Response to jet boat at shoals below Jones Bridge

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Posted by Bob on July 15, 1998 at 07:33:21:

I believe it was me that you saw in the boat at the shoals below the boat ramp at Jones Bridge last Saturday morning. As always, there are two sides to a story. But before I tell my side, I want to apologize to anyone who thought I was not handling my boat properly. I always try to be considerate of others on the river.

My side of the story:
My fishing partner and I launched my boat (a 16' jon boat w/ a jet 30 motor) at the Jones Bridge boat ramp last Saturday morning at around 9:30. There were about 6 - 8 float tubers launching or already launched. We proceded down river on our way to Horseshoe Bend. The float tubers were still above the shoals in deep water.
They had the whole river covered in formation. We slowed down when we got to the float tubers, but I was going slow and not even close to be on plane. I do remember coming within 10' feet of one float tuber, a young man in camo neopreme waders - no shirt or hat - spinning rod, but I was at dead idle speed going past him. I maneuvered my boat to river left (heading downstream stream) to go over the shoals river left (east bank). I had to power up to put the boat on plane to get over the rocks and to maneuver the shallow water below the shoals. At this point I was below the float tubers. Upon crossing the shoals I turned hard right then hard left coming within 40-50' feet of two wading fishermen. After that we did not encounter anybody else on our way to Horseshoe Bend.

I talked to my fishing partner, Todd, this morning, asking him if we were going too fast through the float tubers. He did not think so as I do not think so. The two wading fishermen are friends of mine, Ken and Wes. I talked to Ken last night, asking him if I bothered him going past him as he was wading. His answer was NO. The young man in the camo waders and his buddy floated past us in the afternoon while we were having lunch. We talked about fishing and a swamped boat upstream, but neither said anything about us going too fast though the float tubers.

I was surprised to see your response. I think you are over reacting to the situation as you over estimated the size of my boat and motor. You paint a picture of a jet boat on plane at high speed going through a maze of fishermen in the shoals. I think this is misleading. I will concede that this section of the river is too crowded on weekends for a jet boat. This was my first time on this section of river in a boat on a weekend. I do not like to put my self in position were I can not slow down to idle to pass people, but as Hooker said, sometimes you can not slow down in shallow water without bottoming out or pulling sand through the motor. Again, I do not believe that I acted in an arrogant and reckless manner. Above the shoals, I was at a slow speed and in control of the boat. I do not want to give a bad rap to jet boaters. Jet boats are a great tool for fishing the river.

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