How to row a drift boat.

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by fredaevans, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. Hi Fred,

    If he is in the area and wants some one on one rowing lessons, have him give me a call. I have been rowing boats for over 30 yrs on whitewater from Alaska to Costa Rica, class I to V ,Drift boats, rafts, kayaks, sweep boats, jet boats and props. I not only cover how to row, but what you can do to keep from getting in over your head. Safety gear ect. I am based out of Gig Harbor WA.

    Tell him to feel free to give me a call or drop an email.

    My best,
    Capt. T Wolf
  2. Many thanks Captain; but afraid he's down here in Southern Oregon.

  3. Flying lines and shortpole, thank you for the plugs, very much appreciated.

    I have been rowing drift boats since I was about 5 years old, which now makes that over 30 years.

    Have rowed, taught and guided rowing and fly fishing on nearly every difficult piece of water in the western US(Rogue River, Grand Canyon, Gunnison, Green in Utah, Eagle, Arkansas, as well as many of the rivers in Chile and Argentina like the Futaleufu, Mexico and Belize.

    On many of these rivers, we have rowed the gamut, single person to 18ft. pontoon crafts, drift boats of glass/wood/aluminum/PVC by nearly every manufacturer, 10ft to 18ft rafts by Hiside, Avon, Puma, NRS both self bailing and fixed floor.

    Have also been 5 time certified Swiftwater Rescue Technician(SRT) and Whitewater Rescue Technician and a 1 time Level 2 SRT.

    Our class is entirely based on safety and what we think your boat should have on/in it to be as safe as possible, reading types of water, approaches and scouting both from the boat and from shore, boat balance and pointing out elements of being on the water that may not be common sense to new boat owners yet. We also fit you to your boat as none of the manufacturers do an adequate job of this that we have found yet. This is important so that while you are rowing you maximize efficiency but also safely have control of the oars and keep that control so as to avoid sudden potentially dangerous circumstances.

    For those who arrive with good skill levels in the rowing dept. already, we of course move into more advanced rowing techniques for fly fishing such as skulling, recirculating eddies to fish seams, rock hopping and similar elements.

    You can read what we go over on our site a bit more and I am always happy to talk in depth about the class.

    Thanks again guys, happy New Year.

  4. Maybe he can row just fine and would rather fish. It seems to be working. :rofl:
  5. izzat you Tom? You guiding on the Sound still?
  6. dang it, I started feeling a little nervous just reading this thread.
    Fred, you must be a good bud of this guy or a total thrillseeker.
    Oarsmen like that give me the willies, sounds like he freezes up.
    In any case, you're more man than me for riding with him.
  7. First good laugh of the day!

    A 'good bud' yes, a total 'thrill seeker' NO WAY. :hmmm: Actually, since the start of this thread, 'he's' gotten much better ...... but I still don't think I'd want to be 'with him' going through a class 3 or 4 .....:rolleyes:
  8. be carefull. Drift boat accidents happen all the time in calm water if you are not paying attention. It is scary how fast things can go wrong. I dont think I would go with this clown until he is a safe boater. It sucks swimming a river in the summer...try it when it is 30* out. You may never get to tell that story to your kids!
  9. We have had friends in the past that visit from out of town and come out to float the Minam to Troy run of the Ronde with us. When I explain to the newbies how to row, this is what I do. I sit down with them and draw two lines on a piece of paper for the river. I draw some circles in the river for rocks, and then I get something to use for a boat model. I turn the boat to a 45 degree angle and tell them about the concept of ferrying. And that if you row backwards and hold yourself at the 45* angle, the current will move you from one side to the other. Then I show them with the boat model how you can ferry sideways and straighten yourself out to drop between the rocks. Coupled with similar information above about pointing yourself into the troubled spots, and setting yourself up to be able to pull away, most of the newbies do alright on their first time. But some of them still panick.
  10. when I was a much younger, faster and less wise fellow I was a canoeing instructor in my Scout troop. But I was cocky and a bit of a showoff (self esteem, much?:eek:)

    I shot a wingdam on the Delaware at high water which at the time was rated a class V, I think (old system), in a 17' Grumman outfitter canoe with a single-blade. At the top of the 20' haystack on the end of the chute I managed to pirouette and then slide down the back side backwards. I was elated, excited, till later in the day when I saw a canoe just like the one I was in literally wrapped around a rock, wrapped as neatly as a Christmas present.
    I think the most important thing to impress on new watermen is the absolutely inexorable power of moving water, and the inescapable consequence of mistakes or foolishness.

    a good thing to do is take the newb down less difficult water, but show them water characteristics that will be magnified on bigger water. One time I showed a guy about hydraulics on a low-water stream and a little piece of stick- he understood what I was talking about when the mini-suckhole yanked the twig underwater and held it there. I said, visualize you in your boat doing that...and he got it.
  11. Three important lessons for "your friend":
    1. You steer with the ass end. Point the nose at trouble and pull. Its tough to get used to, but after a while it becomes second nature.
    2. Don't over row. If its a decent boat, then one or two pulls on the oars is will usually be enough. Most beginners spend the whole day going back and forth across the river because they over row.
    3. Related to 2 above, learn to get comfortable just barely missing rocks. Most of the time you'll miss them by more than you think. You don't need to be 10 feet off a large rock. 10" is enough.

    Good luck.
  13. This thread brings to mind a friend that I worked with. When I tried to teach him to row on the Yak (ya, in the Canyon, freakin' easy...) there came a point where he needed to avoid a rock and just sorta freaked out at the last second despite my coaching. Turned the boat 90 degrees to that rock at the last second and wacked it hard, I was lucky that I wasn't thrown from the boat as I stood in the front casting brace. As it was, I thought he damn near busted my knee - it hurt for days after that. Why was I in the front casting brace? Um, cuz I didn't think anyone would be that lame on the oars and wanted to catch some damn fish instead of rowing! Fortunately that was a rental before I bought my wood drifter...
  14. Damn, re-reading this thread and I can easily see my buddy telling these stories about me. I grew up canoe paddling in lakes and very slow flow rivers with no real features in them that connected the lakes. The whole point at trouble and gently pull away was foreign to me. He let me flounder and flail a while then started bitching me out. School of hard knocks has made me better, but I'm still a pencil necked poor excuse for a drift boat rower. In time I hope to change that.
  15. Y'all experienced oarsman kindly check out my thread in Watercraft. I'm looking for a progression of river stretches that might help me safely assess my skill level. No big ego involved at all, I have no idea if I'm any good beyond class 2 and just want to push the envelope ever so slightly (progressively) so I can figure out where I really stand without beating my wood drifter to hell. Thanks.
  16. I was about to suggest the Nisqually and then I read the wood drifter part.
    sure you want to assess your skills in that, Jim? or you looking for bigger water, more classic driftboat style water like up North
    even on a toon, the Nisqually will throw you curveballs...kayakers like it....most of the Puget Sound flows do throw the occasional curveball...

    Mumbles buddy, your pencilneck days are close to over...:thumb:

    I'd assess my skills in a rental...:rolleyes: but maybe there's flows North or South of me might suit you better. You tried the upper Green yet?
  17. SpeySpas, great to hear. Just set the bar low! Maybe then I can impress you a very little bit and make the grade.
  18. All be it waaaaay out of most of you folks normal fishing rivers, the best one I've run to train a 'newbie' is the Chetco in SW Oregon. Better yet, its one fun river to fish. From the South Fork down there's a couple of class 2's but all the necessary 'training aids' are all over the 15'ish mile run.
  19. The Chetco is bad ass Fred. Great river!

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