Pram/Dory/Mini-Drifter/Skiff Ideas? Please advise...

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by obiwankanobi, May 2, 2012.

  1. obiwankanobi

    obiwankanobi Active Member

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    I have a touch of the Yellowlab pram bug and currently have a 8’ Stillwater Classic which I have thoroughly enjoyed this season. My thought now is what pram to buy next since I am looking for the “do-it-all” watercraft. I want one that is portable, can easily hold two full size people, durable and can be outfitted with many options. I have been considering multiple routes and would like your input on your pram/skiff or mini-drifter. What do you like? Don’t like? Suggest?
    Here is what I am looking at eventually buying:
    Stillwater II Hopper - Pros: 10’ so it doesn’t have to be trailered, light enough to be lifted by two people, good reputation and functional.
    Cons: Somewhat small for two full sized people, wished it came in a 12’ model.
    Koffler Whitewater pramPros: Durable, 12’ model available, can be completed decked out, very durable, solid reputation, will never need much care.
    Cons: The 12’ model has a weight capacity of 420lbs. At 200lbs I better have small friends since two full sized guys would almost make this an aluminum submarine. Heavy and will require a trailer.
    Smith Bros pram – Pros: Elegant, has that “feel” to it, light, can be made in any size length, can be made to order.
    Cons: Not as durable as the other materials, will always need to be kept indoors, can be damaged, I assume quite easily. It would have to be oiled and treated as part of routine seasonal maintenance.

    Clackacraft Mini-Drifter/Watershed Mini Drifter – Pros: Look great, solid construction, can be used for rivers.
    Cons: Not that easily portable to put in the bed of a truck due to the shape, heavy would require a trailer, only has one captain seat, have not seen how these can be outfitted with a transom mount to fit an electric motor. Don’t look that roomy inside and not sure how casting all day from a standing position would be.
    Skiffs vaious models – Not sure about these yet.
    Dory - Not sure yet either since I have not seen one over 9' in length.
    Any other brands/makes/models
     
  2. Nick Clayton

    Nick Clayton Active Member

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    I bought my first pram this year and couldn't be happier. I don't know how I went this long without one!

    Mine is a 10' Fish Rite aluminum. It has a 60" beam and weighs in at 120 lbs. It has two bench seats with plastic swivel seats. I've had it since January and so far there isn't much I would change. In an ideal world I would have a nice heated garage where I could store a beautiful wooden boat. Unfortunately that is not the case so the aluminum is great for me...little upkeep. The downside is that aluminum is noisy. Anything that I drop makes quire a racket. The other thing I would change is the weight. At 120 lbs its nothing I can't handle, but it's bulky and can be tough to handle solo. It does have a trailer but it also fits in the back of my truck as well.

    I haven't added much in the way of accessories. It came with a Dierks anchor arm and anchor and I added a Cabelas anchor pulley for the aft end. I have rod holders that attach to a accessories rail that runs along both sides but I seldom use them. When trolling I prefer to have the rod closer to hand. I added a stick on measuring sticker and a small cup holder/tool caddy thing for holding my drink/smokes/small items.

    I'm sure ill add more as time goes on but at this point I am not wanting for anything.
     
  3. shawn k

    shawn k Member

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    At one time I owned the clack pram.That boat went all over the place. It was great for places where there was no launch or for lowholeing the guides on some rivers.
     
  4. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    When you mention 2 people and most "do-it-all" craft I have to think drift-boat, If you want small go to a 14 fter. still fits 3 people and can have up to 10 horse motor or electric or both! When you start adding people most craft are big enough to be trailered or major time for set-up. fiberglass is very light and lasts almost forever. I have owned wood-alum-and now fiberglass and am amazed how well the fiberglass takes weather compared to either of the other materials. MY 14 ft. lavro only weighs 200 pounds unloaded. yes it needs a trailer but gives you the option of fishing 5 mile long lakes with a motor. If your only fishing small lakes and slow rivers then it really doesn't matter, but I fish some water you could never use a pontoon or oared craft and get to places (or get back) without a motor. The most do-it-all small craft is a drift boat IMO and you can still sit and cast all day long if you want. I prefer to do both, with a friend and my 80# lab.

    idaho fisher 005.jpg
    Quick release sets for two up front or one in back one in front. seat mounted in back for running electric and - or gas motor, dual anchor systems rows very fast. hard to beat in "DO-IT-ALL" FOR multiple people. the best feature is being able to fish bigger water with a motor. used you can find these 14 fters for around $2000 if you look hard enough.
    idaho fisher 004.jpg

    If you look on the sides of my boat you see a rope handle that is on both sides for dragging, two guys can drag this pretty far- you don't need a boat ramp if you can get fairly close to the water. I have slid and drug drifters all over the place including roping down steep banks on rivers.
     
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  5. Frank R

    Frank R Member

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  6. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Yesterday, I noticed a 10" Stillwater Hopper II listed on Craigslist in Sequim for a decent price.
     
  7. LCnSac

    LCnSac John or "LC"

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    That is a nice setup if you don't have to run far or have much chop. Down here we tend to have fairly heavy winds off the Pacific and the Delta from March - June which cause chop and the flat bottom boats will knock your fillings out at anything much above 5 mph. I had one once and will never have another another unless it's a dedicated river boat.

    I do like the ability to move. My little 12' will only go 22 mph with two, but as we only need to cover about 10-20 miles per round trip that's OK. The only problem I'm finding with the boat is it's really hard for two people to cast standing up with shooting heads and heavy flies. It's actually dangerous, and we're learning to cast sidearm at opposite end of the boat. With lighter gear it's a lot easier. Still, I think anything under 14' is best fished with one person. Down here, the fly fisher boat of choice is a 16-17' G3, Crestliner, or Tracker with a 40-60 4S with interchangeable pump and prop. Even with those, which usually have a 6-8 deg deadrise, chop over a few inches is uncomfortable at any traveling speed and we get that most every afternoon in some waters like the Delta.

    I too share your appreciation for glass. Aluminum is strongly preferred down here primarily because of the rivers and the weight, but with a good supply of Marine Tex, epoxy, and 5200 a glass boat can last almost forever and they ride a LOT better and have better hull designs.

    I think your setup is very trick and flexible, and if you're primarily fishing calm lakes or any river, what a stable and roomy platform you have.
     
  8. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    I loved my 13ft. wood dory in the 70's and early 80's nothing wrong with them. just need a garage to keep them shinny. we kept our's under a tree in the rain and had to refinish it every spring. wouldn't advise the (under tree storage) LOL that boat could float in 3 inches of water, when other drifters had to get out and drag they're boats - love wood!!!
     
  9. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    I agree with the flat bottom and fillings being knocked out! my next boat will be a sled, but will always have a drift-boat. there is just to much that can be done with them. I did have a 16' willy guide model but basically quit fishing rivers and am now into lakes. living in portland this light boat tows better behind my toyota 4x4 to eastern and central oregon lakes where all the good fishing is. I still use it in tide water and bay's and rivers along with large lakes but watch for 20 MPH winds or higher. I always have to have the option of floating rivers if I want too!!! I see all the single person craft and really don't get it, I only fished once by myself last year - but to each his own!