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Old 03-05-2009, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: Drift Boat Forums

Answers to your questions are embedded into each question below.

Can a drift boat be handled and fished from comforably without a second person? I seem to think I see more with two persons in the boat than one. Most of the water I would be in is 3-4 maybe 5 knot current when one generator is being run. Moving but not roaring by any means. It is possible but not very practical. I sometimes do that on the Grey Reef, but by the time you get in a couple good drifts itís time to jump back on the oars to correct the path of the boat. It might be more practical to use the boat to get to a spot and then fish from there with the anchor out.

With a drift boat what is a comforable size. Beam I suppose really plays into it. What is the normal range, a big one is how long and how wide? Compared to a small one which is? I think the normal range is 16 ft to 14 ft. There are some larger ones made but they are for special purposes, like carrying more than three people. Of course the wider boats are going to be more stable, I think the 16 ft drift boats have a beam of around 72 inches.

Rowing..I love to row, always did, (when I was 9 years old) not the same with paddling. Can a drift boat be rowed upstream say in a 4 knot current or is it a real chore? Im not think along the lines of a motor but it could happen. Yes, rowing a drift boat is really fun, it can be addicting. You see guides drift down through a seam and then maneuver the boat over to the side out of the main current and then row back up stream, yes it is work but it allows the clients to fish a seam multiple times before heading down river. Against a 4 know current could probably be done but would be a real chore.

I weight near 200lbs. If I stood up both feet on the handrail (just pretend I could balance that well) will it capsize? Can one stand with a foot on the hand rail and not feel like it was going to flip? I think that will depend on the boat, but I donít really know if you could put 200 lbs on the hand rail or not. I use my boat in both streams and lakes. When Iím fishing a lake with the anchor down, I can comfortably walk all around the boat without the boat tipping.
I can picture myself drifting down the Caney Fork spinning in circles try to cast. Can this be kept under control without a lot of oar work or is it learned to do both, cast and manage the drift. My boat will spin if I donít leave the oars down while Iím drifting and fishing, but again that may depend a lot on the boat. My boat has high sides so the wind will easily catch and try to spin the boat, but I like the high sides as I feel more comfortable in rough water and when I have kids in the boat. Both Clacka and Hyde make a low side boat to minimize the impact of wind on the boat. They also make drift boats that look more like over sized prams, these are really for flat water drifting, but on rivers like the Grey Reef section of the North Platte in WY they work great.

Ive done a little reading about the designs and some pro's and cons of the different design features and picked up a few things but what do you think would be a preferable style considering Id be alone most of the time. More rocker? Less length. I would recommend that you take a serious look at pontoon boats, some pontoon boats have a standing platform and a metal cage to allow leaning against to help you stabilize yourself as you are standing and fishing. If I fished alone most of the time I would have bought a pontoon, I just like to fish with my son, wife or friends. Another advantage a pontoon has is that you can throw them in the back of a pickup so no trailer is needed. Some also have a motor platform on the back so that you can use an electric motor. I see that a lot on the lakes I fish, the pontoon boats will very slowly troll around the lake looking for fish.
I just copied this and it tells me a a few thing ti keep in mind

"# Big boats are for big water and small boats for small water, That is true, high side boats are designed to float down rougher water than low side boats.
# The taller and/or lighter a boat the more it is affected by wind. True.
# The faster the water the more a river boat needs to be efficient when it is in line with the current and when it is sideways to the current. Iím not sure what this means. You row a river boat facing down stream and rowing up stream. When you see an obstacle approaching you turn the boat say 45 degrees and row backwards, once you have some clearance from the obstacle you turn the boat so it is facing downstream. In fast water you want to be facing downstream most of the time, I think that is mostly so that if you happen to hit a submerged rock, you will be hitting the rock with the bow allowing you to spin off the rock. With a drift boat you never want to hit anything along the side of the boat, that is where it is possible to pin the boat against the obstacle. If you canít avoid a collision always hit it with the bow.
# It's best to keep the center of gravity as low as possible." Maybe in real heavy current, but in most drift fishing situations on a drift boat, the boat is very stable with two fisherman standing and the rower sitting maneuvering the boat.

Anything anyone can add sure will help. It would be good to find a guide and get in one to really find out. I totally agree! I had fished with a guide who used a drift boat 10-12 times over the years so I had a pretty good idea on how stable they were and how the guide used the boat, but it still takes some time to really learn to row correctly. In the beginning it is very easy to over row, all beginners will do that. As you gain experience you learn how to row without using excessive energy.

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