Fly Fishing Inflatable Boat Extraordinaire
The best fishing raft available anywhere is
a Water Strider
Fly Fishing from a Water Strider
Inflatable Raft Kickboat - Here's How
By Dave Inks
engineered to be
the best fly
in the world.
Based on my
fishing from all
kinds of boats
for over 40
years in every
corner of the
trout and salmon
can be found, I
think the Water
is better for
fly fishing and
other methods of
fishing that any
pontoon boat or
drift boat. Many years of
trial and error have gone into the
design to finally get the ultimate fly
fishing inflatable boat. You found
I happen to prefer fly fishing over all
other methods of catching fish, but a
Water Strider raft kickboat works just
as well for ANY kind of fishing.
I also prefer river fly fishing but the
Water Strider is a great inflatable
fishing boat for any water, whether a
favorite stream, pond or lake.
Any kind of fishing is better than no
fishing, and my Water Strider works
great. If you like to troll,
get yourself a Water Strider
motor mount, put
your trolling motor on the stern and you
can troll just like the big boats.
You don't need a trailer and you don't
need a 400 horse power truck. It
will all fit in the trunk of even the
smallest compact car. More about
Here is why I say the Water Strider is
the best fly fishing inflatable boat
First, you can fly fish and reach
spots no other angler can reach.
The more you float, fly fish from your
kickboat and learn the water where you
fish the better you will do. I
live on the Bitterroot River in Montana
and some days there are a lot of
professional guides with clients
floating in big rafts or drift boats on
the river. They have to keep
moving with the current and cannot
easily stop without tying up,
pulling out or making a big ruckus
trying to hold their position in the
current. I just pull over and let
them go on by and then I fish the water
they can’t cover due to the size of
their raft or drift boat, how much water
they draw and how high they sit, like on
a pontoon boat.
My low profile design with the open
floor allows you to stand in shallow
water or sit below the fish's window of
vision. You can actually get
amazingly close to a feeding fish in a
kickboat without spooking him.
I always try to cast the line a little
sideways across the current so the fish
never sees my line and I can usually
always make a down stream cast and have
a fly first presentation with no line
drag. Floating along with the
current and using your kickboat fins
while keeping your hands totally
involved in controlling your rod and
line, you can have very long
downstream drifts that are drag free
and will produce better and larger fish
If you are in faster water than your
line, you can use your fins to slow
your inflatable fly fishing boat and
keep pace with your line. The
fins have cleated
soles which allows
you to stop any place and to control the
Water Strider while you fish. It
is like driving and steering a car
except you use your feet with the fins
to steer, back peddle and reverse drag
you fins on the bottom to slow down you
You can cast under low hanging willows
and alders or around snags or sweepers
because your butt is always right at
water level. You are not sitting
or standing high above the water the way
you do on a pontoon boat or in a big
raft of drift boat. Because you
are low, you don't have to work so
hard at making long casts that put
wind knots in your tippet or are off the
mark or spook the fish. You can
sneak in close and cast your fly to
exactly the right spot.
I like to fish the foamy pools on the
river that have a nice reverse current.
In your Water Strider inflatable fly
fishing boat, you can just float around
and around as long as the hatch is on.
You can also sit in the eye of the pool
and hold there with a little practice
and just spin in a slow circle casting
to the fish as they circle you while
feeding. My special kickboat fins
allow you to do this with ease.
I have designed
allow me to fish any place I want to and
to catch more fish.
You can fin the Water Strider very
easily so you can direct yourself into
position to feeding fish or prime
holding water with just a few quick
flicks of the fins. When you float
past a feeding fish and want to go back
it is easy to just put your feet up on
the foot strap, row over to the slow
water on the inside curve of the river
and row back up stream. If the
water is too fast, four simple flicks of
the fin straps get you out of the fins,
takes about 5 seconds, and you can walk
back up stream on the gravel bar.
Just pick up the boat, put it on your
shoulder and walk with it.
The Water Strider
weighs only 17 pounds.
The more water you cover the better
chance you have to catch fish.
