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Thread: what about tubing on rivers

  1. #1
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    Default what about tubing on rivers

    As I have looked around I don't see articles on tubing on rivers. Given the normal direction of kicking, I.e., backward, one would face down stream and ferry to get to where you want to go. The trick to getting places in a river is to paddle to places where the watter is going where you want to go instead of paddling to where you wnt to go. A great method of doing this is the upstream ferry. This involves paddling upstream at an angle to the current toward the piece of water that is going where you want to go. Look at where you want to go and something in the back ground. If the background is moving upstream turn more into the current; if the background is moving down stream turn more toward the bank. This assumes starting from the middle toward one side or the other. Do this on Class One (curent w/ turns) water before you try it on anything else. With fishing gear I'm thinking Class Two (small things that can easilly be missed and very small waves) water would be the limit for most folk, althoug,h the canoe liveries rent tubes, canoes and kayaks to all comers up to Class Three watter. There are two things that are dangerous on moving water; trees that have fallen into the water and low water dams. I would rather be in a barbed wire fense that a tree; the fense will cut, the tree will drown. A low water dam usually creates a hydraulic which is water droping straight down creating a surface current going upstream. The only way out of this is to get as deep as you can for as long as your life jacket will let you. If you try to swim out on the surface the current will keep pushing you back into the downward flowing watter. Do not assume you can tell the nature of a drop; I have looked at drops that looked a couple of feet from above that were 15 feet w rocks. The other safety measure is to be going towards a way out of river when going around a blind corner. This is true even if you ran the river yesterday cause trees by rivers fall. Having given the obligatory safety and manuvering talk about the only way to dronw on a well used Class I river is to get drunk and not wear a life jacket. Just an aside. I used to be a guide on Brown's Canyon in Colorado; this is Class Four watter; there were lots of pools of still water and no fisherman?

  2. #2

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    Thanks for this post with good info that answered many of my questions. One additional suggestion I've read often is to point the boat to the section you are trying to avoid and row or kick away from it. However, this sounds the opposite of your description of the upstream ferry. Any clarification would be helpful.

    My tube has oars. Would you recommend just using those and not flippers. That would make it easier to stop to stand and cast near good spots.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmcculloch View Post
    Thanks for this post with good info that answered many of my questions. One additional suggestion I've read often is to point the boat to the section you are trying to avoid and row or kick away from it. However, this sounds the opposite of your description of the upstream ferry. Any clarification would be helpful.

    My tube has oars. Would you recommend just using those and not flippers. That would make it easier to stop to stand and cast near good spots.
    It would amount to the same manuver with out understanding why it worked. Think of a sail in the wind or a plane landing w/ a cross wind or a boat in a current; all the same. The other thing is I like to plan a route so I am going somewhere safe rather than running from danger. Ther ferry is a positive way to get there.
    I have found a tub company w/ a third option involving things that tie to the ankles ankles and knees; as one walks forwars the water catches and baloons the cloth causing an effect like kickers but without the blades. I have had the thought about oars as well, being a old raft guide. A big danger in moving water is that one would be pushed over by the current with a foot traped upstream. Without help and luck you are going to drown. Alternately the way one goes down a river, swiming is not the term I would use, is to lay back in water on life jacket and put feet down stream. The procedure is to bounce off of rocks, kinda like rapelling, and useing a back stroke or side stroke to get to shore; again a sort of upstream ferry. All of this would argue for having shoes on the feet. I have looked at the frameless cats and framed pontoon boats. These have the featuure of being able to paddle up to something, drop anchor, and fish. There are clarly times when the bigger pontoon would be better. I am considering a float trip in the spring that would involve gear, tent, food, etc. The bottom line w/ oars is that you can get farther faster; narrow river, shallow water, no boat traffic, do what you want; big river, fast current, boats with motars be high, fast and visible.
    Last edited by scotthen; 08-12-2012 at 03:15 PM. Reason: forgot to add something

  4. #4
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    As I thought about my reply there was one more thing I would like to say. Pointing your flippers at what you would want to avoid would work if your back wasn't pointed directly upstream. Then you would simply hit more slowly. Safety on a river involves knowing what the water you are sitting in as opposed to what the average of the the waters between the banks are doing. There can be dramatic differences. There are times when the water is actually flowing upstream as in elevator eddies. I have seen two currents folow off of shelves into each other and act like techtonic plates. Reflex waves coming off of rocks generally have a current at the top of the wave going in the down stream direction; if the wave is 2-3 feet one can be pushed sideways 4-5 feet; great fun; generally a Class Three or better experience. The idea is to look ahead and pick a safe path that gets you to where the fish are. There are numerous white water organizations that will be glad to teach this stuff; its fun and you will get to places that you can't walk to.

  5. #5
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    A tube in a river???? Not around here! I don't have that much of a Death Wish. It's hard enough running the Ocoee in a good yak. A tube would be insane.

  6. #6
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    I agree the Ocoee would be insane. There are some small streams in that area that it might make more sense in. I was actually thinking of the White River in Arkansas when I wrote the post.

  7. #7
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    I think the Hiawassee would be OK to tube in, especially the lower end where it dumps into the Tennessee River. It never gets worse than Class II. You'd probably get away with little more than some bruises and minor cuts, and a lot of fun.

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