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Old 12-27-2000, 04:06 PM   #1
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Default Driftboat Etiquette??

With all the new driftboaters is there such a thing as river etiquette and what can be done about it? I don't want to sound like a "know it all" but after running the rivers for the last 30 years I really see a need for some kind of training. Does anyone know of any good books? Maybe there should be a driftboaters test or at least something posted with rules of the river. I saw guys pulling plugs where others were anchored and boats floating over holes. What do you other driftboaters think?

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Old 12-27-2000, 04:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

I think it's up to the experienced driftboaters to educate the inexperienced boaters (In a friendly way). Too many times when boaters make (rookie) mistakes nobody says a word, or the words they say aren't in the proper form. If nobody tells them what they did wrong...they will never know. And when you say "hey, you stupid so and so..." it dosen't go anywhere except maybe a fight!

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Old 12-27-2000, 04:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

I've had some episodes on the river where I have wondered if people were born stupid or it developed later in life. The most recent was about 2 weeks ago on the nestucca, two guys were plugging a slot and dropped out as we were pulling in. They pulled off to the side to do whatever, not fishing. We strung out our plugs to fish through the slot and just as we started into the prime stuff, they rowed back up, started letting their plugs out and slid their boat right over the top of where our plugs were. I let them know that I thought this was inappropriate behaviour in a hurry. The good news is they were apparently unaware of this and did the right thing.
Another time I was plugging a spot and had just landed a fish and pulled back up to start in as we had only made it part way through the slot. Another boat dropped around the corner and asked how things were. We responded that we had just pulled a fish and were making another pass to see if we could make it two. They dropped about 50 feet below us and pulled into the slot, dropped anchor, and put their plugs out and fished through the lower end. I was not quite as gnarly then as I am now so I did'nt say much. Bummer.

On another note, since I'm rambling, I have to disagree with Jennie on the anchor drag thing. It is very effective but I've seen too many people do it in the wrong places such as nice spawning gravel so I would try to steer people away from it. I plan to be out there flogging away over the next week so if you see some gnarly fat guy with a goatee in a yellow willie's, say hi.(Just don't fish in my hole)

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Old 12-27-2000, 05:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

I agree with Gone Fishin. As one of the "new" driftboaters rags refers to, my biggest fear is that I will make a mistake in river etiquette.
If someone told me in a polite manner what I did wrong, I would gladly apologize and try not to do it again. If however someone was to be an a-- about it, I would not feel the same need to learn or heed what they say, come what may. Nobody was an expert oarsman when they began and more experienced rowers should help less experienced rowers learn proper etiquette.
I have so far, always rowed with an experienced oarsman and ask many questions. I am sure that I will make mistakes as everyone does, but I will hopefully learn from them.
I read a book, Driftboats by Dan Alsup and he talks about etiquette in one of the chapters. Also, what one person feels is proper etiquette, may not be another persons idea of proper conduct.
I am waiting for the day that I accidentally row close to a person or boat to avoid rowing over their hole, and get blasted for bumping them. I certainly would not want to bump them, and hope they would understand that I was trying to use proper etiquette. If it is you rags, sorry in advance. I am just out to fish, not fight.
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Old 12-27-2000, 08:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

I have found most driftboaters are just people out fishing, trying to get away from it all and enjoy the experience. Often the new guys don't even know where the good water is and don't understand why you are riled up. I have found most of these people to be quite friendly and a few nice words steering them in the right direction (actual good fishing advice)goes a long toward good relations. Sometimes you have to give up a bit of good advice but it often pays dividends when everybody catches fish and shares a few laughs and a brew at the end of the day. And if you are unsure of which way to pass a bank angler..ask them. While you are at it share some info with each other. Don't drop in on someone and pull plugs over their line...that is probably the numero uno cardinal no no. I also make a point of never pulling plugs anywhere bankies are fishing. That is just good relations. And sometimes you will meet up with a jerk, whether in a boat or on the shore...Luckily the jerks are not the norm.

