by Rob Peddie of Driftwood Anglers
The NuCanoe Frontier has re-ignited my passion for guiding and float fishing by creating a boat that is ideal for the waters where I grew up. I have always enjoyed sharing my passion for the outdoors and have been guiding anglers for over 20 years with the majority of these years spent out west fishing for trout. But I grew up in Southern Indiana and was born with a strong affinity for the Smallmouth Bass. The Frontier 12 has enabled me to bring the western style of float fishing back home to Indiana.
There are several small rivers in Southern Indiana that hold quality Smallmouth’s but floating anglers down these streams has always been tough. Limited access and flat water make using a drift-boat nearly impossible. Rafts are easier to launch without a ramp but the sharp limestone ledges, occasional rebar, and stick-ups will create an unpleasant situation. Canoes and Jon Boats have been the main boat of choice but both have major disadvantages. Canoes are a pain to fish, literally, and Jon Boats require motors and are too wide to get into the good spots.
I fell for the Frontier the first time I saw a picture of the Bass Angler. I knew it was the perfect boat for my fishing service in South Central Indiana where streams are narrow and boat ramps are few. The seating arrangement caught my eye at first. The seats looked very comfortable plus the front seat was raised up higher than the back seat which appealed to my guide eyes. I imagined front boating my favorite angler, my dad, and figured he would really enjoy the comfort. He loves canoes but sitting in them for hours is no longer an option. The front seat on the Frontier is easier for the angler to get in and out, allows them to see into the water better, and helps keep their flies from finding my skin.
Once I examined the picture I took notice of the shape and nice lines of the Frontier. The sharp bow, wide body, and square stern spoke to me. The low profile was another turn on. I was intrigued and had to know more. Then I learned about the endless options to customize. After further reading I discovered the incredible stability and saw the picture of two guys in the boat. One angler was standing in front casting a fly rod while the other was seated and paddling. Hooked, I immediately wrote an email to NuCanoe and quickly received a reply. After a couple of emails I was impressed with NuCanoe’s quick responses and felt comfortable with their customer service. In less than one day I went from not knowing the Frontier existed to needing one. So I ordered two and in less than three weeks they arrived.
The waters we fish are full of driftwood and fallen timber. The Frontier allows us to paddle in and out of tight spots with confidence and control. Big fish love tight cover and placement of the boat can make all the difference when fishing these areas. We can sneak through narrow slips to set our anglers up on that perfect angle. Float fishing is often a game of inches and the action of the lure is not enough to get that big fish to leave his cover. Your first cast to any target is the most important and the Frontier lets us sneak our anglers to the best possible position to make magic happen on that first cast.
Because of the timber and driftwood our waters are technical to paddle. You can easily get swept into a fallen tree or its branches so we need a boat that responds and maneuvers quickly. The Frontier does just that. Whether using a canoe paddle or a kayak paddle the bow responds very well and is able to be navigated through trouble spots with relative ease. This handling coupled with the excellent stability gives me the confidence to take my anglers into those hard to get to areas.
Speed of the boat is another important factor for float fishing. In most cases the more casts an angler gets at a target the better the odds of hooking up. A fast boat makes the rower work too hard to slow down and a slow boat makes the rower push too hard to keep time. The Frontier excels in this area because it drifts at a manageable pace but will speed up when you push it. This allows us to make up time on the water if we stay in one spot a little too long.
Another place the Frontier excels is underwater. The bottom of the Frontier has tracking channels that will grab the water and hold the boat on its line. These channels along with the small keel really help the boat track true. A boat that tracks well is the most important feature of a boat when guiding. Nothing will wear the paddler out quicker than constantly having to mend the bow of the boat to stay on the right line. Even the angler will get annoyed after a while. The less time and energy spent having to correct the track means more time spent on fishing and anglers. This makes a huge difference as much time as we spend on the water.
The boat is an extension of the guide. A good guide can make any boat work but combine a good guide with a good boat and great things will happen. Anyone can paddle a boat but paddling for anglers requires much more work and precision. Because of its shape and design the Frontier allows us to work water like surgeons. Most people don’t think of a boat to catch you more and bigger fish but the Frontier has done that for us.