New Raft

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by cjflyfish, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. cjflyfish

    cjflyfish New Member

    After alot of debate between Drift Boat and Raft I have decided that I will buy a Raft with a Fishing Frame. As much as I would love a drift boat and have almost even bought one I have decided to get a raft. I've got it narrowed down to two models. An NRS OTTER 130 which I have fished out of before. Or a Outcast Pac 1300 (Aire Super Puma). I have not fished out of this and also considered the 1400 (super duper puma) for the extra space.

    I've done a lot of reading to explore the differences. So I have a few questions.

    What have peoples favorites been? Do people prefer the AIRE PVC bladder system over the NRS Hypalon welded materials. I know that PVC is rigid or harder feeling then the Hypalon of the NRS.

    I'm going to put a NRS Fishing frame in whatever raft I've got set up.

    is there any other recommendations? I'm' hoping to do some overnighters in this raft so hopefully want to accommodate a descent size cooler, and contain alot of my gear in the rear. Are there accessories that some of you have found you don't use alot, and some accessories that you can't live without??

    I'm hoping by the end of the week I will have it all picked out and ordered soon!

    Thanks for the help!
  2. Riverman

    Riverman Member


    Are Otter rafts glued or welded?
    Do they have a 5 or 10-year warranty?
  3. Connor H

    Connor H Bobbers n Beadz

    Calling Bill Dodd...
    I recently bought a 14' maravia ranger with a fishing frame. LOVE IT!!! be careful with the fisherman in the back though... If you miss a stroke, you will have a swimmer. (Only speaking from experience!) lol
  4. shawn k

    shawn k Member

    get the aire super duper puma or the pac 1400 with the nrs frame. The 1300 doesnt handle as good with 3 guys in it and won't be good for overnighters.

    Aire boats are made in the usa have a great warranty and are built by people that use them.
  5. Riverman

    Riverman Member

    Aire gives EXCELLANT customer service also...
  6. TrappedinCO

    TrappedinCO Help! I'm trapped in a landlocked state.

    The Otter will probably handle a rear-seated angler better. Super Pumas are great boats, but their diminishing tube design doesn't work well with much weight on the back tube. Just my 2 cents.
  7. Bill Dodd

    Bill Dodd Bill's in a time out.

    I have the 13 foot Otter and it handles a 3rd person just fine. But I do like the way it handles with just one angler up front. We have done overnighters and with two people and gear it has just enough room, But If I were going to do mulit-day overnighters there could be a bit more room. Also when you are fishing two anglers it's a bit tight on room for extras.

    I love everything about the Otter, But then again it's the only raft I have ever owned.


  8. Keaten LaBrel

    Keaten LaBrel Formerly Tyinbugs

    I own an NRS Otter 142 (the 14' version) and my good buddy has the Pac 1300...both are great boats the Pac is a little easier to maneuver b/c its shorter, but i feel like the NRS is a more solid boat, i'm yet to have a problem with it (knock on wood) and have taken it down some pretty gnarly from the back of the NRS seems to be a little more solid than the Pac as well (i always feel like there is potential for getting bucked on the Pac)...good luck on your decision and if it gets too hard to decide, then just get a clackacraft and fear no rock!!
  9. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    I have had several typs of rafts and currently have 2 rafts and 1 cat.

    My favorite right now is the super duper puma. It is a great creeking boat. The only real drawback is that the inside width limits the cooler size, the biggest best one you can get in there is a 80 quart Yeti Sherpa. I have had it on big and small water up to Class IV+ with no problems, and had it on multiday trips with 3 guys, although 2 people for 1 week is better for total self support, with all the niceties. If you want to look at my set up and are in the Everett area, send me a PM and bring over some beers to talk rafts.

    By the way, all hypalon boats are glued (not the same glue bond as a glued PVC, much more deep seated and permanent than the PVC glue). Welding only applies to PVC.

    Also if you are at all handy, you can make an NRS type fishing frame for about 25 to 30% less than you can buy it.

    Here is a photo rigged a couple ways, fising 2 people 1 week trip on the Salmon, or not fishing with 2 passangers upfront for a week on the Owyhee.

    There is only one drawback potentially if you aren't into building stuff and intend to purchace everythng stock. If you get a narrow boat like the Puma series, you are going to have to either be able to make or have made more customized equipment (like a table/seat deck, drybox etc.) because the standards sizes don't fit with the Super Duper Puma narrow width. Everything else you can pretty much buy stock though. In terms of a drybox, a custom one is about the same price as a stock one however, and you can make a table/seat deck way cheaper and just as good as the ones you can buy, such as the cambridge brand, etc.
  10. cjflyfish

    cjflyfish New Member

    Thanks for all the replies. Its good to see what others preferences are as well as the plus and minuses of the different rafts. When it comes down to it it seems that its just picking a raft that you want and making it work.

    I've leaned towards the AIRE, it does worry me about having to get more customized accessories like dry boxes but I'm sure that could come in the future.

    I've read some people say that the AIRE rafts feel more maneuverable because they are narrower. They also say they are stiffer in general. anyone feel this makes a difference in handling?
  11. surfnsully

    surfnsully Active Member

    Go for the driftboat - A Clacka is my boat of choice :)
  12. Bullwhacker

    Bullwhacker Member

    I'd recommend the NRS with the NRS fishing frame. I would also not waste the money on the fishing platform under the front seat or the half ass brace. Both are a nuisance and subtract more from the fishing experience then add. You will never have line management in a raft like you do in a drift boat and the best solution is to minimize the obstacles to tangle on.
  13. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

    I have owned both a driftboat and 2 rafts. My own preferance is for a raft, which will enable you to access a lot more water. My first raft was a 14 ft.maravia, built like a tank yet still easy to handle. My 2nd raft was a super puma. IMHO this is one of the best fishing boats out there. This boat will go just about any where you would want to take her. Because of her size and the fact that she draws less water then most boats you can explore lots of side channels and braids that most boats can't get to. The Bitterroot, upper Bighole, and Madison , after runnoff when the water has cleared and there is still plenty of water in those side channels are just a few that come to mind. I have also made multi-day trips up to 3 nights with another person and we were able to carry 2 ice chests and all our gear.

