Fishing from the rower's seat

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Tracy Lauricella, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Tracy Lauricella

    Tracy Lauricella Active Member

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    What's your preferred method for fishing while on the sticks? I've tried a few different things.

    Fly fishing:
    The two hander isn't really a good option here. I bring it in the boat for when we stop and I can wade, but trying to manage it while rowing isn't an option.

    Single hander: this isn't too bad. I use methods that don't require me to have it in my hands while rowing, so I'll often use an indicator and dropper and let it drift.

    More often than not though, any fly fishing I do is when we stop.

    Gear fishing:
    pulling plugs- this is a bit difficult, but manageable from the rower's seat. I like to use these when I can anchor above good holding water, but trying to keep them from floating up or bottoming out when actively rowing can be a challenge.

    float and jig- this works really well from the rower's seat. I can cast it out and adjust the boat's speed for a drag-free drift. By speeding up or slowing down I can keep the float vertical and put more or less slack in my line.

    side drifting:
    This is ok, but really favors the guy in the boat that's not on the oars. With the fishing rod in the holder, you can't feel what the rig is doing.

    Thoughts? When you're on the oars how do you do your fishing?

    --Tracy
     
  2. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Tracy, when I'm on the oars I'm fishing while anchored or only quickly in stretches where I can stand and not row. Other than that I fish the flies of the persons in front or back with my oars. My girls cast out their rigs and I essentially row to keep them fishing good seams and foam lines.

    Sounds like you already have more options than I've figured out. Fishing with friends that row or shorter floats with more time on the banks works. Fin kicking and controlling my scadden assault keeps my hands free to fish, but I know you are talking about your drift boat.
     
  3. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    Mounting rod holder mounts on the rowing seat really helps with this. most times I will have at least two on the rowing seat and sometimes 4 because we fish anchored alot in the columbia and other big water anchoring with the front and having a motor on the back.

    Side drifting with gear is easy in a drifter but you have to have long enough runs to make it worth while and a lot of river miles. targeting larger rivers might help. using very little weight and just floating with the set-up is fairly easy, just use less and less weight. when gear fishing we used to anchor to the side alot and drift fish. I always hated pulling plugs and taught many people that you can just anchor in the best spot for drift fishing. many of these people went in other peoples drift boats and the person on the oars would just pull plugs. many of these people never wanted to go in a drift boat ever again until I talked them into going with me and never pulled one plug all day and just drift fished every hole! a few of these friends ended up "buying drift boats"

    This is also why I have always had double anchor systems on my drifters. one in front and one in back because you may have to anchor in a swirl to drift the seam and if you don't have a front anchor you will do circles! I also always ran a heavy 35 pound to 45 pound back anchor with larger diameter rope so I could drop anchor at the top of runs in fast water and fish the run all the way through. a lighter anchor wont let you do this and you miss alot of the best holding water at the head of the runs. you need the bigger rope diameter for pulling the damn thing all day but it's worth the work.

    I used to float the river alot for springers gear fishing by myself and just stick the rod butt under the foot bar when pulling diver and bait back in the day when this was not a un- ethical method for fishing salmon. you can do anything you want in a drifter! if you have good fisherman with you I would suggest more drift fishing with gear and it would seem indicator and nymphs side drifting with rod holders on the rowers seat would be a a very good tactic for larger rivers.

    To add to this I would suggest shorter oars. I have rowed a lot of boats and many people buy to long of oars, they are a lot harder to move around and get out of the way. in a 16 fter I usually bought 8 1/2 ft oars when most people would run 9 or 9 1/2 fters! the shorter oars might row a little high but I do not like oars low by my legs. you can maneuver much faster with shorter oars. you can also put them under you knees or thighs much easier when side drifting. longer oars are for pulling plugs on big easy rivers with long runs where you don't have to dig very hard and just feather row all day. these are a bitch in tight rivers, low oars give you no room to really move them when needed in white water. I always went by the thought that I would rather have a drifter set-up for the rough stuff then the normal lower river boat ride. wider drifters like guide model 16 fters the factory will set you up with 9 1/2 fters when I would use 9 fters. and yes to me 1/2 ft makes a "big" difference! if you can test some lengths and you might find the shorter length really helps when getting them under your legs for using your hands for fishing while on the sticks! let alone the added speed and lifting blades over rocks and keeping them out of curls in white water.
     