Wading fly fishing anglers have to stand
in one spot and make several casts over
the same water and often just put the
fish down. When you float and
fish, each cast can be over fresh new
holding spots and you will quickly
learn this is the best practice.
You don’t have to fight the brush and
trees with you back cast, either.
Dave Inks fly fishing from his Water
on the Lochsa River in Idaho.
in the bow of your inflatable fly
fishing boat can also be used as a seat
so you can even have a lower profile to
the fish. You sit on the foot
strap facing the rear and quartering the
bank. I like to do this in
water where it is shallow enough to
stand up. At any time you can also
stand up and wade. The Water
Strider will float free around you with
no pressure. You can still reach
the oars and row if need be.
is designed to hold your line up and
clear of the water. When you
are wade fishing just let the boat turn
to its natural floating position and
then put the apron in place and you can
have the line clear at all times.
The striping apron is designed to break
free on one side and allow you to get
back on the seat to sit down again.
When you are wading and fishing and need
to sit down turn the boat around and
sit. This is much easier than
trying to turn yourself around.
bolt action rod holder
is my design and really helps when
you hook large fish like salmon,
steelhead and striped bass.
You set your drag, get you line back on
the reel so you are playing the fish
from your drag and insert your rod butt
into the holder. Always keep your
tip pointed at the fish and row
backwards toward shore or to where you
can stand up, fight and land the fish.
If you want to see how the Water Strider
handles and get some pointers on setting
up, packing up and using the best fly
fishing inflatable boat on the market,
get one of our
Rafting Adventure DVD's.
Now you can take your fly fishing boat
The maiden voyage was great. No steelies,
but the boat performed just perfectly. I
caught on pretty quickly, to my pleasant
surprise. You can get around to just
about anywhere you want. The boat moves
pretty quickly. The ability to stand up
eliminates the problem of very shallow
riffles, which are common in the low
flow section of the Feather.
few drift boats went by, they looked
like motor homes with about the same
I did a mini-trip
whereby I floated 2 miles of river,
packed it all up, and hiked back to my
car along the levee. Made the kitchen
sink mistake, but after humping it all
the way back you can bet that won't
The Water Strider
isn't the best thing since toilet paper,
it's better! There are alternatives to
the toilet paper but not to this boat.
It's the one!
I'm coming to realize this boat opens up
a whole new world, even on long-familiar
waters. It basically doubles or even
triples your fishing area. The other day
when I went out, I'd beach at the top of
a riffle, bank fish that side, then row
up and across and repeat for the other
side. Then row up into the center and
fish the middle seams and buckets on
the drift down. Fished places I'd only
looked at for 30 years!
As you can tell I'm very enthusiastic.
Dutch Flat, CA
I don’t go any place with out my Water
Strider Raft, the most compact fly
fishing boat anywhere. It is
ALWAYS in the trunk of my little compact
car along with my vest, waders and a
couple of fly rods. This compact
inflatable fly fishing boat takes up so
little space there is no good reason not
to keep it in the trunk. I keep
the two piece oars and a pump in the bag
with the boat. I can be on the
water in less than 10 minutes anywhere,
The Water Strider and all the rafting
gear you need will check as regular
baggage on any airline I have ever flown
on. It's lighter than a bag of
golf clubs and more compact, too.
Try this with a pontoon boat or drift
boat. And, here is another
Fly fishing from a bicycle? Well,
yeah, sorta, sure, why not? Works
Try this with a pontoon boat
or drift boat.
I put my mountain bike (yes, older guys
still know how to ride a bicycle) on the
back of my compact car and put my Water
Strider in the trunk or the back seat.
When I get to the river and get my boat
set up, I break the bicycle down by
taking off the wheels and stow it behind
the backrest on my Water Strider air
ride seat. A couple of bungee
cords will hold it in using the handy
D-rings that are there on the back of
the boat for tying down your gear.
