From the Oar Seat

Sean Visintainer - 09/28/16

Behind the oars.

Go with the flow.

Jake Hood, our Lead Spokane River Guide, recently wrote a piece about life behind the oars. I thought it was an extremely well written piece of how rowing a river parallels life's many obstacles. Jake has been fortunate to spend many days of his working life behind the oars, a profession that can be as challenging as anything on your patience, but also very rewarding. It's not a life style for everyone, and it's certainly not a glamorous as people think, but for those that have rowed a boat professionally, or recreationally, I'm sure you will relate to Jake's insight from the oar seat.

  • My time in the oar seat has paid dividends in my life that can't be matched.
  • There's much about day-to-day living that parallels rowing a drift boat.
  • With no motor the boat is limited to going with the flow, and while I can on occasion row back upstream it's impossible to get back to the launch point.
  • Once I'm feet on the floor the day proceeds.
  • Rowing the Spokane requires skill, foresight and awareness.
  • There are rapids, rocks and narrow slots that all have to be negotiated with precision and grace.
  • In nearly every instance the very best way to approach these features is to point the bow directly at the obstacle and let the river show you the best way around or over it.
  • If you pull on the oars with purpose you can control the boats speed, but the fact is the river doesn't stop. The takeout is always downstream.
  • Spend too much time in one place and you'll squander the moments you would have spent on those reaches lower in the float that you'll have to rush by to beat the impending darkness.
  • It will get dark, and those obstacles you see so well in the light of day become invisible.
  • There is no obstacle near as dangerous as darkness on the river.
  • Face those hurdles in the light. Balance and skill will carry your craft lightly downstream.
  • Launch with confidence. Keep an eye out as you travel. Keep your bow pointed downstream, don't hit those rapids sideways.
  • Rest when the river allows and work diligently where it's required.
  • Commit to memory the obstacles, big or small, that don't change but never get complacent.
  • And always give it your best.
  • Of all the things I do, rowing a drift boat has given me the most satisfaction.
  • - Jake Hood

    Lead Spokane River Guide, Silver Bow Fly Shop