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Hey guys,

Just bought a hyde contender. Anyone have any tips for a first time drift boat owner. Anything regarding the boats capabilities or tip on rowing would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Point the bow at whatever you don't want to hit and row backwards away from it lol...

Sounds like common sense, but you would be amazed how many people don't understand that basic ideology...

If you have anything but Sawyer square top oars, throw them away and get square tops... :)
 

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if you have carlisle oars (plastic covered aluminum) throw them out and get anythying else :D keep pulling constant easy strokes. if the boat is always moving slower than the curreent, its easy to go where you need to. never drop anchor in a panic. only drop anchor where you can stop the boat with the oars. wear your pfd.
 

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When you drop anchor in a river, pay out an extra 3-5 feet of anchor line (or thereabouts) so that the rocking of your boat doesn't simply lift your anchor straight off the river bottom and leave you stranded.
 

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All good tips. I would add there is never any shame in beaching the boat and scouting a hairy spot from up high on the bank.

When things go wrong, they go wrong fast so be prepared, don't panic and wear a PFD.

Some other bits of info gleaned from 15 years of rowing one.
- you will hit rocks, it happens, try and make sure it is a glancing blow and not head on or full on sideways
- don't float through skinny tail out sideways
- if you drag and stop in low water tail outs, be very careful getting out and walking/pulling the boat through as it will speed up fast once fully floating again :chuckle:
- an extra two piece oar is a handy item in case you ever need it, as is an extra oarlock
- always watch for overhanging tree branches, they eat rods
 

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Good advice so far

I would add go with an experienced oarsman the first few times.

Keep a spare set of dry clothes in the dry storage.

Keep a roll of toilet paper, a small gardening shovel, and a book of matches in a plastic bag.
 

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When pulling into shore, be sure to always drop anchor.
Float some easy river floats with minimum trouble spots. Work your way up as your experience increases.
Before doing a drift for the first time, I would at least talk to someone that has done the float before you to give you any pointers on the run. Be honest with yourself and those you get advise from with your experience level.
Have fun!!!
My fishing partner and I sometime argue over who is fishing and who is rowing. We enjoy rowing just as much as fishing.
 

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My "Learning Experience"

All of the above and this was one of my learning experiences...the lesson learned was to make darn sure the boat is secure even if it means wrapping the anchor around a tree trunk a couple wraps. Enjoy your new boat!

From a post last winter titled "My Dumbsh*t Moment of the Day"

This is the exact text and pic I sent to a few friends and family members upon recapturing my runaway drift boat this morning on the Bighorn. Read on and please feel free to have a laugh at my expense. If this brings a couple good belly laughs...the confession was worth while.

At 9:42 am:

"Fishing a hole this morning after putting on river at 6 and rowing in the dark to a honey hole. Fishing about an hour and look down river and see a boat like ours and think "huh...thought I was first boat on the river"...look for my boat and no boat. SH*T MY PANTS...it's 30 degrees maybe and I'm 8 miles from ramp. So...couple miles later, after falling in the river up to my friggin neck, praying for divine intervention and wading across the river up to my nipples!...I'm down stream of the boat and in it. Left my net on the bank...who gives a sh*t. Heater cranking, hole in waders and another story to tell. Add this one to my memorial some day. Life is good and my tes*icles are ice cubes. 5 miles of river to ramp. Gonna go home and get drunk. In closing...let out more anchor rope when you leave your boat."

Poppy...You'll notice I'm sporting the Red Shed hat and Mr Pantzlaff...I clearly recall as I was reaching that critical depth in my river crossing thinking..."If I only had my Speyco Garbage Staff". Followed by..."this is how dumb sh*ts die."
 

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All good tips.
- an extra two piece oar is a handy item in case you ever need it
Clumsy as it is, take that sexy two piece oar out from under the seat and assemble it before ever pulling away from the launch ramp. Because when you need it, you need it right now! Not 10 minutes later, after you've drifted out of control and hit every other rock/root wad in the river.
 

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All good tips. I would add there is never any shame in beaching the boat and scouting a hairy spot from up high on the bank.

Ditto on that. I happened to be fishing the D near the mouth a few days ago, looked up and saw two fellows in a drift boat coming down Rattlesnake rapids river right. Realized the error of their ways 1/3 the way through, got sideways, pounded a couple of boulders, damaging the side of their boat and nearly turning it into a bucket, but managed somehow to make it through without dumping.
 

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Pay attention to your down stream oar. If it hits a rock at the right angle, it can swamp the boat, break your oar lock or bust your jaw.
 

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Learn how to read water. Learn how to make the oars move the boat in tough situations. Stay away from Class IV and V water until you are sure of your skills. If you can, spend time with someone who has been pumping oars on your water for a long time.

Stay Awoke !! ****e Happens !!

sixheads
 

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The Dude abides
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One of the least obvious and but still important things is to not dig the oars in deep. look at those ivy league guys, barely touching the water each stroke, same for drift boats, the more you dig in the worse off you are.
 

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Lots of good advice. Couple other things....make sure drain plugs are in before launching and unplug trailer lights before submerging trailer in water. Cary emergency type stuff, first aid kit, lots of good rope, come along, carabiners, z drag, and spare oar. And learn to read water as far as picking a line is concerned.
 

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I too lost a boat once, very similar story but I caught it before getting to the other bank. To explain the extra rope thing... If you have weight in your boat (people) and drop exactly enough line and step out your boat lifts and off she goes! Everyone has good advice, I say find someone that has experience, MANY times!
 

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I too lost a boat once, very similar story but I caught it before getting to the other bank. To explain the extra rope thing... If you have weight in your boat (people) and drop exactly enough line and step out your boat lifts and off she goes! Everyone has good advice, I say find someone that has experience, MANY times!
As my old guide buddy Merl used to say "Here on the Deschutes there are those that have lost there boat and those that are going to lose there boat" Happens to all of us;)
 

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Probably obvious, but don't ever overload your boat. Another tip is that these boats are trailered over rough roads where your trailer wiring takes a beating. I have a piece of wide reflective tape across the stern of my drift boat and jetboat. Nothing worse than driving home in the dark with no trailer lights. The cops will give you a bye if your lights are dead but you had the foresight to make your boat visible under those conditions.

Best of luck and as a parting tip, etiquette is essential to the harmony of the entire stream angling community.
 

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One of the least obvious and but still important things is to not dig the oars in deep. look at those ivy league guys, barely touching the water each stroke, same for drift boats, the more you dig in the worse off you are.
I like this one. The rivers I row can be quite shallow at times, so this one is important for me. It doesn't matter how strong or quick you are if you bury an oar in a rock or the streambed.
 

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Buy a bilge pump. I have a manual model but I am looking for a battery powered one.

Find a spot to practice eddying in and out.

Find a spot to practice setting your ferry angles and holding them.

Focus on how your boat is moving more than where it is pointed. Think about your boat as being a pin in the water. You need to move that pin in and around obstructions. Feel the boat moving and anticipate changes based on reading the water.

Learn to read the water. Not just for obstructions but also for directional changes and hydraulics.

Learn to keep a balanced boat.

Get plenty of practice before attempting anything technical.

Take someone fishing. They can help to pull you off the rocks...:saeek:
 
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