Some recent pics

My camera is not waterproof, so it only comes out of the dry bag in calm water. There’s not much excitement in the pictures, but you may recognize a few of the names from this board and be able to put faces with them.

I was able to get in five floats in four days camping on the banks of the New River. Heaviest duty rapid was a Class 3 on the Big D scale (probably a 2+ to anyone else) with moderately frequent Class 1 and easy 2’s. Got caught in a pourover without a skirt in the Class 3 and technically speaking sank my boat. It wasn’t a complete sinking because I did get to shore under paddle power and people side up to begin pumping out. Only a couple/few technical rapids, and only technical because the flow is so low there are exposed ledges and rocks that under more normal conditions are not features to cause concern. One other fellow got a pin in one of the low 2 technical rapids, but was able to get loose without rope work or even leaving the kayak, so it wasn’t a bad pin. He did do an entertaining and unintentional pirouette in a Prijon Boxer though. Gave a nice lesson for why folks should use flotation bags.

Let me know if that link doesn’t work. But first try putting in the www. Some computers require it and some don’t. Don’t ask me why, and if you do know why don’t tell me because I don’t care.

  • Big D

Looks like great fun. See the Rat
cheated with that pnntoon boat, where’s the Loon? The water looked nice, if low. We just finished four months of almost daily rain about two weeks ago. The section of river I’ve been wanting to float and fish is still 4 ft above flood stage…lots of water released from the dam upstream.

B’rer Rat can paddle!
He’s all laid back about it, but he takes that Loon right through whatever he needs to to get to the fish. He’s got some skills. Some water that the folks on the nice forums would say a recreational doesn’t belong, but he goes right on through with nary a care. Probably’ll take a fish or three from it too.

The pontoon/catarafts are getting a lot of attention in the river fishing world lately because they provide good angle of view combined with comfort & capacity. Only real complaint I’ve heard about them relates to holding position or rowing against wind.

Sorry to hear about your rivers. I hope as few folks as possible are harmed. There’s no way everyone can be safe with a situation like that. We sure could use some rain. The Saturday trip was more like a whitewater hike than the slow lazy float punctuated by a few fun rapids that we expected. Ten hours for a 5.4 mile section, and that wasn’t because the fishing was good. That was pushing, pulling, crawling, and scooting over ledge after ledge after ledge after… The flow was at about 200CFS. If it was another 100 CFS higher, it would still have been a low-water flow but at least passable. I’ll hard boat that trip again at 220 or better, but I’m not taking big rubber on it until it’s running at least 300CFS for a full day. The guy in the raft was a complete newbie. He did an awesome job considering his lack of experience. I spent the last two hours of the trip scooting back and forth in my kayak to find as passable of a route as I could. Still, we’d frequently get to a ledge and I’d just shrug and say, “Go ahead and get stuck. There’s no way through.”

  • Big D

Toon’s are extrememly popular with
Carolina fly fishermen on rivers. The high angle makes a difference and they say the rigs handle fast water well. As you say, its the wind that’s the problem, especially on big flat water.

The flood waters we’ve seen are, for the most part, in areas where no one lives. Earlier, Central and North Texas had some real problems, but its what should be expected if you live where flash flooding can happen. Still, many don’t understand it doesn’t take much water to push a vehicle off a low water bridge.

Awww shucks ‘D’…

– Last Updated: Aug-14-07 10:34 PM EST –

I ain't all DAT!!!! But I do appreciate the kind words. One skill he didn't mention is knowing my...and my boat's, limitations. I ain't too proud to portage if the water gets a tad too hairy. There's a lot you can make the Loons do that most people say you can't. But given enough practice and seat-time in them, they'll carve sharp turns, catch eddies easily, and you can weave down a class 2 staircase pretty well (with a skirt of course) and I can keep up with a 14 foot expedition boat pretty easily without a lot of effort. They're probably one of the most versatile rec boats out there. But there's definitely a line of demarcation where their capability is limited and you need to know where that is.

As for the toon...I lucked out and absolutely 'stole' this thing from a fellow member of He had the boat up for a month on the site with nary a peep outta anyone about buying it. Figured I was gonna need one one day (I *am* 53 with an arthritic hip and knee) and may as well see what he wanted for it. Well when he quoted me the price it was about half what they retail for new....and he had used this thing ONCE!!!

These things are like fishing from your recliner in the den...but they do have their limitations. But it's lumpy-water capabilities are greater then my loon's capabilities on a shear wave-size basis. You just bob along like a cork for the most part. But I ran a quarter mile long technical section with nice big class 2/3 wave train at the bottom on that trip, that I would have sneaked river left in the Loon...and it was an absolute blast!

Not ready to give up the Loons just yet. There's a few runs I know where they are absolutely necessary, mostly due to long stretches of flat water...but I have a new *toy* that I'm enjoying immensely.