  4. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    One year, the only searun cutt that died on the end of my line was one that deeply inhaled my Reversed Spider as i was rowing myself slowly into a deep, slow hole under some low Spruce branches just below the head of tidewater on a local tidal creek. I wasn't using an indicator, but just watching the tip of my line. By the time I noticed my line moving slightly, dropped my oars and grabbed my rod, I was able to set my hook firmly, as it turned out, into the gills of this fish.

    It was bleeding profusely when I got it in. Really badly. Lucky for me it was a 15"er, and I so I got to take it home!

    I wondered if this was a result of the technique I was using: Slowly backdrifting with slightly slacked line, and hands on the oars....makes ya a little slow at setting the hook, and the slacked line allows the fish to inhale the fly too deeply. A tighter line and hands on control might have prevented this. Of course, I did a great job frying up the cutt...it was tasty!

    I try to avoid this, now.
     
  5. Peyton00

    Peyton00 Active Member

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    I only throw flies when there is ample time/ long stretches of water, i have had too many headaches trying to throw and then oar while fishing on short runs/ corners.

    I have a rod holder on each side of the oar seat, so plugs and float fishing are easier.

    If side drifting while using the motor on bigger rivers, i like to hold on to the rod while running the motor.
     
  6. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    I don't multi-task particularly well. I either drive the boat or fish, but not both at the same time.

    Sg
     
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  7. skyrise

    skyrise Active Member

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    as Mark said to row and have line out you need a longer run to fish. otherwise you will be snagging too much, even with a fly rod. good suggestion on the smaller weight lure when rowing and fishing. often times you can out pace the drift with the boat. more often (ns rivers) your junk will be way ahead of you, so then it gets back to "can you float the run" without running out of room? side drifting and rowing in my neck of the woods is looking for trouble. too many runs that shallow out way too fast. thats a sled game (boondoggling).
    pulling plugs is all about paying attention to the run of the plug and type of water. i like spoons better myself.
    do you guys try a floater, light sink tip and try back trolling that instead of a plug ?
     
  8. Tracy Lauricella

    Tracy Lauricella Active Member

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    I have rod holders on both sides of my rowing seat, just a little bit in front of my oars. I've got both a fly rod holder and a spinning rod holder that I'll slot in, depending on what I'm using.

    I tend to think of my fishing techniques as broken down into four categories:

    1) on the move from spot to spot
    2) drifting down a run
    3) holding above a run or hole
    4) from the shore after beaching the boat.

    Of these, #1 is the one I have the most trouble with while rowing, as it covers a wider variety of conditions. I know some folks just reel in and move to the next hole quickly, but I always feel like I'm going to miss out on a fish that way. :) As noted, a float and jig seems to be easiest, and an indicator & nymph or egg pattern is just about the same approach. I haven't tried spoons this way, might be worth considering.Thanks for that suggestion.

    For #2, most of the time, I'm fishing by proxy; making sure that my passenger has a good spot and I'm keeping their line in the right place. I will sometimes drift a float or indicator setup, but it can be rather frustrating, as maintaining position usually requires close attention on the oars, which means my line and float will sometimes get hung up or ends up just being pulled tight downstream.

    With #3, I'll backtroll or pull plugs sometimes,but I prefer anchoring up when I can, so I can have my hands on the rod. That lets me feel what's happening on the other end of the line, and also lets me let my drift rig, float, or indicator set up move down the run several times.

    #4 is of course the only way I can swing a fly using the spey rod, so I try and look for good shore spots that are boat accessible only to minimize crowds.
     
  9. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Have you pulled plugs long? Not a slam, but that's the easiest way to "fish" from the rowers seat, if you have plug water in front of you. You need the correct rod to work it first off. But your rod tip will tell you everything that plug is doing. Plus, you can keep one by the rowers seat in it's own rod holder. And, if you want to keep watching ahead, just listen for the "clack" of the rod holder if you have a fish on. :) But pulling plugs/jetdivers is the rowers biggest advantage in a driftboat. But you should be rowing to do it properly. Anchoring does work, but slight adjustments and a slow stroke of the oars will bring a ton more success.

    My secondary has almost always been the float and jig/bait/lure. Same thing, put it out there and put rod into rod holder and try to row and keep my eye on it. I will do same thing with a flyrod, but instead of swinging, I run a nymph rig.
     
  10. Tracy Lauricella

    Tracy Lauricella Active Member

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    This was pretty much how I felt trying to fish today:

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    LOL. I use old glass drift rods as my plug rods. They telegraph everything. Plus takes a beating when you get a takedown.
     
