Looking for our first raft

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Hypobaricstalker, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. Hypobaricstalker

    Hypobaricstalker New Member

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    My fishing buddy and I are looking into buying a raft in early 2012 but have no experience drifting. We live in colorado so know that we need a raft, and not a drift boat due to the rapids and lower flows.

    From what I have gathered, it appears an AIRE super duper puma (14') and an NRS frame seem to be the best bet but we would like to have a firm floor if we can.

    Thinks we would like

    firm flooring
    ice chest capable, under a chair preferred
    storage box, under a chair preferred
    anchor system
    3 person capable
    rod holders and support mounts.


    Looking for opinions from people of experience.

    Charlie
     
  2. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Those inflatable floors get pretty damn hard. I'd say they are firm. Why not put coolers in bays, pinned between cross bars and use them as your seats? Coolers are great storage boxes. If you get a raft that is wide enough, and coolers wide enough you can put rod tubes in one of them, cold stuff in another and solve most of your storage needs. There are seat brackets that attach to cross bars that will flip forward. I got one from Clavey and it fits my NRS crossbars just fine. If you have to have a seat, this works and you can still put your cooler under the seat bracket. NRS is one great source, consider Maravia too. Most have or can be outfitted with anchor systems that work great. My 14' cataraft does well with 3 dudes, so a raft with the closed front, rear and floor will handle that weight even better. Best of luck.
     
  3. Jake Dixon

    Jake Dixon Member

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    I have a 13' Aire D series raft with a NRS frame. I like the bladder system and the frame has been great. The floor can be a little tricky because it curves down toward the sides. I believe Maravia has a drop stitch floor. Those are very rigid and don't slope as much. NRS also makes platforms that would make it easy to stand.

    Best of luck. Post some pics when you get it rigged.
     
  4. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    I have a super duper puma with an adjustable (essentially the same idea as the NRS type) frame. I just got back from fishing the Deschutes for 4 days, although you can't fish from the boat for some dumb ass reason on that river. I have had it nearly 5 years and it is a great fishing rig. Send me a pm and I will email you several rigging ideas specific to the super duper puma. Look at aire's deals page for a demo or factory blemished super duper puma this winter, they should have some for a good discount. I bought a factory send SDP and you can't even see the belmish. I forgot where it is even.

    The outcat boats are the same as the SDP. IF you want a good frame with casting decks for fishing, the outcast frame is a good one. Seams like I see them for sale (frame) a bit on craigslist
    http://www.outcastboats.com/outcast/products/default.aspx?id=19
     
  5. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    I have an Aire 143D. The boat has been flawless in the five years I've owned it.
    My frame has a hard floor in the front, back and rowers area. After having the hard floor and using boats without, I won't want a boat without the hard floor. It is just more confortable to fish out of over a full day, especially as I've gotten older.
    The only down side of the hard floor is weight, but I'll take it as a trade-off for the stability when fishing.
    You might want to check out the NRS, Sotar and Maravia boats as well.

    One other thing I didn't see on your list was a trailer. Having the boat set up and ready to fish all the time is the way to go. Setting up and breaking down a 14' boat before and after every trip isn't what I consider fun.
     
  6. Luke WL.

    Luke WL. New Member

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    Hey all, Im the friend who is looking to get the raft with Charlie.

    Shapp, it looks like yours is only set up for two people correct? Im guessing since you dont have the rear hoop (your frame is an NRS correct?) you just slid the crossbars for the rower back? would you think your raft would be too small for 3 people with gear?
     
  7. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    I used to have Recretec front and rear casting decks, The pic with the action seat up front and lean bar is using the front Recretec casting deck. I don't have a good pick of the boat set with the front and rear decks with the back person siting on a seat mounted over the rear of the boat. I actually found that I didn't like the person in the back and also found that I didn't particularly like or use the front casting deck much so I sold those. I have another casting deck I made for use up front now and don't fish someone out of the back. I have taken a few multiday fishing trips with 3 people and gear and put the two upfront side by side, howevever, we are not usually fly fishing using casting, but side drifting with a fly rod or jig rod. My main fishing rig is a cataraft now, but if you could have just one boat, the SPD would do it all for my needs. The frame on the SDP is an "nrs" like frame that I build using a variety of "speedrail" type fittings and some NRS fittings. If you are thinking multiday consistently with all camping gear and 3 anglers, I would probalby consider going to an Aire 14 round boat for extra weight hauling. If you are doing mostly day trips with 3 fishing go SDP.
     
  8. Hypobaricstalker

    Hypobaricstalker New Member

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    Shapp, I'm assuming the sdp is the super duper puma? What was it about an angler inthe rear you did not like? I've been talking to Luke about a 14' over a 13' for a little more space, but he's concerned about Manu erability if we increase length. Also looking hard at the streamtechs.

    We will be looking for a trailer but want to nail a bOat down before we look for a trailer.
     
  9. veilside180sx

    veilside180sx Member

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    SDP is Super Duper Puma.

    An underloaded 143 will maneuver much better than an over loaded SDP.
     
  10. Hypobaricstalker

    Hypobaricstalker New Member

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    I don't understand your comment about the under loaded/over loaded boat, I mean of coarse something over loaded is not going to perform as well as something under loaded. Can you explain what you were trying to say a little bit more please?
     
  11. JS

    JS Active Member

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    I think what he is trying to say is that even though the 143 will be larger than the Super Duper Puma, the 143 will still be more responsive than the Super Duper Puma if the later is over loaded. Or in other words, you can carry more gear without sacrificing manuverability in the 143.

