HOW A WELL-MADE DRIFT BOAT CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
By: admin | May 4, 2021
I love to row. I love to float and feel the water underneath, pushing and pulling. Giving and taking from my chines. Like a river that gives itself to the sea, what moves inside you moves inside me. The ebb and flow of a river is like nothing else. Water levels can change navigation lines drastically and quickly make each outing a learning opportunity and an adventure.
The Advantages of a Polymer Hull
Western North Carolina and East Tennessee is a landscape sprinkled with rock croppings like something in a Bob Ross painting. Limestone that looks like a cheese grater, granite that grabs, rhythmite boulders for boofing and spinning and some that have a “Keep Out” sign on the front door. I love rocks. I spent most of my childhood years jumping from one to another. To aquatic life they are a hiding spot, ambush point, resting place, a transition point, a home, a danger zone. To an oarsman and anglers, rocks represent much of the same. To most boats, rocks represent danger and perhaps a trip to the emergency room.
Sharp rocks and low water levels can limit many drift boat guides to which sections of river they can target. On many occasions I have found myself on a section of low water where I know other guides will not go because they don’t want to beat up their fiberglass boat. This gives any guide owning a BBW the advantage to target sections with the least amount of pressure.
Hydrology Observation is Key
As an oarsman and guide I have focused on and observed hydrology very intensely. When studying fish behavior, one must understand hydrology. Seamlines are buffet lines. Foam is home. Take an eddy and rest. Riffles are riveting and tail-outs are a dry fly’s green mile. As a 44 year old full time drift boat guide with early signs of tendonitis in my hands and arms, longevity is on my mind. I find myself measuring daily oar strokes on my Fitbit. My goal has been to minimize oar strokes in a day without sacrificing the quality of my performance as a guide and oarsman. An eddy, rocks, grass and logs are all on the table as options to help slow the boat down when the anchor is too noisy or less than ideal.
The Boat Can Make the Difference
Coincidentally, in the process of minimizing daily oar strokes I have become aware of some very fine details within guiding and how a well-made boat can make all the difference. On my home trout water, the Watauga River and South Holston River, big wild brown trout eat streamers on the regular.
With so many variables involved in catching a wild brown trout on a streamer, the fine details matter. As a drift boat guide, I look for every opportunity to increase the angler’s chances. Being able to stick with a current to minimize drag while keeping the same distance from the bank helps anglers present their flies better and keep slack out of their line. Taking two big strokes to get the boat on plane and another to stop it on point gives the angler another shot or a moment longer to set the hook.
The BBW dory does all of these things so well. It is a real pleasure to row such a responsive boat. The BBW boats are so light and agile, it’s like driving a sportscar for the oarsman. Whether I am pushing or pulling, I just point the bow or transom in the direction I want to go, set it on its way and it will go there. It holds its course very well due to the hard chine lines and hull design. It ferries with little assistance and is able to surf in a hydraulic indefinitely.
It is rock-proof, bomb-proof and requires little maintenance on my part. It is quiet, comfortable and very attractive. I have rowed many different drift boats and BBW is truly the best boat I have ever rowed. I will row their boats for the rest of my life. – Galen Kipar