VinceDeadmond-02Gear you won’t need, a tweed flat cap or a jacket with patch pockets, you won’t be casting delicate Mayflies patterns to rising Trout, you are about 100 years too late. Fly fishing has outgrown these ideas and moved on to gear that can target almost any fish. I have caught over 30 different species of fish in the shallow waters around Puerto Peñasco. Today’s fly rods can easily deliver a fly over sixty feet, for anyone who has mastered the double haul, most of those flies look like baitfish, crabs, and shrimp. One of the more obvious questions is about the inflatable pontoon boats that we fish from.

While they will pack down into a small space for storage, they normally have 8 or 9 foot inflatable bladders on the side of a metal frame. They also make some frameless inflatable boats, but I have not had good luck with those. When assembled and inflated pontoon boats are a comfortable way to access fish in the Sea of Cortez. Get a tide chart and go with the flow.

If you are in the market for a pontoon boat the manufacturers offer a wide variety that is almost overwhelming. You can get an entry level boat for around $200. The problem with most $200 boats is the steel construction, and most manufacturers tell you not to take your steel frame boat into saltwater. You may get a few saltwater trips out of your $200 boat, but expect boat failure somewhere down the line. Our November fly fishing trip had one of our guys breaking the pontoon from his $200 boat. This is not the first time I have heard of $200 boat failure, but it is a little unsettling when you are in the Sea of Cortez. Our friend was able to limp his boat to shore where he walked out, and we towed his broken boat to our take out point.

Things that I look for in a pontoon boat that I would fish at Puerto Peñasco would have the following. Aluminum or stainless frame boats hold together well, and the aluminum are lighter and easier to load and unload. Look for a comfortable seat, (if possible sit in it) there is no deck to get up and walk around. Large waterproof pockets for storing gear, this can be added later to customize your boat. Oars should come with your boat, but many are too short to be effective. I like 7 foot oars, and again that is something that you can add to your boat. Another add on, but a valuable piece of equipment would be a wheel kit so you can roll your boat down to the beach if you can’t drive to the water. You will also want swim fins with booties to match. They come in different sizes and price ranges. Some float, but many are dense and sink if you should kick the flipper off.

I use a lanyard to attach my flipper to my ankle so I won’t lose it. Most of the stainless and aluminum frame boats start at $700-$1000 for a single fisher boat. Two fisher boats are available with price tags starting around $2000 and going more than $4000. My friend Dick Brooks just bought an aluminum frame boat with oars, a good seat, gear bags, and a wheel kit for a little under $500. We fished it for 5 days and it performed well. You can check this boat out online, manufacturers name is Venture Outdoors. Hope you get all of the fly fishing gear on your Christmas wish list, and I get to see you on the water soon. Vince Deadmond “The Fly Fishing Hardware Guy” can be reached at 237 N. Apache Trail Apache Junction, AZ and at (480) 982-7461.