    Personally, I row a 13' Aire Tributary with an NRS frame. It has been awesome; it's not huge, but it can carry enough gear for three guys for a three-fourday stretch. A word to the wise, don't skimp on the oars. When I first bought my raft I, like an idiot, thought that I could get by with Carlisle standard aluminum shafts. They suck, they tear your hands appart and offer zero flex when you are digging. Go with composite shafts, you won't regret it.
     
  12. Hypobaricstalker

    Hypobaricstalker New Member

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    Thanks JS. What is it about the D series that makes it more manuverable? I was under the assumption the puma series was supposed to the the most manuverable. We don't plan on going cheap on the oars, but thanks for the heads up. This is why we are asking questions now. We don't plan on buying till about march, but want to get it all figured out ahead of time.
     
  13. Hypobaricstalker

    Hypobaricstalker New Member

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    Never mind, i read a little it more. Why would AIRE (Outcast) put their frame on a puma rather than a D series...
     
  14. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    No doubt a 14R will carry more than the SPD, but how much stuff do you really need to haul? On another note, I have packed my SDP to the hilt and have yet to find it "overloaded". does this SDP rig look overloaded for an 8 day trip with 6 people and only 1 other 14 foot raft for support for 3 kayaks? We weren't eating ramen either (steak, dutch oven deep dish pizze, etc. 100's of beers). Rowed class III+ in it no problem fully loaded, carrying many dry bags in the back, kitchen box, 80 quart Yeti cooler, drop bag up front with table deck, kayak, and Todd, 2 - 20 mm rocket boxes on either side of the cockpit with dutch ovens and charcoal, plus my old 42 lbs dog Simon (RIP), and 150 beers in the drop bag, and my 195 lbs naked :), this was an 8 day trip on the Salmon River.

    And while carslisles are lower end, I have rowed a bunch of class IV with them no problem, they work just fine.

    The one thing I really got the SDP for was small technical rivers, like various sections of the Owyhee at low water where haveing a narrower boat is the key to not getting stuck between boulders, and I can pick it up and move it around my self for cleaning and loading etc.. You can't pick up a 14R by yourself unless your name is Hoss Cartright.
     
  15. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I'd say that's far from overloaded. I can see inside that raft. LOL. Man, I remember loading up an older Maravia raft so damned full I barely had room to sit in the damned thing and row. Don't miss those days at all. Love the description though. You had me ROLLING! I always loved loading the beverages up. Mostly because I knew that between food and beverages that boat was ALOT lighter by end of the trip.
     
  16. JS

    JS Active Member

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    I never said they didn't work, I still have mine today. They have gotten me through every big rapid on the Deschutes, save Oak Springs, but they tear up your hands if you are rowing fisherman all day. So it depends on what you are actually doing with them, because if you are just rafting and your oar strokes are limited to keeping you in the middle of the river, you will be fine. Although, if you are trying to fish people out of the boat, and you are contantly trying to slow the boat down and put it 25' from the bank, your hands will feel it (especially on high gradient rivers). Just my experience. As far as the SDP being overloaded, I was just trying to interpret.....I have never owned that boat, only riden in one.
     
  17. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

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    Check out the Sawyer Square Tops with Dynalite blades - I've been using them for just over a year, and they are sweet.
     
  18. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    No disrespect, but I suppose it depends on what you do for a job, doesn't bother my hands at all, but I also do a lot of climbing and work a lot with my hands. We use carsliles for the drift boat too, winter steelhead fishing, and I don't know if you have ever been on the Owyhee or John day, but there is alot of rowing to be done even if you aren't fishing. I did 29 miles in one day to get to Clarno on the JD with a upstream wind nearly the whole way, near 12 hours straight of rowing, one of the longest days of my life with 9' carslilses, I don't particulary remember an issue with my hands from the oars although I was pretty tired in general. Seriously if your hands are taking a beating, try some bagbalm and also a pair of fingerless rowing gloves could make a big difference.
     
  19. bvhike

    bvhike New Member

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  20. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Lots of good info from the previous posters. We built some floor-less frames for guys who either didn't want the extra weight or didn't want to spend the extra money. If you never fish from the raft, then floors are not really needed because, like what was already mentioned, they inflate pretty hard. However, since I want to fish on the move and appreciate a solid standing platform, I would never NOT get a raft without floors as a personal boat. To me, they are worth the the extra weight and cost.

    Pretty hard to go wrong with those raft brands mentioned. Streamtech is great looking, high quality boat and the price reflects it. If money were no issue...

    Since you are located in CO, you should check out Downriver Equipment, an Aire dealer. I would think they could save you some substantial coin on shipping charges. If you are looking for a simple rowing frame, a standard NRS frame would be a good bet. If you are looking for something a little more custom, we could put together a package that you'd be proud to own.

    Regarding oars, there have been a lot of stream miles rowed with 9' Carlile oars. Reasonably priced and durable, they can do the job. However, after trying some of the counter balanced carbon oars I feel they are much more comfortable to use. A lot of it depends on your strength and stamina. The situation Shapp described on the John Day is pretty amazing. I wouldn't want to do that with a kicker, let alone Carlile oars. But everyone has different abilities and expectations.

    I attached a few pictures, including a sneak peak of our custom frame with four floors, plenty of room for coolers, dry bags, rod holders, removable lean bars, adjustable seats, and a Leelock anchor system which has a great safety feature that won't accidently trip while negotiating rapids.

    Happy shopping. You are taking the right approach...starting early and getting lots of opinions.
     

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