the Redfish, has an innovative design that incorporates the best features of a variety of other models. It's noticeably shorter than traditional kayaks and also has a wider profile at the rear of the boat, making it the company's most stable kayak to date and an ideal one for fly-fishermen.
Each kayak is rotomolded out of polyethylene into a single seamless hull and deck unit for maximum strength and impact resistance. It offers a bow storage hatch and a stern tank well that can hold all your fishing gear, including bulky items like bait buckets and coolers. Standard equipment for the Redfish includes two recessed rod holders, a paddle leash, a padded backrest and four additional cockpit drain plugs.