It’s one thing to float down a river in a drift boat or a raft while not fishing. There’s no doubt it takes skill and lots of practice to become masterful at it. But, it’s completely different to row someone while fishing. I might even go out on a limb and say the best rowers I know were at one time fishing guides or people who have put in an awful lot of time chasing fish from boats.
When fishing you’re constantly monitoring speed, the distance from the bank, distance to fish, sometimes rowing as hard as you can as quietly as you can, all while keeping the crew safe. You’re basically rowing the boat and being the “second angler.” While you can still have fun on a boat with a poorly skilled oars-person, the same can not be said for a day of fishing. If you suck, you’re kinda stuck. At least for the fishing part.
In the coming weeks and months we’ll take a deeper dive on the nitty gritty of specialized strokes, tips and techniques of rowing for both whitewater fun and how to make your fishing time more productive.
In the meantime let’s start slowly with a video from Watermen Unlimited on navigating a simple turn in a drift boat. Obviously this same idea applies to rafts. You just have to work a little harder.