Down the river I go, fly rod, bicycle
and all. When I am ready to take
out, I pack up my Water Strider in the
backpack dry bag, put it on my back
using the comfortable shoulder straps
just like a nap sack, put the wheels
back on the bicycle, climb on and ride
the bicycle back to the car. I don't
need a fishing buddy to set up a ferry
back to the put in point. And, I
don’t have to float to the official take
out like the big boats. If
there is too much fishing pressure on my
part of the river, I can easily pull
out, pack up, ride my bicycle down the
road a few miles and get back in again
and stay ahead of or get behind all of
the river traffic.
Whitewater is a kick in a Kickboat!
Water Strider is no toy.
You can read
about the construction details here.
I have managed Class III water all over
the world in my inflatable fishing boat.
Water Strider is built to the highest
standards of any raft in the world.
It is an expedition capable
inflatable boat and I have made week
long wilderness float trips all over the
world without a hitch.
Personally, I am old enough and smart
enough and have had enough thrills in my
life that I don't need to do Class IV
water myself, but I have watched
experienced paddlers take their Water
Striders down some pretty exciting
water. If you are capable and
whitewater skilled, Water Strider is,
When I get to a Class IV rapid, I
get out, pick up my boat, walk down
below the fast water and put back in.
The boat only weighs 17 pounds.
Try that with your drift boat or pontoon
boat! Won't happen.
New Zealand White Water Rafting Photos
Rangitikei River January 2006
Let's go fishing.
I can talk about fishing forever, there
is nothing I love to do more, but I
still haven't figured out how to talk
those slippery sly salmonids out on the
bank. As Emeril says (well, it's
not exactly what he says but it is what
he means) you need to kickboat it
up a notch with a Water Strider.
There is no better way to go fishing.
If you still need proof, sign up for one
float fishing instruction
courses. You can try out a
Water Strider before you buy one.
If there are fish to be caught, we will
catch some and you can see for yourself
why I say Water Strider is the best.
I wish you tight lines, dry waders and
big fish. Cheers!
Thanks for taking the time over the weekend
to show and sell me a WS.
My boat had her maiden voyage on the
Beaverhead yesterday, from High Bridge to
Henneberry. It was awesome. I have a lot to
learn in terms of keeping my arms, legs, the
rod, the fly and the boat all going in the
same direction, But from the start I was
able to fish more water, and for more
drifts, than I have been able to do before.
It's better than a pontoon boat (even
without using the fins, although I did use
them), because when I got to a spot I wanted
to fish and then wade, I could just stand
up. I am a pretty aggressive wader generally
and the WS both extends my range and
increases the safety. I don't have to worry
about how am going to back upstream on a
downstream wade or back to the bank from a
tough wade to reach a middle river or
opposite bank pocket. All I had to do was
sit down and float, and then stand up again
at the bottom of the run, or just continue
on through. As a wading assist machine
alone, the WS is worth the price.
The water was not deep (the Beav' was
running at about 120 cfs), so it would have
been wadeable without the WS. But I was able
to cover much more water and get to many
more spots in a shorter period of time. It
was a seamless combination of floating,
wading and fishing that kept me in fishy
water more or less constantly. I was
nymphing most of the time, and I think I
more than doubled the amount of time I was
drifting my bug in good water compared to
what I would have done in a pontoon boat or
pram. Also, because of the ease of stopping
and starting, I could stop and throw a few
extra casts in spots where I would have had
one or maybe two shots only as a passenger
with someone else on the oars, even with a
good guide willing to work the oars.
I am looking forward to developing my
technique to fully utilize the WS,
particularly fishing on the run. What I had
in mind in particular in buying a WS was
being able to fish while floating, with the
kick boat aspect of the system giving me the
ability to control the craft to hit the
banks with streamers and to cast nymphs and
dries to otherwise unreachable pools and
pockets. But now I can see that in addition
to allowing me to fish spots solo that
otherwise would require a trip with someone
else on the oars, the WS will allow me to
expand the range and intensity of my wade
fishing -- all with the safety of having a
"life vest" I can sit back into when the
water gets a little to deep or the current a
little to fast and I otherwise would be
going for a swim.