My 3 Favorite Drift Boat Lunches | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

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Here are three of my favorite lunch meals for the drift boat.  Over the years there have been lunches that make people jealous. When I prepare a head out on the drift boat for the day I really try to make it fun and enjoyable. There is something about sitting on a drift boat in the river having a great lunch and enjoying the scenery. Ya I love slamming fish all day and non stop angling but when I’m in the middle of summer and enjoying a good relaxing day these are three of my go-to favorites. 
Like I said, planning a lunch on a drift boat combines the excitement of a river adventure with the enjoyment of delicious food. To ensure a successful and enjoyable meal, consider the following tips and see what I like to take at the end.

What to and How to Pack for Lunch

Don’t Pack Light: Space is limited on a drift boat, but you have way more room than in your pack. So ditch the idea of peanut butter and jelly tortilla wraps.  Splurge and come up with some pre-planned meals that take up space but not too much.

Stability is Key: Choose containers that are sealable and won't easily tip over in the boat’s movement. It’s also ideal to have containers that will collapse after you’ve eaten and can clear up some room.

Simple and Efficient Food Preparation

Pre-Made Meals: Organize by pre-cooking and preparing before your trip. This way food is easy to eat and requires minimal on-boat preparation. Typically you want lunch when you want it with little on boat preparation needed. When I  pull that drift boat over I'm ready to eat and relax.

No-Cook Options: Consider foods that don't require heating or extensive preparation, like cold pasta salads, cheese, and crackers. Or leftover style meals that are great cold. For example, I once had a buddy go on a Redfish trip with me and he brought sandwiches made out of Thanksgiving leftovers. I can’t even begin to describe how good those sandwiches were when we cracked them open out on the delta. 

Choosing the Right Foods

Avoid Messy Foods: Opt for foods that are easy to handle and won't create a mess. A good meal is a meal I can walk away from full and not worry about all kinds of cleanup. Rinse my hands in the water, grab the oars of the drift boat, and start rowing my way into the next hookup.

Healthy Choices: Surprisingly you can eat healthy and still have delicious meals so don’t be afraid to experiment a little.  Often it is a good time to try something new because whatever you eat it always tastes better on the river. 

Be Eco-friendly

Reduce Waste: Use reusable containers and utensils to minimize waste.

Pack it In, Pack it Out: Ensure all trash is collected and removed from the drift boat to protect the waterways. I participate in the Green River cleanup and you wouldn’t believe how much trash is collected every year. I believe most of it is unintentional, however, it happens.  When you have the pack it in, pack it out attitude it’s far more unlikely to happen.

Enjoy the Scenery: Choose a picturesque and calm spot on the river for your lunch break. It’s one thing to stop and have lunch but take just a few minutes to plan ahead and get a good view. There is no reason not to take advantage of all the natural beauty around you.  I also like to look for a spot that might have a riser or too that I can watch and potentially cast to just as we are ready to drop oars and move on.

My Three Favorite Drift Boat Lunches

Sushi: Yes, Sushi. Not just any sushi for me. I typically get store bought sushi which is surprisingly higher quality than you think. I love it because it is pre packaged and you can grab all the to go fixings. When prepackaged like this I find it easy to select a role and go.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve whipped out a container of sushi to see jaws drop in jealousy. The spices and extra salt are extra delicious on a sunny float. 

Rueben Sandwich: Not just any reuben sandwich but a chopped reuben is what I go for.  The problem with a standard reuben is that by the time lunch roles around your sandwich is like a wet turd. The bread is so soggy that the fish won’t even eat it. Instead what I like to do is prepare all the ingredients by chopping them up and putting them into a mixing bowl.  It’s all the standard reuben ingredients so I won’t go through the list. However, by chopping everything into cubes, adding the sauce and mixing I get somewhat of the mixing for a reuben casserole. Instead of putting it onto the bread I bag it in sandwich bags so it is ready to drop onto bread or my favorite a bun with some cheese.  If you are able to find a good rye bun then you are lucky and can slam it on there without hesitation and have a wonderful lunch. 

Tikka Masala Wraps: This one is a favorite of mine for on the drift boat or camping. It is so easy and extra delicious.  I use the store bought cans of Tikka Masala and make a batch at home. Most people love chicken but my favorite is chana (garbanzo beans). While I have the sauce going I cook up a batch of rice and frankly minute rice does just fine. Last I mix the two to the consistency I like and package it in bags so they can be easily spread onto flour soft taco or burrito shells when I’m ready. I prefer the burritos so I can make one and be done on the water. Here is where the decision making comes in. If you like them cold then go ahead and build them and eat them cold. However, for an extra treat you can take a Jet Boil stove or similar and heat up the tikka masala mix and have a nice warm burrito on the water.  

Tip: Want something that is invaluable while you are sitting around having lunch then grab a nice pair of binoculars and dive even deeper into the views.  These Nocs Provision binoculars are great and of course Bushnell has some particularly amazing glass technology in their binoculars.

With lunch you need something to wash it all down with. Beer, soda, and bourbon is a great choice but don’t forget the water. This has become my ultimate favorite water bottle for fly fishing. It’s super lightweight and you can filter on the go with ease. The Grayl series of water bottles. Read the review here.

Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast
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