Drift Fishing and bass boat control in rough water curent

Discussion in 'Boating' started by on_the_fly, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. on_the_fly

    on_the_fly New Member

    Messages:
    606
    State:
    Kentucky
    well here it is i have been wanting to drift fish behind a lock/dam here close to the house. i have a 1996 javelin fish an ski. i am more than comfertable running my boat on the lake here were i live or any other lake for that matter, an even on the river. but i do have a fer of the rippiling curent behind the locks. mostly because of debree coming through the gates , an i know fast debree an fiberglass dont mix. an thats definately a place i dont want to go for a swim. now i have seen smaller boats like ( bass trackers ) run right up to the gates an you cant see the back of the boat because the water line was below water level at least thats the way it looked from bank an all i could think about was how crazy that man was. i guess alot of my prob comes from a friend turned his nitro bass boat over behind the tail waters off the falls of ohio about 8 years ago. an his stories are keeping half of my mind replaying these stories every time i think i want to. have anyof you ever used some kind of armor for a glass boat or should i look at buying an aluminum boat just for this
     
  2. davesoutfishing

    davesoutfishing New Member

    Messages:
    479
    State:
    Menominee Michigan
    here is my imput on this if the stories of your buds mishap sticks in your head then dont try it when I get around really fast moving water I get panicee (cant spell that word lol) I dont know how to decribe how my body feels when Im around it My wife and i was fishing below the damn the other day and we seen these 3 guys in a boat kinda like what you have and they had a huge anchor mounted on the front of their boat the driver would get close to the dividers of the gates and they would drop anchor and then gun the motor in reverse to let out about 15 foot of rope we watched them do this allday they did catch some fish would I ever do that with my boat heck no would I go with someone else in their boat yea prolly
    I dont go anywhere if Im not comfortable I dont want to put myself or my fishing bud in any kind of danger you cant replace a human life and lifes to short all I can say is beeeeeeeeeee safe
     

  3. three_rivers

    three_rivers New Member

    Messages:
    688
    State:
    Tupelo Ar
    Throw a little bit of insurance on her. That'll take care of the boat if something happens to her and wear those jackets. We fish the mississippi down here and the current is ripping. The fishing is fantastic, Take the risk just remember to keep that jacket on and have good insurance on the boat and your set.
     
  4. davesoutfishing

    davesoutfishing New Member

    Messages:
    479
    State:
    Menominee Michigan
    what happens when the life jacket wont help three? how do you justify a dead person I think thats just soooo wrong oh wait get more coverage thats just lame I value my fishing partners life alot then you do it seems
     
  5. Leakyboat

    Leakyboat New Member

    I wouldn't mess with it,if you have a fear of it,you would probably panic
    if something did happen.There's always fish to catch somewhere else.
    It not worth yours or someone els's life.Just my opinion.
    Leakyboat
     
  6. tspergin

    tspergin New Member

    Messages:
    867
    State:
    newark ohio
    dams and locks are the most dangerous places a person can have a boat and even the most experienced operators can get into trouble fast.these places are not the place for inexperienced boaters,or anything but the most depedable equipment and knowledge of how to handle emergency situations effectivly
     
  7. brad kilpatrick

    brad kilpatrick New Member

    Messages:
    2,666
    State:
    Kansas City
    newatcats
    here in My area we don't have locks and dams on the rivers i fish so I don't know all the ins and outs of navigating on a river that does. but , generaly speaking if your not comfortable in any boating situation avoid it. A river is a whole different animal in comparison to a lake. the current makes a river undoubtily more dangerous. know you and your equipments limitations and when in doubt err on the side of caution.

    as for insurance I think its a good idea to protect your monitary investment in your equipment. but having insurance is not a reason to try things that are unsafe or behond your abilities. no amout of insurance will ever bring you home to that beautiful family in the event you try something your not equiped or ready for.

    You have come to the right place to ask questions and learn. the BOC membership has countless years of boating and angling experience
    Welcome aboard
    good luck and be safe!
    Brad
     
  8. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    It's good that you have respect for those waters. The fiberglass boat will take more abuse from debris than you may think, but the biggest concern is your safety. I agree with some of the others...you may panic and do something wrong. If you really want to fish that area, I would suggest watching what other fisherman do with similar boats, learn from them, then ease into fishing those waters until you get more comfortable with it. You may be able to fish downstream where the current isn't quite as dangerous, then work your way up toward the dam as your experience builds.
    I will stress: wear that life jacket, especially in places like that. If something goes wrong, you probably won't have time to grab a vest and put in on. When I fish areas like that, I always wear my vest, and so do my passengers.
     
