I've never seen a guide do this before...

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by para_adams, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. para_adams

    para_adams Active Member

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    My son and I fished the Big Hole last week with Tom Smith of Backcountry Anglers, Dillon, MT. Tom is an older guide who owns his shop and used to work for Craig Matthews in W. Yellowstone a long time ago. He worked hard like most guides I've floated with over the years. But he did one thing I've never seen before and I was amazed. At the head of a good run Tom climbed out of the NRS raft and grabbed the back of the raft with both hands. I stopped fishing thinking he was going to pull us over to the bank for a break, but he said "what are you waiting for? Start casting to that seam" and proceeded to walk the raft slowly down the middle of the run. The water was nearly waist deep and moving kind of fast since we were going down the middle of the current and casting to the edges of the current seam toward shore. He would kind of hop/step his way down while wet wading with wading boots somehow keeping a sure footing in the fast moving water while holding the back end of the raft with two anglers and a dog in it. After 30-50 yards, he climbed back in, rowed us back up the far side of the run to the head, jumped out and repeated the walk-down. Then he did it again. And he did the same thing a few more times during the day. Who else does this? Is this at all common?

    (if you ever get a chance to float with Tom you'll get a kick out of his trusty crew, a cool dog named "Tip" who calmly sat next to Tom in the boat all day except for a few breaks for forays onto the bank. The only iffy time was when Tip went to shore a few minutes after a huge bull moose had stepped back into the woods from the edge of the river. Great dog Tip!)
     
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  2. Trustfunder

    Trustfunder Active Member

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    IMO it sounds like he's not use to guiding in montana. more like colorado.... where they like to save fuel. If you're talking the Big Hole believe me there is no secret spots from Wise river down and no need to put forth that effort. Rip me a new arse but if a guide did that to me I would be what the %uck especially on that river.
     
  3. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

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    I have done this in Alaska and Kamchatka, and on the Olympic Peninsula, where circumstances warranted it sometimes. It is not that unusual to do this, and it is not that physically strenuous if you don't get into an unmanageable situation. I had a handicapped man in a raft once, on a small steep southwest Alaska river in Katmai Preserve. he had limited ability to turn from side to side to cast. Once I got out of the raft it gave him better back casting ability, without my being in the way in the rowing seat, and I could easily jockey the raft around to give him a better position quickly. he caught more fish, and he caught the fish that he would not have caught otherwise. That was reason enough for me to do it. In other circumstances it has been about managing the boat to give the anglers the best opportunity. And a few times it was about dealing with some hazard or obstruction by lightening up the raft briefly to get passage. Sometimes your oars are not enough. http://olympicpeninsulaflyfishing.blogspot.com
     
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  4. Trustfunder

    Trustfunder Active Member

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    Apples to Oranges Bob, there not hanicapped and have a floatable section of 40- 50 miles with the water we have this year... doesn't make sense to me.
     
  5. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Maybe there was a nice fish residing there and he wanted to give them a shot at it.

    Why are you so negative all the time.
     
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  6. Blackbugger

    Blackbugger Active Member

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    Tom Smith knows what he's doing and that was the mark of a good guide.
    I'm sure he had his reasons for working that run.
     
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  7. MT_Flyfisher

    MT_Flyfisher Active Member

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    I don't think it is that unusual for a good guide to do whatever it takes, within reason, to give you the best shot at catching fish.

    Now the real question is, did his efforts pay off for you?
     
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  8. jeff bandy

    jeff bandy Make my day

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    I've done that and I'm no guide. Easier than fighting the current with your oars. Sounds like a good guide to me.
     
  9. hydrological

    hydrological beads are NOT flies and snagging is just ghetto

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    common practice on the madison and h-fork. actually much easier to stop or slow the boat in shallow fast water this way. more shots at the prime real estate for a caster throwing streamers or dries. also gives non-fishing types time to finally get the boober where it needs to be, then walk the boat down to make the drift, so the rod holder doesnt have to. when nymphing, this mostly takes the angler out of the equation.
     
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  10. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    It was a fairly common practice when I guided if you wanted to give both anglers multiple shots at a good run or pod. It's less effort than hard rowing to hold the boat with the oars. It's quieter than hard rowing so it doesn't put a pod of fish down as much. It's basically like wade fishing but from a higher platform. I didn't typically pull the boat back upstream for a second run though.

    I never had anyone respond like Trustfunder. My clients were grateful for the chance to not have to rush casts and the fact they had multiple shots at the pod. In other situations, many clients would see me rowing my ass off to hold them in a good spot and that's when they'd rush their casts and end up with a tangled mess of leader and tippet. This technique provided them with a much more relaxed setting.

    Trapper
     
  11. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    hydrological and Trapper are correct. I've spent many years of fishing vacations in the YNP area and while the technique surprised me at first, I started noticing guides jumping out and holding the drift boat quite frequently... especially on the Madison.

    That's how they do it.

    Of course in Oregon the rivers where drift boats are commonly used are much too swift and deep to try such a maneuver. To try the technique on a river such as the McKenzie or Willamette would be suicide.
     
  12. Trapper Badovinac

    Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

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    Gene

    I thought it was illegal to fish from a driftboat in Oregon. And yeah, I wouldn't do that on water that was too swift like you point out.

    Trapper
     
  13. Mark Kulikov

    Mark Kulikov Active Member

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    Kicking up debris, chumming the run. ;):D

    Sent from my little square phone thingy...
     
  14. Old406Kid

    Old406Kid Active Member

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    I get the positioning part, but the added benefit of "The San Juan Shuffle" crossed my mind as well.
     
  15. para_adams

    para_adams Active Member

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    We had a very good day with Tom and both caught a handful of browns, rainbows and whitefish even though heavy rains the day and night before caused the river level to rise about a foot in one day which seemed to cause the fish to be a bit "on" and then "off" during the day. It was my first visit to the Big Hole and it was a great experience. And Tom was great to hang out with for the day. The frosting on the cake was seeing four moose, a bull next to the bank, and later a cow with two calves swimming across the river. And being from the W Washington area it was a treat to catch some nice browns for a change...I love our rainbows and cutts but getting some beautiful browns was a great change of pace.