10 steps to make your raft fishing trip more enjoyable

Fly fishing from a raft can be a challenge – from backing the trailer to the ramp, rowing a boat or fishing with people who have never fly fished before. However, there are many similarities and differences between being a walk and wade angler or a swim angler. Float fishing from a raft opens up more opportunities to fish big whitewater, or smaller stream boats don’t like to go down. Here are 10 steps we recommend to make your cruise more enjoyable.

Dry bags

Who likes wearing wet clothes or finding their phone at the bottom of the raft? Having a dry bag on a raft is a must. Most people use dry bags to protect their equipment from water. Most whitewater fishing dinghies are self-sustaining, meaning they will always have water circulating throughout the boat so they don’t need to bail it out. Keep clothes and electronics dry using a Chums Dry Bag.

Chums makes dry bags in sizes and shapes to fit just about any need, and we’ve had great luck with their 32L capacity Downriver Rolltop Backpack, shown here in their eye-catching Fish Camo pattern.

Sunglasses holder

Any fly fisherman will tell you that polarized sunglasses are one of the most important tools for sun glare as well as protection when casting hooks into the air. You’ll get stung at some point, but keep your eyes protected from the sun with polarized sunglasses and always wear a sunglasses holder. We personally recommend using monofilament or stainless steel Chums as well as braided jigs as they are small in diameter and flies can be caught on the larger jigs. Another benefit is that they stay away from the neck and don’t sweat. Using a sunglasses holder is essential to prevent your expensive shades from going overboard. (Trust us – spending a day on the river without sunglasses is NOT fun). For an added level of protection, check out Chums floating holders, which will keep your glasses afloat if they happen to go swimming.

Boat net

I’m sure you forgot the boat net and I know you never will. A boat net with a long handle makes your sailing trip much more enjoyable while on the raft. Small networks do work; however, a longer handle and larger net bag will help with bigger fish and less trouble getting that fish in. Remember to keep those fish wet and dip your hands in the water before touching the fish!

While chasing a fish down with hat and hands can be a wild time. A grid is much better! *Disclaimer: the net was forgotten in the truck that day.*

Rod storage

Rod storage is a significant component of fly fishing from a raft. Everyone has that fishing friend who brings 4 rods on a half day swim trip and needs to be able to have them rigged up and ready to go for various conditions, but having a holder for a fly rod is always mandatory so that. to end up with broken bars. Rods break in boats – especially in fast whitewater, or on a big fish. Keep those rods tied and secure with a good storage system.

D-Ring Taping

D-Ring Taping is a great tactic. Every raft you have or buy has different D rings around the boat. If you’re struggling with getting your fly line stuck on various boat components, tape your D-rings so your fly line doesn’t get tangled before you cast or when fighting a big fish.

Raft safety

Raft safety is a huge component to performing a safe and effective outing. Wear a personal flotation device and put a mount on the PFD for a knife. Most dinghy anglers use anchors, one of the biggest liabilities on any boat, especially in whitewater. Bring a knife to the boat to cut the mooring line if necessary so you don’t get into an unfortunate whitewater accident.

Safety Talk

Before you leave the ramp, make sure you arrange proper transportation. Make sure you have a safety talk with the people you are fishing with. If you’re in big whitewater, wear your PFD. Talk about what to do before you flip your raft. Mention the skinny bars as your raft’s “seatbelt”, how the chairs can rotate 360 ​​degrees and where the medical kit is located. Don’t forget a jump bag with adequate rope and keep your feet up and arms like “shovels” in the water if you decide to jump. Also, mind your oars when anchoring. Always roll to roll, even if it’s soft water. Water and rocks will always win, so don’t forget a small sump pump and patch kit.


Have a dedicated organizational system for your gear, food, camera, phone, wallets, and other gear. Using a Chums Dry bag will not only keep your gear dry, it will also be an effective organizational tool for accessing your essentials while on the water. Place your sunscreen and bug spray in packing cubes or another bag. You have an available bin, pack, pack!

Cup holders

It may be necessary to catch fish and drink a cold one. Holding cups helps with organization. Any boat captain, guide or experienced paddler does not appreciate not taking the cans and bringing glass to the river, especially in an inflatable raft. Drink responsibly and don’t spill beer all over your boat!

Boat box

Do you bring your hip bag from fishing on the boat? You can, but it can get wet. Keeping it in a separate dry bag or dry box is the best way. Keep all flies, leaders, tips and floats in a designated space that is tied for whitewater. This will keep all your gear dry so all the transmitters don’t rust.


Within these steps, you’ll be ready for any fly fishing trip on your raft and make your outing much more enjoyable. Some of these suggestions may be familiar; however, being rigged up for an enjoyable day on the water keeps the stress out, and having the right gear sets the tone for your experience.

If you’re looking to keep your sunglasses on your head instead of in the water or need some new dry bags, check out the full line from CHUMS HERE.

After the brand: Chums

Standing at sea #5: Relatives

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