Looking for our first raft

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

  1. I have an Achilles raft with rectech frame and it is about as bulletproof as rafts get. I would rather really load the 12'6" than deal with the added weight and size of a 14'. Just my two cents.
     
  2. My experience is with 12' to 14.5' self bailing rafts and a 14' nrs cataraft. For a shallow boney river conditions don't even for a minute consider a cataraft, all your weight is distributed on just the pontoons which will make them ride much deeper in the water and hang up on everything(Catarafts have their place, less rowing effort to hold in a swift run). A self bailing raft will distribute the weight much more evenly and will ride much shallower in the water. That being said a 14' raft has much more surface area and will float much higher than say a 12' raft(when they are loaded with the same amount of gear/cargo). For 3 people I wouldn't go any smaller than 13'. I prefer a 14' or 14'6" self bailing raft with nrs fishing frame. I don"t have casting platforms in my boat as they are very easy to hang up the fly line, which is a huge problem when you hook a 19+ inch trout on 5x tippet. Carlisle oars are bulky and somewhat uncomfortable but they are sturdy, reliable and the cheaper option. Personally I prefer rowing counterbalanced cataract oars. As far as rafts go I have been very pleased with the NRS Expedition and Otter, they are quality made boats and reasonably priced. I have not rowed an aire/outcast setup for fishing but know many people who have been satisfied with them. If you have plenty of $$$ Sotar makes some of the best boats out there. Maravia and Hyside made some sweet expensive boats as well. Sotar will custom make a boat per your specs(d rings where you want, valves where you want, color, etc.) and their boats are made of the strongest yet lightest material. I currently don't own a sotar but the next raft I purchase will be a sotar. Make sure you get a quality trailer with rear roller and a winch as loading/unloading will be so much easier. I don't think you could really go wrong with an nrs fishing frame put on an aire sdp/143d/r, nrs expedition/otter, sotar st/sl. Good Luck
     
  3. Been there done that on the JD as well...and on a set of Carlisle's as well. I love that river despite all the rowing involved.=)

     
  4. A lot of good information in this thread. As far as raft size goes stop and think what kind of trips you will be using the boat for. If most of your trips are day trips with 2 other people a 13ft. boat is more then enough, yet it can still handle gear for a 2 or 3 day trip with 2 people.

    My all time favorite boat was the 13ft. Puma with the NRS Frame. I had owned a hard side boat and a 14ft. Maravia before I bought this boat. At the time I was living in Montana and this boat was used every weekend for months on end for 8 years without a problem. It was a pleasure to spend the entire day on the sticks with out wearing myself out. and this little boat could go down the shallow narrow side channels where the larger boats could not go with out scraping bottom. And if I had to make a portage it was light enough for 2 people to handle.

    The NRS frames are well built and will last forever. I never used the lean bars on my boat. As mentioned here they get in the way and just add weight.

    As far as oars go buy what you can afford. I have rowed many years with the standard Carlisle oars and never had a problem with the oars themselves or my hands. Make sure you get the right size blade on your oar it will make rowing a lot easier.
     
  5. Most problems I've witnessed with Carlisles has been with pin/clips. Usually they'd tweak or bend before the clip released. I've always used wood oars or cataracts. In fact I have a video from about 89' of a buddy who bent 2 of them in one trip. Again it was the older pin/clips. But I've literally only seena handful snap. So I wouldn't worry especially in an oarlock. I have used Carlisles on my fishing pontoons over the years (standard issue on a lot back then) and never had a problem with hand issues either. But I have working mans hands so takes a lot to hurt them.
     

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