Buying a Drift boat

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by corysean99, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. corysean99

    corysean99 New Member

    I am looking into getting a drift boat. It more than likely will be a used one to save on cost. I have read a lot of reviews of the different kind and material. What are everyones takes on Aluminum? It seems like it would be a more versital boat compared to a fiberglass boat. Out of most used boats I have seen probably 2/3rds are aluminum of all different brands. then the rest a split between wood and fiberglass. I am not really looking into getting a wood boat. It seems like most glass boats are either Lavro, Clackacraft or some off brand that isnt around, not many Hydes though. The boat would mostly be used for the yakima and maybe a small lake a few times a year. A hopefully in the future some other rivers. It wouldnt be solely a flyfishing boat.


  2. Jergens

    Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    if you are primarily fishing the yakima get a glass boat, they slide over the rocks easier in low flows, are more comfortable on the inside, have more options than most metal boats, and are set up for fly fishing, not modified to fly fish out of. also, there are a ton of hydes out there, but i would recommend buying a clack, it will last you forever, are much more finished on the inside than hydes, and are a couple g's less, plus clacks customer service is head and shoulders above hyde. another boat to check out is Ro's.
  3. 2506

    2506 Member

    I think the sliding-over-the-rocks-easier is a myth, especially with the application of Glovit. I know an aluminum boat will definitely bounce off a rock much better than a glass boat. Try taking a glass boat down a river like the Rogue in the winter and you may just leave it there. Also, I don't think the fly deck is removable on Hyde boats, that's a nice option to have. I may just be old-fashioned, but I think an aluminum boat will outlast a glass one, all things being equal.
  4. Greg Price

    Greg Price Love da little fishies

    Hi Cory,

    My father and I own a 35 year old, ugly Wooldridge aluminum drift boat. We used it in the past for pulling plugs for steelhead in Western WA rivers, but now it sees more time fly fishing the Yak. It is by far the ugliest boat I see on the Yak which is a source of pride for me. Here are some things to think about aluminum vs fiberglass. (I assume wood is out unless you are a purist and love the look/feel and high maintenance of wood)

    1. Summer Wind on the Yak. Although our boat was a “guide” model with lower sides than similar boats of it’s time, our boat’s bow and sides are higher than the newer low profile Clacks and Hydes. Over the past 10 years on the Yak, the wind has pushed to the bank on more than one occasion. I have never rowed a low profile boat in a wind storm, but it must be easier to row than our older boat.
    2. Summer Heat – The Yak in the summer gets lots of sun. Our old boat is bare aluminum interior. The sun reflects from the interior, making more glare and heat.. The aluminum rails get hot to the touch in during a hot summer day.
    3. Fall/Winter –Yak Low water. Aluminum excels because we do not worry about sliding the boat over rocks. The bottom is made of aircraft grade aluminum and has not dented over the years of abuse. The sides will dent, but the only when the oarsman is not paying attention to the river. The only way to get a side dent is to hit a rock on the side that is visible because it is sticking completely out of the water.
    4. Cost: Late model used Clacks or Hydes will set you back a minimum of 5k with trailer. I purchased “old ugly” this boat complete for under 1,000. My dad and I added about 1500 in improvements so we have a very usable boat/trailer for under 3k.
    5. Materials Aluminum – Less Maintenance. No polishing, no filling of gel coat when you hit rocks. Aluminum sticks to rocks unless you put a slick coating on the bottom. We fished from our boat for a few years without the coating. When on the Yak during fall low flows, we hit rocks that stopped our boat fast enough to knock the passenger down, almost throwing him out of the boat, making for great stories around the campfire. The slick coating on the bottom eliminates this problem, but the coating falls off over time (I think it is due to UV exposure my boat gets as a result of being stored outside year round). We re-coat it every 3-5 years.
    6. Appearance: Those newer low profile Clacks and Hydes look sleek and cool with their multi color paint jobs and low profile. Fancy interiors with adjustable seats and lots of storage. Almost makes a person want to buy one just for the looks of them. The only reason I can think of not to own a fancy new fiberglass boat is cost.

    As a side note, my uncle just purchased a 2 year old Clack and is storing it at my dad’s house. I have not been able to row new boat, but it sure makes “old ugly” look uglier. I am wondering if I will like “old ugly” after rowing the new boat. Everyone says the new Clacks with the gulf stream bottom and tunnel hull are easier to row. We will see.

    No matter what drift boat you get, it will be one of the best boat investments you ever make. They are simple, relatively cheap (when compaired to motor boats) and will get you to the fish that you cannot access by wading, especially during the high flows on the Yak.
  5. Chironomid Guy

    Chironomid Guy New Member

    I dont know if you can find a used Marvia Spyder, but if you can, they cant be beat. Kevlar impregnated, slides over rocks like a greased pig, 28" tubes, self bailing floor you can walk on, and only about 4.5 Ft wide X 10ft long, very manuverable............ and made in Idaho. I've had mine for over 10 years and it has never let me down. I used an NRS guide frame since it is a bit higher for the client seats then the Maravia frame. I have drug this thing up and down some nasty rip rap, over logs, across pavement (to the access point) and havent had to patch it yet!!! Aluminum get hung up on rocks, glass chips and cracks


