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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to poling a flats boat, any suggestions on a good place to practice around Charleston? Preferably somewhere isolated so I'm not bothering other people and completely embarrassing myself.
 

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I'm new to poling a flats boat, any suggestions on a good place to practice around Charleston? Preferably somewhere isolated so I'm not bothering other people and completely embarrassing myself.

Find a friend that likes to fly fish and offer to pole him around. He will yell at you until you figure it out lol. Seriously just put someone on the front and try. It’s something that comes quick, just don’t fight the boat. Let the current, wind, etc help you make the boat do what you want.
 

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Lip Ripper
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Find a creek and just pole. It takes a few times to get it dialed in but it won't be that difficult after a while. Eventually you won't even think about it. Where are you in Charleston?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Find a creek and just pole. It takes a few times to get it dialed in but it won't be that difficult after a while. Eventually you won't even think about it. Where are you in Charleston?
I live on James Island, thanks for the advice
 

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You'll be doing a lot of overcorrecting at first. If you're on a soft bottom don't overwork it. I have switched out with friends and when they get on the platform they ask how I was doing it. The key in mud is to push hard enough to get the skiff moving and no harder. If you really get after it your are just burying your pole further in the mud, then you have to get said pole out of the mud which kills your forward momentum and gets you worn out and frustrated quickly.

Also, I have found over the years that I use my hip to put or hold pressure against the pole. Hard to explain. Rivets and snaps on your pants are not your friend here.
 

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This is going to sound crazy, but it will eventually help... I think... lol.

Think of your skiff as a shopping cart that you’ve turned around and are pushing backwards. The front wheels are locked, as is your bow, in that it wants to inherently track straight. The back wheels freely pivot, as does th flatter aspect of your stern.

If you want to turn your backwards shopping cart right, you kick out the back end to the left... push the stern out towards the left, the skiff will pivot and track right.

Figure out what side (L or R) you prefer to pole from, face the bow, and let her rip. A few hours and some 360’s later you’ll have it down. Gentle nudges and slow going are your goals. Have fun!
 

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Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
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This is going to sound crazy, but it will eventually help... I think... lol.

Think of your skiff as a shopping cart that you’ve turned around and are pushing backwards. The front wheels are locked, as is your bow, in that it wants to inherently track straight. The back wheels freely pivot, as does th flatter aspect of your stern.

If you want to turn your backwards shopping cart right, you kick out the back end to the left... push the stern out towards the left, the skiff will pivot and track right.

Figure out what side (L or R) you prefer to pole from, face the bow, and let her rip. A few hours and some 360’s later you’ll have it down. Gentle nudges and slow going are your goals. Have fun!
Yep, I think I remember feeling like I was backing a trailer. It's also pretty much the same way your motor propels the boat. You'll get the hang of the basics quickly.

The good thing is the areas shallow enough to pole aren't generally the areas where you'll be bothering people. The shallower the water, the easier it is (as long as you're floating, of course).
 

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Mostly Harmless
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Any secluded oyster flat will work, but get out once the tide turns. Avoid the deep cuts. Other notes:

1.) Take your cell phone out of your pocket.

2.) Go with a friend who can get the boat back to you if you fall out. Watching your boat blow off the flat and across the Intracoastal Canal while you are stuck in pluff mud is a sickening feeling.

3.) Load some extra weight in the bow. If the boat floats reasonably level, the bow wants to stay straight. If the bow is light, the wind will blow it around.

4.) I had a buddy who was way too serious about how badly he poled. The more we laughed at him, the more he tried to muscle the pole. He ended up facing where he came from more often than not. If you can’t laugh at your own expense, you’ll be the only one cussing.

Nate
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Just Do It...

And yes, you will over correct ALOT in the beginning...
 

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Yep all of these suggestions are great! What ever you do DO NOT PUSH TOO HARD INTO MUD. Less is more mentality applies here. I would google earth it to find hard bottom sand, you will have a much better time learning. Or just wait till your flood tides get going and push over land.
 

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Look for short grass in the marsh. That's where the hard bottom is. To turn right, plant the pole to the right of your transom, to turn left, plant it on the left side. Don't pole in soft mud if you can avoid it.
 
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Sometimes if you're poling in soft bottom, and you're kind of trying to get after it a little bit, you can get pulled backward off balance a bit when the pole gets stuck in the mud. It's something to watch out for. I like to give the pole about a 90 degree twist as I come forward with it to help free it.
 

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This is going to sound crazy, but it will eventually help... I think... lol.

Think of your skiff as a shopping cart that you’ve turned around and are pushing backwards. The front wheels are locked, as is your bow, in that it wants to inherently track straight. The back wheels freely pivot, as does th flatter aspect of your stern.

If you want to turn your backwards shopping cart right, you kick out the back end to the left... push the stern out towards the left, the skiff will pivot and track right.

Figure out what side (L or R) you prefer to pole from, face the bow, and let her rip. A few hours and some 360’s later you’ll have it down. Gentle nudges and slow going are your goals. Have fun!
This really helped, I am new to the game as well. Thanks for supplying good info to the newbs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks to everyone for the advice. My poling leaves a lot to be desired right now, but practice makes perfect
 
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