  12. Tracy Lauricella

    Tracy Lauricella Active Member

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    The main issues I had today were mostly around being unfamiliar with that particular drift. The lower drift I've done enough times that I know where the holes, riffles and runs are. Not so with the top drift. Plus, it was crowded; just about every good spot had either a boat parked in it, or a bank angler casting to it. The few times I found a spot to anchor or hold water over a good spot, someone would come right up on me in their boat. (I had one group in a jet boat come flying by me, then they drifted back down past me so close I could have touched their boat with my fishing rod.) Makes it hard to concentrate on getting the rig at the right depth, let alone what it does to the fish when a jet boat goes right through the area.

    I fished a nymph under a thingamabobber much of the time, but being unfamiliar with the drift, I was often fishing it in areas where a different setup would have been a better approach. I'm afraid I let my frustration with the crowds bother me too much and I didn't fish particularly well, often moving down and skipping a run, letting myself be "pushed" out by an approaching boat.
     
  13. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Sounds like some tough conditions for trying to learn a piece of water Tracy. Combat fishing at its finest. If the sleds are drifting by that close to you, I think a gear change is in order. A stiff jig rod baited with a 4/0 lead-wound treble is perfect for hooking the driver in the other boat. Yer not gonna' catch any steelhead anyway, so might as well see if you can teach someone some boat driving ettequite.

    Not sure what else to say. If that's SOP for that stretch of river, maybe it's time to find another place.

    Sg
     
  14. skyrise

    skyrise Active Member

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    have seen that bad behavior most often with the sled crowd. they got the power and speed so why not use it. sucks. one thing some guys do on the sky/snohomish in the fall is anchor and plunk plugs (my words). it is effective with dead beat silvers some times.
    feel your pain on the rude boaters and dealing with too many folks when trying to learn a spot.
    the cowlitz is real bad for that.
     
  15. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Plunking plugs (if I'm reading your words right) is actually an old method. Works great, especially if you're fishing from shore with plugs.

    Onto sleds. You can't judge them by their speed. If you've never run one, you wouldn't understand. They don't have power unless they are under almost FULL power. If it's not up on plane, it's not running safely or efficiently. The getting close is one thing, but unless I knew where the slot was, they may have only had a small margin of room to run upstream (and no, having a wide area doesn't mean the boat has the full run to make the proper depth to make it around and upstream). I destroyed an impellor once because I opted to do a safety stop instead of almost clipping a drift boat anchored in the channel on a blind corner at low tide on the Chehalis. Not saying that's what happened with Tracy, there are asses out there who run jets. But you'll find asses that run drift boats too.

    If it's a heavy jet area, I really try to avoid it if I'm in a driftboat. Just hard to make them mix. Especially when you get that ass who knows they can just keep lowholing you, then run back upstream once they've destroyed the holes for you.
     
  16. Tracy Lauricella

    Tracy Lauricella Active Member

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    I understand a jet boat having to get up on plane, and on some stretches of river, there's not a lot of options for them to take. It's a bit annoying, but nothing I fault them for. What really bugs me are these few scenarios that I've seen played out a few times:

    1) Jet boaters that pay no attention to anglers standing in the water and repeatedly run through the same spot. Now it's reasonable to expect shore fisherman to reel in once to let the boat pass by. But the boat should move through the area and leave. Many times I've seen a jet boat go shooting through, then drift back down fishing the water right in front of an angler that's standing in waist deep water, then shoot back up again, repeating this several times in a row. Each time the shore angler has to reel in and wait for the boat to drift by on the downstream drift, and wade back to shallower water to avoid high waves on the upstream run. Going up once is understandable. Repeatedly fishing the spot that someone else is already fishing isn't.

    2) Any watercraft that anchors up right where a bank angler is fishing. If they were there first, move on. Most of the time there's more access available to a boater than the guy that has to hike in, and by dropping anchor right where they are fishing, the boater is pretty much just shoving them aside.

    3) Any watercraft that pulls up close to a holding or anchored boat and fishes their way through really slowly. Moving downstream is understandable, but move through. Don't cast out and fish as you drift really slowly within 10-15' of another boat that's fishing that spot.

    Of course bank anglers have some courtesy to follow too. If a boat is moving downstream or upstream and clearly trying to give you room, don't cast right in front of them. Wait a moment on the next swing or drift.


    I had a flyline chopped in half once on the Nisqually. A motorboat had drifted down, and I waited for them to pass before I cast out my line. They were a little way below me, and I was about knee-deep fishing off a sandbar (that we had gotten to via a jet boat ourselves). My line was in the middle of the swing when they gunned their engine and started shooting back upstream. I reeled in as fast as I could while backing up, but they still cut about 10' off my fly line as their prop went over it.
     

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