  6. Bryan Williamson

    Bryan Williamson Willybethere

    All worthy considerations. Another that hasn't been mentioned is that aluminum is louder than fiberglass, so if you're fishing lower/trout rivers vs. higher/steelhead rivers the aluminum is much louder when hitting rocks. The effects of highside vs. lowside boats are definetely something to consider when considering trip down the Madison River (if you're considering Rocky Mountain trips) will make you want the lowest sided boat possible. For what it's worth I own a 16 LP Clackacraft and have nothing bad to say about it.
  7. Kirk Singleton

    Kirk Singleton Capt Kirk

    I love my '08 clack fb. BUT if I was mostly a steelheader and fished the big rivers I would have a Willies. My old boat was a Koffler guide and it was very tough. I think I hit every rock in Montana with it. It looked like a bent up beer can but still fishes.
  8. jeff bandy

    jeff bandy Make my day

    View attachment 14601
    Got to agree with some of the observed downsides of AL. boats.
    Few things I like about mine.
    Lots of walk around room, especially if you can take out the front seat.
    Easy to drag. I've drug mine over gravel bars, logs and such.
    Easy to fix. :beer2:
  9. henry'sforkbum

    henry'sforkbum New Member

    I definetly wouldnt go aluminum, but if your looking 4 dirt cheap, that might be the way to go. I've got a RO 16 ft guide model that I absolutely love. depending on the rivers you fish and your rowing ability you might want to go with a skiff. Especially if your in the wind and dodging rocks. Check out the Ro skiff, south fork Skiff, and premiere X series skiff. I've heard nothing but good things about them all.
  10. Brett Holmstrom

    Brett Holmstrom New Member

    I wouldn't shy away from a hyde. I had one for 5 years, sweet boat. Customer service was solid. Get a used hyde or clack if the yak is your main river. Get a highside, I'd rather struggle a bit in the wind than swamp a lowside in bigger water.
  11. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

    Dave Roberts has guided on the upper Rogue for years with a low side Clack. He swears by them. After rowing his, I picked up a used 07 steelhead deluxe. Not a low profile model. I wanted a bench front seat. I was on the river in feb when the flow was down to 650cfs. That bottom just flexes and slides over those low spots where I thought I was gonna have to get out & walk it through. Not everyone likes that bottom flexing. The Hydes probably flex too. But you don't feel it because of the false floor. They all have their pluses and minuses.

    Since I bought mine, I've seen several Clacks & Hydes come up for sale. Check out craigs list.
  12. Jason Decker

    Jason Decker Active Member

    go to the evening hatch and have them take you out for a spin in one of their boats.
    they helped me buy my clacka and it really helps to get out on the water if you can
    before buying.
  13. EasyE

    EasyE Member

    I know Reds Fly Shop rents clacks, the evening hatch may also. Spend a day rowing one and see how you like it. My guess is you will love it and want to purchase one. Check the Reds website, they have some used ones for sale.
  14. Guy Gregory

    Guy Gregory Active Member

    Buy a used boat for as little money as you can. Stop obsessing about materials. Spend good money on good lifejackets, three oars, a throwbag, some line, a spare tire for the trailer and a cooler. Paint it, fix it up, do what it takes to make it safe and good looking. Row it for a while, and make up your own mind. I predict you'll learn that high maintenance for wood is true, but worth it; low maintenance for aluminum is true, but not worth it; fiberglass has positives and negatives; but they're pretty nice boats, too.

    It's not your last boat. They come in and out of your lives like women do, you're excited when you meet, bittersweet as they leave, but generally a bit richer for the experience.

    To paraphrase: Never buy a pretty boat, always buy an ugly one. When the pretty boat leaves you, you'll be in a rut. When the ugly boat leaves, so what?
  15. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

    iagree Guyg pretty much has it nailed. So I'll be brief and only add a bit more.

    You don't see many Hydes, new or used, because they are expensive. Aluminum boats seem to be favored by bait & gear people because they usually track straighter. And you can put a heater in them. Inflatables can be a pain in the a$$. UV wrecks havok on them. Air pressure has to be carefully monitored as it will change with the temperature and altitude.

    Decide whether you want to fish out of it, or just use it for transportation. Will it be stored outside? Under a roof/carport? Or garaged? Have fun.
  16. I bought a 1970's Eastside Wood/glass boat a few months ago. I know that I want a clack, but I wanted to make sure I enjoyed rowing a D/B before I committed to the expense. I picked-up mine for $1200 with the ungliest damn homemade trailer youd ever seen. I did a little work to her, added a 3rd seat and a better anchor system and love it!!! She already came with extra oars and life jackets, so I just replaced the drain plugs and added a throw rope. I think I probably spent about $150 extra.

    My plan it to refinish her this winter. The brown paint is all ash and will look amazing with a coat or two of epoxy and UV protector. It'll be a good project.

    I spend as much time as possible searching for metalheads on the Cowlitz and love rowing that damn boat. My pals love it to, because I always want to row....ptyd She aint the prettiest thing out there, but it works for me. I figured if I can handle this boat, a clack will be a dream.

    Good luck...If you have friends that can let you try out their boats...Go for it..It's like finding that perfect spey rod/line combo. What works for one, may not necessarily work for you...
  17. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member