Those who Row or Why some catch more nymphing than others.

Low water greets you when you reach the MightyMo this year but if you are towing a boat behind you eventually somebody has got to settle into the rowers seat and get after it.

Some sit int he rowers seat. Sit meaning not doing nothin’. Don’t be that guy man.

But if you are stuck in the middle, make it count man. Treat your fishing partners like you would like to be treated.

A few years ago Braden wrote an article about rowing. Check it out if you want more info here.


We get a lot of questions regarding how to catch fish from a boat. Lots.

We generally give them a map, talk about where to go, how to rig your rod, the flies to use, the depths that could be employed and things along those lines.

But we rarely talk about really how to catch more fish. And how do you do that?

We do actually talk about that, but rarely does anybody show any interest in the most important aspect, facet, role that the rower, the guy in the middle can and should and has to play.

So how do you catch more fish nymphing? These techniques apply to more than nymphing though. The rower plays the key role in how the boat is doing and the use of the net. You gotta row the same speed as the water or your whole drift is moot.

This is an article I write yearly, or twice, to get the word out to those who are ignorant of the fact that the rower plays the biggest role in nymph fishing.

Those who Row or Why do some catch more nymphing than others.

  • Row the same speed as the water for nymphing success. Fish hate slipping, sliding, and dragging fly patterns subsurface. So if the boat is hauling ass downstream, or god forbid the feller is pushing down stream with the oars, I see it everyday, then the boat might as well be on a booze cruise, cause ain’t nobody catching them in that boat.
  • That means the rower has to engage those overpriced paddles into the water. Dip them into the water, pull back slowing the boat to match the current speed, and repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
  • You gotta watch the flies whether it be the bobber, or a blind dry fly and keep the boat moving at approximately the same seed as the current. You get better at it with practice. You gotta start doing it or the whole deal is moot. It think we covered that but by watching other boats out there including maybe your buddies screwing the dog, not everybody has heard it.
  • DSCF0234 copy 2

    Big Browns are caught in conjunction with good rowing practices.

    You gotta teach your friends this rowing game. It is up to you if you are the reader saying, YES SQUEEKY I KNOW THIS BUT MY BUDDIES ARE NOT TOO SMART! Take the bull by the horns and educate those friends of yours and ours!

  • If you are the reader that is saying to yourself, Rowing is easy Squeeky. “Just pull those overpriced paddles out of the water and let the river help you downstream.” You may also be the reader that does not use the net often.
  • I cannot stress enough here in this article, blog, rant, that the rower plays the most important role in drift fishing. I know the boat drifts downstream, I know that and that the smart rowers use the river to their advantage, the flow and the current. But those oars sticking out from the sides of the boat are there for a reason. To guide, to help, to allow the angler fore and aft to make the proper presentations for fish catching.
  • We at Headhunters give rowing lessons daily. You can even fish too. Hire the guide and watch him or her dip the oars in the water 10 gazillion times per day. And if you want some real time on the blades, the guide will certainly help and sit in the back and gently school and educate you the new rower.  Education is the proper way to learn. Or if you want to got the cheaper route, watch some boats catching fish and watch how often the oars contact the water. Lots. Lots and lots.
  • Those who use the oars more often catch fish more often.
  • Rowing is not all that easy. It is experiential based. You have to do it to learn. The more you do it the more you learn. Yes, the better rowers have rowed more often. Funny how that works. Is it rocket science? No, not at all. But you gotta do it to learn it. You will not learn by reading this blog. While that hurts me to say I’m sobbing now it is totally true. I’m just trying to light the fire to those who have not yet realized that they are the problem. That their buddy is not all that bad an angler, that his pleading for you the rower to engage in the game is not forgotten or unheard. I hear you my fishy friends. You the rower may be the problem. You have to participate in the sport too.
  • Drag Free Drifts Catch Fish. Honest. Trust me, I’m a fishing guide.
  • Another great way to catch more fish, to use the net more often is having and using the ability to change. Another rule that I preach often here on the Headhunters Fly Fishing Blog is the Change Clause. Change things up when your program is not working.
  • Change is the key to breaking the bad, and hopefully getting into the good. We can only control a few aspects of fly fishing. The drift is the 1st. The depth is the 2nd. The fly is the 3rd. The presentation is the 4th. Oh, that is the same as the 1st. The drift/presentaion is key to even getting the fish to approach the fly. That is about it. And, and if row boy is not doing his part…all of it goes in the shitter.
  • The bottom line is this, according to me the writer today…It really does not matter what the fly is if it is not presented properly. And presentation includes the right speed of the craft, if indeed you are boat fishing. Any fly can suck if it is not presented properly. The wrong depth for the fly. Bad. Bad presentation? Bad.
  • Change is good as I stated above and previously many times. Those who practice static fishing behaviors do not catch as many fish.
  • I know that the entire day is important and that fishing is not everything. That the day and the fellowship is important and I put all of the eggs in that basket myself, but, but, but…not everybody feels that way. Lots of fellers like to rope the trout and put up some numbers. Or at least 1 number. So to those haters that cannot use information for what it is worth. Sit on it. This is your disclaimer. It is not all about the number. I agree. But why not practice positive fishing/drifting/rowing behaviors. Execute and you shall be rewarded.

That is my Wednesday morning rant. Take it or leave it. To those who have fishing pals that cannot row, forward this blog to them. For those of you who cannot row and do not understand the whole game, watch others out there on the water and learn. To those who already believe that they are good rowers and this cannot possibly be about them, that they do not fall into this category…look hard at yourself and question yourself.

You will ultimately know what party you are in if you get an email with this article forwarded to you…then you will know.

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