View Full Version : Floatin the Clinch

04-26-2007, 12:51 AM
Well, one of my fraternity brothers has just recieved probably one of the best birthday presents in history, a drift boat. I believe we are going to try to get it out to the clinch this weekend if the weather permits. This is going to be a first, any pointers on controlling this thing, and where should we put in?

04-26-2007, 02:03 AM
My friend, Joe, and I spent most of February '96 building a wooden drift boat. We launched it on the Clinch on it's maiden voyage, March 1st of that year.

There's one bridge between the put-in at Miller's Island and where we took out. It's huge. It has an interstate on it. You can't miss it. And we didn't. Dead on. No glancing blows, here. Joe has never rowed since.

One hint, the oars aren't really for power, they're for steering. Generally, keep the boat parallel to the current, but with the stern angled slightly toward one side of the river or the other, use the oars to "ferry" yourself towards that side to avoid stuff or to get somewhere. But remember, it's a "drift" boat, let the current provide the forward motion. And sure, if you're in a hurry, row away.

As long as the water is up, the Clinch is pretty forgiving and it's a great river to learn on. But make sure someone else learns to row the thing, otherwise, you'll never get to fish.

Have fun,


04-26-2007, 06:11 PM
Lots of variables when you add the TVA into the mix. Watch the schedule http://http://lakeinfo.tva.gov/htbin/lakeinfo?site=NOH&DataType=All&submit=View+info (http://http//lakeinfo.tva.gov/htbin/lakeinfo?site=NOH&DataType=All&submit=View+info) and plan accordingly.

For your first float you may be better off just putting in at Peach Orchard boat ramp and rowing it around to get used to it. You can always row upstream and float back down. The Clinch is like lake water during low flows so the only tricky thing then is wind. Even with the water running the Clinch is mild, flat water. It's a large amount of water but there are virtually no obstacles. But, like jrose wrote, some people just don't "get" rowing. I grew up racing motocross so it came easy for me, but I have friends that row me in circles when I try to fish. I think they panic over a simple concept.

The best advice I can give you with a question like that is to recommend an instructional video. I think Hyde puts one out. Either that or get out there during low flows and pay attention to what oar stroke does what. Most of the stokes are pulls but lots of people want to push. You will push in certain circumstances but that's mostly during flat water (moving fast through slower water) or for boat maneuvering.

Understand that this is a broad subject that's not easily explained or understood through text alone. Find some quiet water and play around with oar strokes to get used to the reaction.

Flat Fly n
04-26-2007, 08:21 PM
I had a Clackacraft and loved it and ran it down the river alot.

Just remember, BACKWARDS. It took me about a year to learn as RFowler said that you can't really steer one of these things by "rowing" in forward in that direction. Just hit a few strokes backwards and depending on which direction you are wanting to go will dominate which oar gets the power.

If you about to hit something like a rock, BACKWARDS strokes to get out of trouble, not forward trying to outrun it. At Coldwater shoals, keep to the right, you will see the cut, and when coming down by the jail, keep again to the right, better water.

Put in at Peach..Row to the shoals about 1/2 mile downstream. IF the water is off for awhile, get out, fish the shoals, get back in and row back upstream to the parking lot. Many a great days doing this with my young son and his freinds.

Clinton Taxi used to do shuttles from 61 bridge in Clinton for about 15 bucks. Pick you up at 61 bridge parking lot, then ride with you and boat to Peach, dump you off, and drive your car and trailer back to the 61 bridge.. REquires two sets of car keys.

have a great time

04-26-2007, 10:25 PM
Pretty good info so far.

Like Rusty said, with no flow the Clinch is a lot like a lake...so setting up good drifts can be tricky....add wind and it's even tougher.

Learning how your boat handles is a lot easier on water with a little push to it. A good current will actually make it easier to plane your boat and manuever. You'll notice that your boat drafts a little more water on the Clinch or other slow moving waters compared to faster rivers.

The Clinch has a lot of sneakers on it. These are rocks that are just below the surface but give no report due to the slow moving water. So late in the day just take your time. You'll want to cry after every hard ht your boat takes for at least your first 30 trips......after that you'll see that it's pretty darn tough (Clackas anyway).

Never anchor in fast water and if you plan on anchoring in quick water always have a rescue knife handy. I'd say bad anchor drops probably account for about 49% of all sinkings.

Avoid hitting rocks or other structure broadside (broaching). This probably sinks more boats than bad anchor drops.

IF your oar blades do not float and your shafts are not counterbalanced....always be sure to ship them when sitting on anchor. or drifting. A sunk oar blade can hurt you and your boat real quick. And losing an oar is you worse nightmare.

Be careful and use good judgement. For the most part the Clinch is very beginner friendly.

There are a few good books out on driftboating. Neale Streeks and Dan Alsup are a few writers that have driftboat books out.

Good luck and have fun!

SouthFork Skiff
04-27-2007, 11:57 AM
Like many said before, you steer by the back of the boat always keep it angled slightly in the direction your wantin to fish!! There is rarely any forward strokes in drifting its a constant backwards rowing..if your nymphing make sure that your boat is in exact drift with the nymphs or slightly behind. The only forward strokes you may ever do is if your eddie out to fish you may have to use forward strokes upstream to get out!! It will take some time to get used to but the common backstroke, scissor stroke, and J stroke can be the most productive!! I guided out of one for an entire summer in 05 in Wyoming and its an awesome fishing and very productive as well, so enjoy!!
Also a student here at UT so, if ya ever need a rower and ya ll just wanna fish just let me know be more than glad to help!!