  9. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    My advice is to find someone who knows how to operate a boat in those conditions and make a few trips with him. Here are a few tips. When fishing below a spillway, don't get too close. There's a concrete slab below the spillway that has a 'toe' sticking up from the downstream end. This is what causes the big boils. It also redirects some of the water back toward the dam, so that once you get past that point, the strong current will throw you back to the spillway, which will throw you back to the toe, and so forth, till there's nothing left. My father-in-law told me about seeing a 1500# bull come through the spillway and bounce back and forth till there was nothing left of it. If the conditions are rough enough, it's a full-time job for one person to simply drive the boat while another fishes. In any case, never leave the driver's station, and never cut the motor off. Anchoring in a very swift current is probably the most dangerous thing you can do, because there's too much pressure on the boat to simply pull in the anchor by hand, and using the motor to move the boat forward while someone pulls in the anchor makes it easy to run over the slack rope. If that happens, and the rope wraps around the prop, you're going in the water.
    I think the safest way is to pull up in the swift water as far as it feels safe, put the motor in neutral, and drift fish downstream. That gives you some experience with the swift water, and after a time, you can make such further moves as seem adviseable.
     
  10. three_rivers

    three_rivers New Member

    Messages:
    688
    State:
    Tupelo Ar
    The guys are right. I was thinking of what i would do and what i'd be comfortable with. Its all in YOUR comfort range. My bad. When i first got out on the mississippi i was worried about even anchoring in current. I have worked through my fear and with that risk there is alot of reward. Now that i'm a little more comfortable i still stay well aware of my surroundings, and my catching has increased.

    I'll agree with Jerry, anchoring is probably one of the most dangerous task you've got to work around. I will say this. Make sure all the slack is out of that line while moving forward and keep all extremities out of the rope!!!! Be careful and stay safe. As far as the boat being glass. They are tough! Insurance wouldn't hurt either.

    Its all if its worth it to you. Everything has risk. Its if you can get past the hibbygibbies and go after them. Do whats in your heart and stay well aware of the risk and you can't go wrong.
     
  11. Mutt

    Mutt Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,474
    State:
    Ca
    Name:
    Mutt
    not really much i can ad to this. its been said stay in your comfort zone if it gives you any doubt then do not do it. i always follow my gut instinct. i have put my tracker in some bad areas and have yet to really scare myself. it is one of the most stable small bass boats ive owned its 18 foot. ive owned a ranger before nice ride but give me the tracker anyday for everyday fishing. as you can see for my pic here i run a bass tracker you will be amazed at how easy it is to put water in over that transom. when i back up i have to go easy as water will come in over it the back stays around a foot out of the water when your siting or moving slow. when on plane it looks like its underwater lol but its not.
     
  12. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    You've got to respect Mother nature for sure. She's almost got me twice, and once was below a dam. One of the major things to watch is water flow. At the edges there is a line so to speak, where the water reverses itself and flows bak to the dam. This is a very productive place to fish but is also the most dangerous especially with the bigger the current the more dangerous. The first few times you do it you need to know where these current breaks are, usually by watching the foam and bits of flotsam on the surface. You always need to keep the nose of the boat into the current. You can always let the current take you to slower water. As far as anchoring when you are alone this is the singular most dangerous portion of the trip. I always have the anchor cleated off at the front, start the motor and inch forward to one side til I can reach it with one hand. I then using a combination of steering, keeping the nose to the current move up til the anchor line is vertical or a little behind me. At that time I find the forward speed that holds the boat neatral to a little forward and then only then do I remove my hand from the steering wheel and only to get the anchor up, I can coil it later. Once the anchor is in the boat I slow the forward speed of the boat so that I am in a controlled drift backwards until I am far enough downstream to actuall turn the boat around. Incidentally, when anchoring I always anchor then back drift away from the anchor approx 50 -75 feet.

    I remember a time, I had a 78 Delta wedge bass boat with a 150 merc., had anchored right on the current break. The bot was moving toward the dam. I fired up the engine and tried to back her up, got water on my rear deck, then actually put her full speed forward hit the roll of water right at the face of the dam. By the time I got her out of there I was wet.... Every screw where the fiberglass top of the boat goes into the plywood was loose.
    Some of the things I did as a kid, I am lucky to be alive.
     
