How to row a drift boat.

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

  1. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

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    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.
    Bhhhhhhrrrrrr.
    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.
     
  2. seattleangler

    seattleangler Member

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    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.
     
  3. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    DEAD ON BRO., DEAD ON.
     
  4. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    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...
     
  5. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  6. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    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.
     
  7. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

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    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?
     
  8. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    SpeySpas, great to hear. Just set the bar low! Maybe then I can impress you a very little bit and make the grade.
     
  9. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    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.
     
  10. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

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    The Chetco is bad ass Fred. Great river!
     
  11. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    The upper green is *really* close by - I'm in Maple Valley near Lake Sawyer. I think I'll do a little research on the launches/takeouts and consider one of these stretches when the water levels are conducive. I've fished and walked a fair amount of the upper river and am quite aware that I won't want to take my wood drifter too far up river, I really like to live. My herniated disc (L5/S1) is damn near healed up from the last reinjury and I've been itchin' to get behind the oars more and more lately.
     
  12. Ray

    Ray Active Member

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    Some quick tips passed down from a class V boater.

    1. Hug the inside of a blind curve/bend in the river. It takes 3 strokes to get from inside to outside, but 20 strokes to get from the outside to the inside.

    2. Use micro strokes to correct your angles and line.

    3. Setup is key. You can't be too early in your setup for a rapid.
     
  13. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    All sounds right on to me. I think that I'm basically at the point where the only major concerns would be a large succession of moves when dealing with tricky sets of rocks. And, I know that is really the points where ya need to stop and scope it out first anyway so... I get it. I just need to get strong behind the oars again when my back is fully ready for the job and go fish some stuff.

    Thanks for all the opinions guys! :beer2: