Oars, Whoever Would Have Thought?

Ard

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Kind of got sidetracked, this post is really about oars but you may find the other stuff interesting, I do get to oars :)

I've been running the same boat for over a decade now after upgrading to the ATEC Sockeye 1860. Back in 2012 I put a new Honda 90 hp jet on the transom and that called for additional modifications.

The one mod that really acted as a gamechanger was the addition of a pair of custom built float pods welded to the rear of the hull.



The motor weighs 370 pounds and you can see that the driver seat and console are near the rear also. This created a problem. When you stopped that boat the rear sank deep due to the load. This meant trouble when you tried to get underway again because the jet will suck up gravel or mud if the intake is on or within inches of the bottom. Getting a boat like that up on step results in the stern end wanting to plunge even deeper that it already is when static so I had some difficulties reaching places I was accustomed to going and then parking the boat.

Those pods keep the foot of the motor way high and I can jump up from a dead stop in about a foot of water and do so in a very short distance, that's huge!

When that motor went on I had a riser made as well as a set of struts to strengthen the transom because the torque produced when that 90 snaps the boat from dead stop to 30 mph in short order is immense.



The struts are the round aluminum tubes that angle down from transom to floor and attach to the transom near the angular riser you can see welded atop the original transom. A solid rig, other upgrades were things like a fresh finish of the interion and addition of that little windscreen.



Many years as a motorcyclist aided in coming up with proper seat height and the 26* angle and height of the deflector. That thing combined with the pods save me one gallon of fuel on the long haul trips to the cabin. The pods create a longer hull allowing better balance as I trim the jet output for perfect plaining on the surface. The windscreen adds an aerodynamic that was lacking because of the air flow striking my upper body. I also gained one mph on my top end with the additions.

Here's another little mod that really made a difference.



That little foil of UHMP extends the flow of water that is compressed by the short and shallow tunnel that is on the hull bottom just ahead of the intake. That tunnel is what makes it possible to run through areas less than 3" deep when the chips are down. The plastic extension gives the foot maximum intake capability regardless of depth of water but excels when things get shallow.

This wasn't about those things when I started the post...… I just thought they may be of interest if you have a jet boat of your own. This is about oars!

I've been running all these years with a couple halfassed paddles stowed in the back of the boat. Every fall when I'm focused on trout / steelhead fishing I want to be able to motor about 16 miles upriver then drift down hours later to sneak into the best areas I selected as I drove up. Paddles don't cut it so I finally cracked and bought oars.

I first came home with a pair of those blue Carlisle oars that are sectional like I had with my big Cattaraft and then the blue got to me! They were expensive because I needed the whole setup locks and all but that blue?

I try not to be vain but you gotta maintain your Zoot Factor even at my age and my little tricked up jet sled has some Zoot. The blue oars weren't gonna make the cut. I made another trip to Anchorage to Alaska Raft & Kayak to swap them and some more cash for black carbon fiber oars. Now that's zoot factor right there, no sense looking like I use the cheap stuff on something as important as my secondary transportation mode here is there?

Behold what around $800.00 will get you and be advised I could have dropped over a thousand on the top of the line counterbalanced carbon oars. I had no idea how expensive oars could be!



I need 4 more 3/8" stove bolts and cap nuts but the hardware store is closed today. Even the hardware to mount the blocks was expensive because they aren't big box store types. I tried to cheap out with a single mount bolt but it's obvious that the stress of back watering a boat this size & weight will loosen a single with haste.....



I'll be first to admit that the single bolt looks pretty lame :eek:

I wasn't brand shopping because this isn't a drift boat but it appears I have Sawyer carbon shaft oars with the low water blades. I am more at ease with the black shafts and once I was into nearly $690.00 for the blue I just threw in the towel and said better get what will make you happy. And of course raise my zoot factor when all the guys with the blue oars look at the rig parked at a boat launch :D

Oh yeah, the first picture on the thread? That 30 gallon and ugly gas drum is my long range tank. It don't look cool but it's a 150 mile round trip to the cabin so you better have more gas than zoot. When I'm home fishing local I have my 15 gallon color coordinated tank strapped in.....



Always the fashion conscious fisherman here but in reality all these things make perfect sense to me here. Hopefully this gave you something to read in the Alaska forum threads today.

Oh, here's a chum...


I've been catching a bunch of them, they go around 9 to 12 pounds unless you get involved with a big one and that can be a little more weight. The trout have been steady but not large...



I really should get a smaller net, that one made his move soon as I touched the fish and escaped quickly. Basically I have not passed 14" all season but know they are here in much larger models.

If you really like this Alaska stuff then go to my profile page and get on the blog tab. You'll need to figure out navigation through the pages depending on what device you use for access but there are over 100 articles there. Many about fishing techniques, some are photo displays and others just opinion and ramblings about the fishing etc.
 
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Ard

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Hardware store opened at 10:00 AM so I got additional stove bolts and cap nuts, added some fender washers to the mix and I'm off to do some measuring & drilling. Just the stove bolts, cap nuts (don't want any rough edges) along with the washers ran the cost up another 20 bucks, this is becoming a premium cost project :shocked:

Final photos forthcoming...........



Now they look serious, I'm going to drag out the pressure washer and spit shine that ride then head to the boat launch yet tonight. Taking a freestanding tent to throw up upriver so I can arrive around 10:30 PM and sleep there, that way I just may catch a few silvers at the crack of dawn. Of course before I depart the launch I'll just hang around to see if anyone notices the oars :D

You know I'm kidden right?
 
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ia_trouter

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Oars are for people with inferior marine mechanical skills. :D

OK, that comment may not fly around here lol. I know oaring skills are important to the drift boat guys. I'm going to guess serious white water canoers and yakers have to lock up their oars when unattended. And I am trying to imagine how much fun it would be to paddle your barge very far. You have the wingspan to get it done I guess. I'd have to run back and forth to get in a stroke. :)
 

tcorfey

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The best thing about oars is if you run out of fuel, just eat something and you can get going again. No need to hit the gas station or fuel dock. Albeit it is much slower and harder to go upriver but...
 

ia_trouter

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The best thing about oars is if you run out of fuel, just eat something and you can get going again. No need to hit the gas station or fuel dock. Albeit it is much slower and harder to go upriver but...
I never even considered that Todd. As long as the chums keep biting there is some small chance Ard could paddle on up to the cabin before the river freezes over. I think I'd rather wait for a helicopter. Nancy will surely miss him eventually. :)
 

mcnerney

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Ard

I feel your pain, but in the long run you will see the advantages of the upgraded oars. When I bought my new Clacka Eddy in 2017, I opted for the upgraded Sawyer wood oars with the carbon fiber and I think it was a $500 upgrade from the standard oars, but having used them I don't regret it one bit. Those new oars are just awesome.
 

Ard

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If I understood the guy at the shop, the shafts are carbon tube and the handle plug is hickory or ash, could be oak, I didn't look real close.

Tim & Dewayne, the oars are for when I want to motor up then do a controlled drift for several miles down in order to sneak in on the trout / steelhead in the river. They will also be the only way I can get through the weed growth at the south end of Hewitt Lake. I'll run the motor all the way up then sit on the dry storage box at the bow (counter balance) then pull the hull through until I'm over deep clear water.

The weeds have gotten real bad this year rendering the jet nearly useless. You give it full bore until the intake clogs then do what I described.

I've need to do this for a long time and am very fortunate that every problem I ever had I was able to fix and get back under power within a couple hours.

Leaving to fish at 4:00 AM. it took a long time to spit shine the boat :)
 

ia_trouter

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I figured it had something to do with drifting some particular steelie and trout runs you had in mind. And wow your entrance to Hewitt must be really bad. I figured you guys had a path cut through it with your boats by now. Guess there's not enough traffic for that.
 

Ard

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Two days in a row now (no pun intended) I've been driving upriver and then using the oars as I drift down. These are 10 foot graphite oars with some long blades on them and they will move my jet boat really well. Last night I had Nancy with me and she was using a spinning rod so I did the drift boat thing and things worked out great.

This is great for drifting through runs and actually being able to take stock of how many of what species are holding in each run. I'm enjoying being an oars owner :)
 

Ard

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Updating this one,

After we got some rain I was able to test out the 'drift boat approach' and can't imagine why I didn't do this years ago! When I sit on the dry storage bin at the bow of the boat my weight acts as a counter balance to that heavy Honda outboard. This has the boat floating almost perfectly level in the water and it appears to draft at about 4" :)

So much easier to come downriver without any wake or noise and slip into the tops of the runs those steelhead and trout inhabit by fall. For the first time ever I had a guy able to fish a streamer while we drifted from run to run and he caught some trout as we passed through.

It probably sounds silly but I've been parking and walking for years. Sometimes I fish so far downstream from the boat I lose sight of it. The result is being really tired at days end. This fall I never went farther than a couple hundred yards then just went back and drifted down with great control.

Love the oars.
 

desmobob

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I was in Scotland, rowing a small boat on a loch on a windy day when I dropped an oar into the water and the wind blew me out of reach of it. I looked around and saw another rowboat plying the loch, occupied by a rower and a couple of ladies, and with a spare pair of oars poking up out of the gunwales.

I yelled, "Hey man, can you loan me one of those oars?"

The rower yelled back, "That's my mother and sister, you rotten ba**ard!"

Sorry... I don't get the opportunity to tell that one very often.
 

photoguy

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Nice looking boat Ard.

I've been around boats all my life and have only encountered a few with jet drives in the ocean though you tend to see some of them on lakes. This is the first outboard jet-drive I've seen and it makes perfect sense when I think about the potential disadvantages of a prop on a river. How's the 'reverse'- is there any?
 

Ard

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Reverse is good with them provided you have some depth. In order to get the highest thrust level you must have the foot of the motor trimmed all the way down. I use it very little actually because of that fact.

I almost sprang for a new Extreme Shallow inboard a couple years ago but some research regarding the impeller system changed my mind. They have a 200 hp Mercury V6 in them and do many things well and they have a roof which would be great on the long trips. The outboard allows me to work on both the motor head if needed and to service or repair the drive unit when needed. Because of that I stay with the open hull outboard and beside that this one has no monthly payments, an Extreme starts around $50,000.00
 

Bigfly

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Ard, nice oars....especially the low water blades. That was my choice too.
Did you kick down for the same oar as a spare!
That's what hurt me, buy an expensive extra, to just carry around.
But if you ever break one, it's nice to have two oars to row.
I have practiced rowing one blade though just to get ready in case.
Let's not do that............!

Jim
 

Ard

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Hi Jim,

No two of them seemed plenty and the thought didn't cross my mind. They don't see a high amount of use. I have been using them mostly for sneaking down river after powering up. For that they are the stuff.
 
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