[This message has been edited by Roeboat (edited 12-27-2000).]
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Old 12-27-2000, 09:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

Rags you have a great point. It seems that with every Christmas and Birthday a new fleet of driftboats are launched. The new oarsman (and I use this term lightly) take to the rivers without much thought of others. When I was young I use to yell and make a big commotion so that everyone would look at the driftboater in the questionable position.

I now only look in amusement and wonder if they have a clue. I can not count the times that I have been fishing a spot when along comes a boat and floats right over the area where I have chosen to fish. The thing that really gets me is that each time the boat could have avoided my fishing area and chose not to.

I think that I had a better response when I yelled. Remember the learning principle of punishments and rewards, if the boat gets the short end of a sharp tongue he will remember the next time.

As for the guy who is learning, good for you. I hope that you did not sit on your duff and let all of the down time between runs go bye without getting out there and practicing. A river full of boats is not the best time to learn your boating skills... Good luck!

[This message has been edited by Fubby Stucker (edited 12-27-2000).]
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Old 12-27-2000, 09:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

After some nice education from a valuable member, I edited my column, about the dragging. I was so proud when I first learned how to do that! I thought it was pretty tricky!
I do stay out of the redds, but the safety issue moved me to pull it. Not only that, but some people can't read redds. So, rather than set a bad example for people, I took it out.
Hey, glad to learn!
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Old 12-27-2000, 09:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

Sometimes its hard to please everyone. I have drifted next to bankies, trying to stay out of their slot and have been yelled at and I've drifted the other edge of the river being yelled at again! Sometimes I think people just like to yell. If you are on a decent sized river, attempt to slide by as unobtrusively as possible. Smile at people, they really get grumpy over a little fish.

I think a bigger issue regarding drift boats is river selection.Nothing beats good initial judgement. Let the cricks stay cricks .Personally, I find it amazing that people will launch at the N.F. Nehalem Hatchery when barely floatable, and then anchor right on top of a thin bank access slot. The boats draft alone must be squishin' fish. No... I don't get grumpy...ok, maybe a shaking head disgusted smirk/smile. Get out an hike a little ya wus!!

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Old 12-27-2000, 10:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

One way to cure people from yelling at you when you float through their hole is to ask them politely where they would like you to pass at. It usually leaves them speechless but once they recover they will tell you and everyone is happy.
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Old 12-27-2000, 10:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

my view of the anchor thing..

Anchors should not be used to stop in mid drift. If you are plugging you should not be anchored. If you are bait fishing pull towards shore and anchor and fish as if you were a bankie just standing in the boat instead of water.
Having said that. if there is noone else around fish it however you like. but dont tow your anchor through the middle of a run. especially tailouts!!!!!
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Old 12-28-2000, 03:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

I have fished with ***** on the Lower Quinalt. He uses an innertube filled with River Rocks. I suspect this causes less damage than draggin a pyramid down the river, be it a driftboat, sled etc ...

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Old 12-28-2000, 04:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

GF, I really appreciate your comments. I am a new drift boater (one year) and still have so much to learn. The only way we will learn is if someone nicely helps educate us all new rowers. A child doesn't learn manners unless someone teaches them! Throwing lead and swearing doesn't help educate anyone. Keep up the good work Marty. RW
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Old 12-28-2000, 04:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

I've noticed that the best think to avoid conflict is to open your mouth and ears and ask the dude/boat you are approaching which side they want you to pass on. Most likely you'll get a friendly response. If you don't, then you're dealing with a jacka$$, and you shouldn't care what they think anyway. This process is made easier if the guy/boat being passed has any clue, and leaves you room to the inside, if that's where they want you. The worst guys are the bankies who leave you no room to the inside, and then won't stop casting so you can pass outside of them. What's that about?

Fishing on somebody else's plugs is a cardinal sin. Dropping anchor in front of a bankie is a cardinal sin. Dropping anchor in a slot that sleds are side-drifting through is also a bogus thing to do. Of course, plugging at the top of a 200 yard slot and thinking a passing boat should stay out of the tailout is being unrealistic, but that doesn't mean it's OK to fish 50 feet below a guy pulling plugs. It's just a little common sense, which some guys are sorely lacking.

Communication is the key. Hostility is usually met with hostility, so keep that in mind. Fishing is meant to be stress-relieving, not stress-producing.

