Sunday, October 1, 2017


In 1969 Joe Cocker stood on the stage at Woodstock and ripped out his rendition of the Beatles song “With a Little Help From My Friends.” It's still my favorite version and I turn up the volume whenever I hear it on the radio. No, I wasn't there. I was too young and it's not likely I would have gone given the chance. I was busy trying to figure out wing-shooting, trout fishing, and Blake & Lamb traps and never really had much hippie blood or rebellion in me. But that song...

I've spent more time in drift boats these last few years than I ever thought I would and I can thank my friends for that. I've enjoyed the good fortune of floating and fishing countless river miles in one of five different boats owned by my buddies. From the maneuverable rockered traditional hulls to the openness of skiffs to the portability and toughness of the inflatable.
The neat thing about friends with driftboats is they're always keeping an eye out for someone to fish with. That's where I come in. Trout, bass, muskies, pike caught from Wisconsin to Montana out of these boats and though they are something of a glorified row boat, there's nothing like drifting a river and fly casting comfortably from a drift boat. Moving steadily without motor noise; quiet as a canoe you can hold a conversation while never knowing what you might sneak up on around the next bend.

I've long been attracted to the design of a simple boat. Here in the land of lakes motorboats are common and some are fantastic with airplane looking cockpits and giant outboards hanging on the transoms, but my eye is drawn to and appreciates the graceful lines of the canoes which are as plentiful as Lund fishing boats. The blueprint schemes of canoes and drift boats are more parallel than being simply human-powered, though "human powered" speaks to a worthy skill that's becoming rarer and rarer. And these boats can get you to places the Evinrude and Mercury will never see.
Sometimes it's fun to compare the pros and cons of each model and I've wondered if I was ever in the market what features would I look for? Many years ago I went out west and fell in love with the first drift boat I saw. Now? The many features of each have me scratching my head. But I've no need to fret over it because there's no reason for me to have one. When it comes to fishing from a drift boat I get by with a little help from my friends.


  1. Well done Al! I've never fished from a drift boat, but my experiences of fishing from a raft are some of my more cherished memories. The fishing was so exciting and fast and different. But to me, the experience was about fishing with great friends that are no longer here. There's that friend thing again.

  2. Thanks Howard, I do a lot of solo hunting and fishing, but we all know good friends can certainly expand our horizons and we're lucky for it.