  13. misterwhiskers

    misterwhiskers New Member

    Messages:
    273
    State:
    Trenton
    dunno about lox and dams,but the river i fish is tidal and the cureent gets pretty rough.These guys gave ya some great advice,the best of which i think is the one about going out with someone who is experienced in fishing these conditions at least a few times before ya go an head out on yer own.
    Talk to them fellas in that bass boat and ask the,m questions.After gettin answeres to yer questions and concerns and going out with someone who can handle the conditions you will feel much more comfortable and secure if you do head out on yer own.
     
  14. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    If I had no choice but to anchor in those waters all by myself, I would have to have some kind of electric winch system that would allow me to raise the anchor from the driver's seat. And you never want to have your anchor point anywhere execpt right in the front of the boat. In a slow current, you can have your anchor point about 1/3 of the way back from the front, and it will cause the boat to swing sideways in the current so several people can fish directly downstream more easily, but in a swift current, you're just asking to take water over the side if you do that.
     
  15. tkishkape

    tkishkape New Member

    Messages:
    782
    State:
    Gore, Okla
    I do a lot of fishing for really big bluecat in the tailrace of dams. My boat is a high-sided center-console bay boat that generally keeps me dry.

    I do not approach the wall of the dam. As a rule, I stay 1000 feet above or below the dam for safety while all persons aboard wear life jackets 100% of the time.

    The current at that distance can still be suprisingly dangerous. I always anchor from the bow. Since the water is 20-30 feet deep where I fish, I use a 15# Danforth style anchor with 6 feet of chain and 150 feet of 5/8" rode (rope).

    Use the following formula to determine the length of anchor rope required. Use an anchor sized properly to the length of your boat.
    (Depth of water multiplied by 5 equals the length of anchor rope to use in any given situation.)

    I would never and I stress NEVER hazard myself by using an inadequate or underpowered craft in a swift current such as can be found in the tailrace of a dam.

    If you are uncomfortable below a dam, just don't do it. Always judge a situation first for safety. Be careful not to exceed the bounds.
     
  16. Rockin' Blues

    Rockin' Blues New Member

    Messages:
    310
    State:
    st.louis mo.
    Even though I definatly feel safety is always your first concern I'm not so sure that lakes are not just as dangerouse.If you have ever been on Carlyle Lake when a big storm rolls in brother beware,you dont have to worry about no current just huge waves.As far as fishing below dams,its very dangerouse, try going down river and practicing your techniques in slower water.When you feel comfortable work your way up.
     
  17. badkarma

    badkarma New Member

    Messages:
    772
    State:
    Oxford,Miss
    Back in 1987 when I lived in the Fla. Keys I saw a guy launch his bass boat and him his wife and and two kids went out the reef to scuba dive.While they were down in 40 ft of water the wind picked up and the water got rough and swamped the bass boat.The coast guard had to rescue the family and he had to pay us to tow his swamped boat 6 miles to where we could pump out and take apart his outboard motor to get the water out.A bass boat does not have enough free board for rough water and that's rough water below a dam.
     
  18. Chanellocked

    Chanellocked New Member

    Messages:
    108
    State:
    Lake St. Louis, MO
    An earlier post said ease into it which is what I did, when I did it, I had a friend who's been runnin' the big muddy since he was 12 with me, but if you can't get comfortable with it then don't do it. But if you do, in my limited experience, I never drop anchor, since the river level can change quickly, I drive while my partner fishes, then my partner drives while I fish, that way if trouble arises we're outta there quick, in any case some one in my boat is always watching the river. I'm fine with the Winfield dam, but Alton dam still scares me(so I don't go there). Go with your gut feeling, just my 2 cents worth....Good luck and be safe...
     
  19. bonefinger

    bonefinger New Member

    Messages:
    2
    State:
    Washington
    Hey, to all of you!
    I have read some very interesting and instructional guidelines for fishing in fast water below dams, in tailouts, etc; in this forum. Thank you a lot.
    I haven't read very much in these pages about the possibility of mechanical failures that can and will immediately place a boat and occupants in a world of jepardy.
    I have felt my hair stand when I read about the anchoring in that condition. I have to think those who do anchor with those conditions being present, had better have a very sharp blade handy to the line tie-off, whether it is at the bow or fore quarter cleat.
    I must agree with the statement," if it takes your comfort zone away, don't get involved with it".
    Most fisher persons develope a "gut-feeling" about different things and learn to trust those feelings. I do and I am still here to enjoy my sport.
    Bonefinger