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Old 12-28-2000, 05:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??


One of you experts could make some good
money marketing a training video on
this subject in Oregon.

Rick
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Old 12-28-2000, 08:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

I have to admitt, after drifting the Wilson today with about 50 other boaters I was impressed with most of the driftboater's etiquette. Maybe some of them read the replies. I think I only ran into a few doughballs that drifted over our hole. Things are looking up!
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Old 12-28-2000, 10:16 PM   #16
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

Bottom line here people is the golden rule:

Do onto others as you would have others do onto you.

Nuff said. -Marty
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Old 12-28-2000, 10:51 PM   #17
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

Good advice Marty! However, for me that rule often gets me slapped .
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Old 12-29-2000, 03:15 AM   #18
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

Good point, Marty. I think Gizmoman's post on the sled etiquette thread probably sums up the best way for us all to have the best days on the water. Happy fishing.

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Old 12-29-2000, 02:03 PM   #19
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

Down here in Bama, if someone longlines your hole you get shot..

Things are not much different in OR..It's not above someone to pack heat on the river.

When your anchored in White Hole on the Nestucca in the middle of Oct with sore forearms from fighting fish all day and some pilgram roles by pulling plugs under his "Buzz Ramsey" umbrella with his heater blowing and a cup of Starbucks in hand whistling the theme to Fishing the West w/ Larry Shournborn, it tends to increase the blood pressure just a bit...
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Old 12-29-2000, 07:05 PM   #20
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

I'm a crappy rower so I have more sympathy for the newbies than most. Most of the water I fish is under 100' wide. Often there's no room for a boat to pass behind unless you're armpit deep (and standing among the fish).

I often pull over and fish a run by wading it. When boats come down the river I often ask the people in the bow to stand up and see if they can spot any fish "over there against that log" or "around those two rocks". That let's them know (a) I don't want them fishing to those fish as they drift past and (b) I don't care if they run their boat over the fish. As long as the water has some depth they won't spook for long. (I'd rather find out where the fish were holding than have someone drag and splash their way through the gravel near shore.)

Tailouts, however, are another matter. I always make it clear when we're working fish in the shallows that I need the drifters to stay close -- maybe even get out and walk their boat through the shallows. Why do that for me? Because I'm going to be floating through YOUR hole in the next half hour, and if you act like a knucklehead (or boondog my hole) we are not going to have a pleasant experience leap-frogging, are we?

I have to admit that one of my secret joys is spotting a fly fisherman all duded up, flaying some water that last held a fish either two feet ago or when Nixon was president. Very, very quietly drift to within about six feet of one of these characters and ask "CATCH ANY??!!". It's amazing how high an LL Bean-clad fisherman can jump even when waist deep in water . . . .

More charitably, when floating if there's good viz I often ask bankies if they want us to spot fish in the run for them. About 1 in 10 will say "Yes, please". The others look at you as if you'd offered to dump cyanide in the hole. I then ask, "Where would you like us to pass by?", follow their instructions and hunker down in the boat to make certain those high IQ fish are permanently put off by . . . a boat passing nearby.

And while I'm on a ramble, how many times do you ask guides what the fish are hitting when you pass each other on a river? I ask every guide I see. No, he isn't going to give me his favorite Corkie but no one out-and-out lies either. If he says he's "got a few on plugs" then that's something. Often it's much better than that simply because you're a potential customer in the future.

I guess it boils down to communication.
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Old 12-29-2000, 09:34 PM   #21
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Default Re: Driftboat Etiquette??

I think the best thing is what you guys ahve suggested about just nicely asking where an ancored boater or bank angler would prefer that you pass. But it is really for the fishermen more than the fish. When there is even a little water color a driftboat floating over briefly isn't going to put the fish off. In the "Low Gin Clear Water Steelheading Tips - Contest" thread a number of very good fishermen prefer that driftboats pass right over the fish to stir them up and into a biting mode shortly after the boat passes over them. One even asks them to purposely splash their oars if they know fish are there to stir them out of lethargy. So, my question is, why all the big fuss about where a driftboat passes? And why?
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