    With the NRS frame you can't go wrong. Also I agree with Bullwhacker, don't waste your money on the casting platforms they just get in the way. Do buy the anchor system it works well and is a nice touch on a sweet NRS frame.
  14. Kirk Singleton

    Kirk Singleton Capt Kirk

    There are a lot of quality rafts out there these days. Maravia-the gold standard, NRS are great with fantastic customer svc. and even Star for less $ but has good quality now. The trick seems to be is how you take care of it, UV is the killer. You will find a lot of good deals on used right now. Check out Craigslist in WA, Idaho and Montana. Just make sure that you get self bailing. I ended up with the Clack just because I can take it in lakes with a small motor. I also do quite a bit of Steelheading.
  15. NRS 100%. Wider (more stable, more storage, better tracking) and easier to store(being hypalon) if you don't have space to leave it inflated.

    If it was solely for whitewater, I'd recommend the AIRE, but NRS makes the best fishing raft. Plus, hypalon repairs more easy since you don't have to mess with bladders.

    -Sam (former NRS employee)
  16. hellomyles

    hellomyles Member

    I was in the same postion as you are back this spring. I was set on getting a pac 1300 and keeped researching and getting others opinions and decided it was a little to small. I ended up getting the Aire super duper puma with an nrs frame and don't regret it at all. All the mentioned boats are good. Others may be better but that is one opinion to another. I rowed a super puma and it was nice but that 1 foot smaller was to much to loose. I rowed a super duper puma and really liked it. I know a guy who has a nrs and an aire and loves them both. I went with the aire mainly because a good friend of mine loves his and because the aire is made in Idaho. And it has a 10 year warranty. I got it all through nrs and they are a great company to deal with. I really don't think you will regret your desicion. I would highly recomend that if you are going to do multi-day, that you highly consider a 14 foot boat. All the researching I did lead me to one thing more than anything else and that was get a 14 foot boat. A foot doesn't sound like much, but it is a lot in a boat. My .02
  17. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    While NRS boats are great, I must disagree with a couple of these statements. Aire boats can be stored rolled. I have been storing PVC boats rolled for 15 years. The PVC rolled boat is only slightly larger than our hypalon boats.

    Second, field repair of the Aire boats is faster and than hypalon, although a full repair at home maybe easier with a hypalon boat. In the aire, if you get a 1 foot gash in your rig, you deflait only the portion you need to get to, take what you need off the boat to unzip and access the bladder. Put some of the repair tape on the innner bladder, throw some duct tape on the inside and outside of the outer hull (our baseball stitch the outside if it is a reall large rip), then you are back on the water within about an hour to 1.5 hours max for a big job, and you can pump the boat up to full or near full pressure immeidatley. Once you get off the trip and are back home you can make the permanent and more asthetically pleasing repair.

    The hypalon feild repair or regular PVC without inner bladder system, involves getting to shore, deflating the boat, and patching with glue. You can't pressure back up to anything remotely approaching full presure several hours, preferably for at least 12 hours.

    P.S. I have been in both of these situations, and am not a dealer for any boat.

  18. cjflyfish

    cjflyfish New Member

    It seems like I am leaning more and more toward an AIRE (outcast) and talking with a few more people locally and visiting a shop that sells both brands it seems that 2 out of 3 of the people preferred the bladders system and repairs on the fly like Shapp stated.

    Does anyone have any experience with the AIRE 130D and 143D models? It seems these are alot simliar to the NRS otter when it comes to size and shape. Wider, which means more stability and storage.

    More than likely I will buy the Super Duper Puma.

    As for the NRS fishing frame. I would like to possibly add a dry box behind the rowers seat. it looks like there is room? However the width of the SDP is not as wide and heard earlier it may be a custom deal. I may just do dry bags secured in the back portion of the raft, maybe a cargo net system. I would also like to add a cooler. Is there a good way to add a secure mount between the rowers foot brace and the seat of the forward fisherman?

    Does anyone have any experience with the NRS frame? What have you guys done to add dry storage and coolers?

    Thanks again for all the help! I'll for sure post photos of the set up on this thread when I get it!
  19. shawn k

    shawn k Member

    One other thing to consider before you buy a raft. September is usually when aire, maravia and sotar have their sales. there are some aires on sale on the website right now.
  20. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

    The middle of winter is even a better time to snag a factor second Aire, I got a cosmetic blemished one that was 20% off new, I couldn't even see the blemish unless someone pointed out where it was supposed to be and still get the full 10 year warranty.

    Don't know anything about his actual boat, but a super puma for sale in Spokane. If you get the serial number from the guy and call aire they will tell you how much warranty is left (it is transferable)*

    Unless you are really going to do some real creaking or R2ing, I think the 13R would be a great boat for all around goodness. I specifically got a narrow boat to run some really technical stuff, like the Jarbidge/buneau, upper NF John Day, White Salmon, etc, Owhee, at low water. The 13R gives you a lot better width, still really good handling, not as heavy as the 14, better seating for 2 upfront, etc. In general I would always recomend the bigest boat you think would work for what you normally intend to do.

    Sounds like you are new to rafts/packing rafts. There is more to know than you can learn on the internet. Go see a bunch of boats set up, maybe andy and bax in Portland, or go hang out at a major multiday river trip putin, during the middle of a busy weekend.