13' Whaler opinions?

Still agonizing over my boat decision... Driftboat/skiff/pontoon so I can fish rivers or no-motor lakes like Pass? Or small 12-14' outboard for calm days on Puget Sound and bigger lakes?

The budget and space limitations only support one boat and I like all sorts of fishing which makes both decisions wrong (and right) depending on the conditions of the day...

I need room for two (my son) and I need to be able to launch it by myself as I fish solo a lot. A boat I keep coming back to are the 13' Whalers that pop up on Craigslist regularly. They don't have as much Vee as the similarly sized aluminum Smokercraft/Lund/etc but I'm partial to Whalers. My dad had a bigger CC Whaler we used in the flats of the Florida panhandle for Reds.

Anyone have any experience with these (or similar) in the Sound?



Active Member
I used to fish out of an 11' whaler. growing up on the north end of B.I. it was a perfect boat for a young kid to take out on the sound. I got wet plenty of the time from spray but i used to drive that boat all the way up to Possession/PnP regularly with no problems. Probably not the best idea in the world, but when the weather is nice you can go just about anywhere on the sound.
As long as you watch the weather and arent afraid to call it a day when the wind starts to pick up you should be fine.
Whaler makes a great boat.
Thx D!

The bad thing is once you start looking at one boat, you automatically start looking at the boat that's one size bigger and a lot more expensive...

14' Dauntless... Hmmm....

Itchy Dog

Some call me Kirk Werner
My family has had two 13-foot Whalers since I was a kid. Great boats- very stable as you likely know. Great to fish from. With the recommended max 40 hp they really fly.

colton rogers

wishin' i was fishin'
i see a lot of whalers that size on the sound but if you got an alumin boat you could take the motor off to fish no motor lakes and row it around. you should always have oars even if you have a motor. but with a whaler the motor will probably be bolted onto the transom and a lot of aluminum that size aren't. i guess it depends on what type of fishing you want to do more of. but and aluminum boat would be better all around and they weight less, have a deeper "v" so the wind won't catch them as much, they get on a plane much faster than a whaler.
Thx D!

The bad thing is once you start looking at one boat, you automatically start looking at the boat that's one size bigger and a lot more expensive...

14' Dauntless... Hmmm....
I'm finding myself with the same problem. I quickly begin to rationalize bigger and more expensive as I search for my first boat for the Sound/lakes.


Jim Speaker

Active Member
Go bigger Jeff, then we can run the upper Columbia too. My little boat for places that are better for or require a small boat, and yours a bit bigger to handle hydraulics and crap :D
find a 15 whaler and you'll get a much better ride, those 13's are brutal. For all around ease of use and lower cost I'm partial to the aluminum boats. Whalers are good boats no doubt but they're heavy and need more power than a comparable aluminum hull. A 25 will barely plane the 13 whaler but will make a 15 foot aluminum fly. Easier to do modifications on an aluminum hull too, i.e. casting deck etc like bras de fer.

Good luck,
The newer Whalers are great Whalers. The old Whalers are just Whalers that beat the shit out of you in rough water.
iagree in particular the early 17 footers. A lot of good attributes but a good ride was not one of them. You also need to be careful for water saturation in any used one, unless perhaps you get it from the desert. The Outrage series from 89 - 95 was a great boat, incredibly versatile, bigger than the original poster was looking for however. Would be a great sound boat and they come up on CL fairly regularly.



Active Member
the first boat i had that had a motor, 10hp, i built. the second power boat was a 14' starcraft with a 25. that boat did most anything and took a real beating in step. it was a good riding boat with 2 folks aboard. i have fished some of the newer whalers in CR and i can tell you wet will be the order of the day. you can't go wrong with a modest sized aluminum boat, period! if you have a choice, look for a welded hull and prepare to hand it down to your grandkids.
Anyone have experience with the 14' Dauntless? The guys on Continuous Wave seem to like them but that's a biased population.

More vee than the smaller classics but heavier. I'm not hugely worried about speed or really rough weather (I don't go) but the ability to get home when the weather turns is a comfort. I also like the utility of center consoles, except for the price premium. It would fit in the garage which is a plus but it would cost 2X amount of a nice but basic aluminum boat which will be a tough barrier to get past.