I assume you took the Approach
this time. If so, did it meet expectations? Been hearing some good things about them as a fun boat. There is/was a discussion on about problems with the skeg though.

I did take the Approach

– Last Updated: Aug-15-07 9:05 AM EST –

The more I paddle it, the more I like it. It's a touch nose heavy, and without a trimmable seat there's nothing I can do about that without adding weight to the rear. Adding weight for no reason doesn't make sense to me. I have gotten more aware of my posture when entering rapids.

The skeg isn't a problem for me because I rarely deploy it. It makes a huge difference for attaining and when paddling through slow water, especially if taking a break using low angle, lazy strokes. If floating through one of those stretches fishing it at river speed, I usually just strap the paddle down and leave the skeg up.

The boat handles swift water far better than slow water. More a downriver boat, it's not intended to be a WW play boat. I did learn about surfing this weekend and spent hours on end doing it. I can't compare it to other boats for that purpose, but can say that I was surfing it on my first attempt and enjoying myself A LOT. Still, I consider it an aggressive recreational boat rather than a whitewater boat. It functions to its design and intended purpose very well. I'm not sure I'd take it into Class 4, but that's not my purpose. I have taken it into Class 3 water with confidence. I had a Wave Sport Diesel and never did the bigger water in it anyway. For my skill level and intentions, the Approach is a far more comfortable and easy to paddle boat.

Overall, I find it to be just about ideal for the kind of paddling and fishing I do. I might gimp around a bit after a full day in the boat, though. C'est la vie.

A shot of me in the Approach during a break. You'll have to cut and paste the link.

- Big D

Hey Big D, nice pix of the RSCR. First time I’ve seen a pic of the bottom of my raft while on the water.

I think everyone that attended had a great time.

I squeezed in 7 floats over the 6 days I was there. Managed to boat 125 smallies (and 3 cases of brew for a BBR of 1.73). Biggest one on the New was 18", biggest on the Greenbrier was 19.75.

Didn’t bring my Approach this year. In fact, I haven’t paddled it since I bought my MR12 in April. That dang SOT does a great job on the big wave trains on the New as well as the technical drops on the GB. Surfed waves like it was born to it. My new thigh braces sure helped a lot. Also had enough room for all my gear for an overnighter Mon-Tues on the New.

My old paddling buddies sure have been making fun of me. After 25 years in WW yaks I moved to rec boats about 6 years ago and now I’m paddling a SOT. I guess maybe next it’ll be a rocking chair suspended between pontoons…

By the way, I’m pretty sure you went to your tent like I told you, but I don’t recall you cutting a switch like I requested… You kids shouldn’t make us adults worry like that …


Well I looked around
But there weren’t any switches in my tent to cut on. By about the third or fourth dressing down, I was getting a little hostile. I told Grubbie that I’ve met my mother and he isn’t she. Later I realized how nice it was to have people who cared whether or not I made it off the river.

Now how was I supposed to get in trouble in an inch and a half of water? I’ve stepped in deeper mud puddles. Y’all were in more danger of alcohol poisoning to think that we were in trouble on that super skinny river. I don’t recall ever having to drag kayaks 1/4 mile before. The raft an even longer drag.

The only danger we were in was from hunger. None of us ate breakfast Saturday morning, paying the price for Friday night. Although Garuchi claimed to have had breakfast, we later learned that he was referring to three Motrin as breakfast. All were too foggy to think to bring sandwiches, though we had all the makings right in camp. By 9:00PM when the boats were all strapped down and we saw Pizza Hut just across the bridge, we headed in. The five of us sat down. The waitress comes over and Garuchi orders, “Four large Supreme Pizzas, please. And two pitchers of beer.” “What crust would you like on your Supreme Pizza?” “No FOUR large Supreme Pizzas. We don’t care about the crusts.” “We have hand tossed, and thin crust and pan crust…” “One of each. Two of the first one. And beer!” “We don’t have pitchers of beer.” “Then water. But please bring the pizzas soon. We’re really hungry.”

That picture of the bottom of your raft was just as he was dropping into a chute. I had ducked into an eddy behind that rock to get shots. He was looking at the chute instead of the rock, as he should have been, but it does make for a fun picture.

  • Big D

D…good thing it was dark…
when you boys started dragging down that last 1/4 mile…that way you didn’t see all those deep, about ankle wide, fissures in all that table-top bedrock. Knowing you guys were doing that section was what had me, Yakbow and Pete concerned…we’ve done that float and seen those cracks all over the place…good place to snap an ankle. (word to the wise to store away for next time :wink:

But…no blood…no foul.

You never heard of shuffling?
I guess we were just a little more sure footed than you old farts. Plus if someone had busted an ankle, we had the perfect evacuation device with DE’s raft.

  • Big D