Thursday, November 29, 2012


This video is from a couple years ago. It was taken from the front of my boat by my buddy Rick on his cell phone. That in itself is amazing enough to me. I understand the technology, the nuts and bolts. But it still amazes me. I remember as a kid reading Dick Tracy in the funny pages on Sunday mornings and thinking about how cool that wristwatch phone would be. Turns out that phone way understated the eventual reality.

I'm not a phone guy. I generally don't carry one with me and I never answer it when it rings. Drives my poor wife crazy. The thing is, and I know this is just a strange peccadillo of mine, the phone feels like a shackle to me. It reminds me of back when I used to smoke. The reason I quit smoking wasn't for health. It wasn't because they were expensive or because they smell bad. It was because I didn't like the dependency. I didn't like that I HAD to have them with me. I didn't like the control they had over me.

Phones seem to have taken the place of cigarettes for a bunch of people today. They can't go anywhere without them. They're a constant to them.

They're an addiction.

I know myself too well. I know that if I had one of those new phones I'd be just like the other guys with my face buried in a screen all day, nervously fidgeting with the virtual buttons.

I've got enough problems. I don't need to add any more.

But back to the river. It's funny, and awe inspiring, how nature can change things. Everything you see in this video has changed. In fact, if I took you up there you wouldn't recognize it. The river isn't even in the same place anymore. One bout of high water and a new channel formed, carved away all kinds of farmland, silted up everything for a couple miles downstream and changed it all. The first turn to the left is still there but the approach has changed. After that, it's all new. And it's all fairly deep.

A good deal of the water we're running through in this video is only about 3 inches deep. You can see the rocks and trees as we pass over them. My boat has an outboard jet powering it. It's not a jet like you'd see on a plane but it's sort of the same principle. It's a pump that replaces the lower unit. It takes water in through an intake in the bottom, increases the velocity and shoots it out the back. And that propels the boat forward. It's not real efficient. These pumps eat up about 25-30% of the engine's power. My engine has a 40 horse power head but it only produces 30 horse at the pump.

But the inefficiency is balanced by the lack of draft. On plane I can get through 3-4 inches of water with no problem. I've gone through shoals thinner than that but it gets kind'a dicey. You ain't doing that with a prop.

On our Ozark rivers shallow is the norm. So are pumps, as these types of drive systems are called. Apparently, they aren't found too many other places. Oregon and Colorado seem to be the others. But those are bigger boats on bigger and more dangerous rivers.

With winter coming on I like to look at these videos and pictures from the river in summer. Fishing's pretty well done with now, though we're going to go up and try to catch some walleyes next month. And the bowfishing/gigging time is right around the corner. But those are cold sports. Fun but really, really cold. And I like the summer.

So here I sit, swaddled in long underwear and sipping a cup of coffee, remembering summer. Thought I'd pass some along.


  1. Hey Tom!
    I popped over from Kathy's blog to say howdy!
    I hear ya' on the phone thingy, it annoys me to see people walking around with their face glued to the screen ignoring everything and everyone around them. Funny about your comment on quitting smoking, I actually quit because every.single.time. I had my picture taken, I was trying to hide the cigarette! ;)

  2. Hi Tom
    I to popped over from Kathy's blog. I will be showing this blog a lot to my husband. He loves hunting and fishing. ( that where we get most our meat from ) I have already shown him this video. Luckily living in California we can pretty much fish all year.

  3. Thanks for coming by, guys. I'm not sure what direction this is going to take so bear with me.