Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Maiden Voyage...

Took the new boat out for a dip this afternoon and she performed nicely; given the rough windy conditions on the Lower...

Rookie couldn't swing the day off so I was accompamied by my friend Bill who owns a drift boat and who taught me a few tricky maneuvers when headed toward danger. We switched off and on thruout the day and I did just fine when it was my turn to row (kinda)....

The caddis were out in big numbers and swarmed us from the minute we stepped out of the truck to the end. Saw more than a few heads too and Bill managed to land a couple small rainbow on some elk hair imitations when we stopped to wade.

Had this pair of Mergansers (I think) swim near us off and on thruout most of the trip.

Bill is also one of our shops best customers, so between the two of us we had more gear than a half dozen fishermen could ever need..

"The boat is very responsive" Bill said a couple times, but didnt elaborate on what that meant exactly.

I only picked up on what he was referring too after I was in control of the oars and he was fishing on the bow and sarcasticly remarked:"Okay I guess were headed to the otherside of the river now huh..?"

It was pretty cool, but kinda took some getting used too. You'd make two deep backstrokes with oars and she'd scoot way out into the river away from the bank and before long you were trying to put her back where she just was instead.

Once Bill took over controls I too managed to hook and net a few myself using a tied crayfish pattern and fished deep with lots of split shot; given the flows spiked up to 2500 this morning..

Nothing huge, but at least we had a great first trip and caught a few fish, so she wouldn't have a skunk on her when Alex and one of his' coworkers takes her out this Saturday.


And best of all we the finished the day without putting a scratch on her.

..I was especially glad of that!


Cant wait till next time...


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Drift Boat Dreams...

For 3 years since arriving in Montana I've been invited a few dozen times with friends to float the area rivers, but only on their schedule. Most of the time I've wade fished or simply snoozed on the shoreline and dreamt of one day having my very own drift boat...

I even came close last season by contemplating spending my 4K in hail-damage money from my truck on one, but decided quitting my stupid convenience store job was a better choice.

As luck would have it not two weeks after quitting said job (last summer) I landed my second gig at a well known outfitter and fly shop in this wonderful state and slowly but surely everthing from then on sort of fell into place...

It helped to have a friend who also had always dreamt the same dream ...and one who had a fulltime job..a career infact.

...And so after months of planning and a few false starts Rookie and I finally found ourselves on our way to Idaho last Thursday and arrived at the HYDE Drift Boat Dealership around noon.

At that time God decided to shine down upon me and bless us both with something very unexpected..

While we'd intially near settled on 'a used 2002 one' for more than just a little change, but still had many of the features that we wanted; I off handedly mentioned my having worked at a shop on The Bighorn and currently at another in Bozeman and the sales guy equally casually mentioned we'd honor the "pro rate" on a new one if we were interested..?

This honor is usually reserved for fulltime guides, outfitters, and owners of shops, but I having been a shop bitch for going on 3 years (and pretty well known one); I think he maybe took pity on me...not sure.

Regardless, I eased over to Alex who was mulling over the clunker used one we'd seen online and mentioned what was offered, and as they say - the rest was history..

For the next 3 hours we had them build one to our specs and it started out as nothing but a shell (only a week out of the factory) and later turned into a fantastic drift boat neither of us could have imagined we'd be driving home towing..

Kudos to Lamoyne HYDE and his team of superb drift boat designers and builders as the final product was really impressive. We were even priveledged to admire their handywork up close as they built and painted several others on a tour of their elaborate factory in Idaho.

Our salesman was a real fly fisherman and about as laid back as they come (no pressure whatsoever); as it turned out a rabbit hunter too who knew Alex's cousin 3 states over and had hunted with him a halfdozen times (small world).

A few hours later than we'd planned, having assumed we'd be buying 'a used one' and not brand new; we headed home toward Bozeman and along the Gallatin (now kinda blown out a bit by early runnoff)..but still picturesque along the way.

We spotted elk, sheep, bison, and even a moose; along with a few "bears" Alex slowed to point out, but turned out to be dark furry rocks instead...

Our maden voyage had been planned for Sunday evening on the Lower Madison (below)..and since neither of us really know how to row the silly thing were anticipating taking one of my shops guides along to show us what to do and not..

30 Mile per hour winds however forced us to sctratch this trip, but were hoping to get out eitehr later today or tomorrow..


You know its funny how things work out when your flat broke but have cool friends. Yup, old Rookie's pretty lucky to have me there by his side when he buys expensive drift boats; the fact he has nowhere to keep it and it'll reside hidden behind my singlewide for the next couple years is a sacrifice I'll just have to make I guess..