Water master on big wayer?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by PontoonerinOregon, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. I'm somewhat interested in one of the two water masters, but one question I have is, are they practical and or safe on bigger rivers like the lower yellowstone or the lower missouri or the flathead below the lake? Those rivers I mentioned aren't whitewater at all, but it seems like a boat that small might run into trouble in big water like that. Also, are they stable enough and easy to maneuver enough that one could fish in light riffles and rapids and still control the boat? Not talking about fishing in class 3 stuff, just light choppy water.
  2. Big water= no problem. I've taken mine (grizzley) down the Skagit several times, and it's not any more challenging than smaller rivers as long as you can avoid the jet sleds. ;)

    As for fishing while in choppy water, that too is a piece of cake. Get some fins and learn to hold position (or at least slow your downstream speed) and you'll be able to fish as you work your way downriver.

    I keep an ATV cargo net on the back to secure whatever I'm packing along.

    Try it, you'll like it.

  3. Water master on big water?

    So would you reccomend it for multi-day trips or not? I'd like to have something that I could do smaller rivers like the beaverhead and ruby in Montana and I could also easily float the lower ( and Upper ) stone and Missouri. And is that detachable floor accessory stable enough to stand up on and is there enough room inside the raft on the floor to store extra gear?
  4. don't know about multi-day trips -- there's room on the back to lash down quite a bit of stuff, but never tried to do a multi-day myself. Also never tried the detachable floor.
  5. I would think that you could tie another dry bag full of gear on the front with the D rings and haul enough gear that way.
  6. The manufacturer will probably have a display again at this year's fly fishing shows, so if you can make the Portland show on Feb 14-15, you can kick tires and get some good info. I have the Kodiak and love it (I don't have the floor). Have never done more than just a day float, but it's stable and has a good carrying capacity, so if you load it right (use compression bags and pack economically) you should have no problem on multi-day floats, within reason. It's got a 500 lb carrying capacity, and depending on what you weigh, that may leave room for a couple hundred lbs or more of gear, which is a lot unless you plan to bring a keg and the kitchen sink.
  7. I almost bought one of the Watermasters just because of the carrying capacity. I opted for a toon with 400 pound capacity instead. I'm still not convinced I made the right choice. The WM's look pretty versitile in setup videos which appeals to me. As for itchy dog's keg idea...if you lash it in the front open space so that the keg itself is floating but controlled by ropes to the D-rings you can still have it along for the float without bearing all the weight of it on the floatation of the boat. Let me know if that configuration is going to be happening on one of your trips and I'll gladly drive from whereverinthehellIam to whereverinthehellYOUplantofish. A multi-day float and kegger, that may be too good to pass up.
  8. Taking your Watermaster in big water is no problem. I've had mine thru class IV rapids without touching the oars.......the big question is can YOU do big water? Not trying to be a jerk.....the limitations of a watermaster are the same as any other boat.....can YOU get it through. As with any boat learn to read water...watch some one else go down. There is a certain creek I run during high water that rafts would never go down. The fishing is great, I have it all to myself, plenty of whitewater, but not many places to pull over to rest.
    I do overnighters on mine with no problem. Pack light.
    I guess what I'm trying to say in a thousand words or more......take it from a Dork with two Watermasters, just do it.
  9. So I've concluded that it is safe on bug water, but is it practical on a bigger slow moving river? Take the Lower Missouri ( below Fort Benton ) in Montana for instance, it's flows in the summer are anywhere from 5000 to 12000 cfs. the water probably isn't moving real fast and there are no real rapids to speak of, but would the Wm be practical on water like that?

    P.S. I saw that the WM is made in mIssoula and The Water Strider is made in Hamilton. Is this correct? If it is, then I will look at both this summer when I go through there.
  10. Guess that depends on what you mean by practical? The WM isn't going to be as fast in slow current, and will be tougher against a headwind than a pontoon boat will be. It's going to stick to the water more.
  11. I haven't had mine down below Fort Benton, but I've floated it between the dams and various stretches from Wolf Creek to Pelican Point on the Missouri and had no trouble. I can't imagine what the problem would be in big slow moving water that you wouldn't have in any other type of watercraft.
  12. I guess that pretty much answers my questions about them, except for the floor thing. Anyone had experience with the detachable floor? I will probably be going through that area this summer to look at schools and I'll stop by their factories.
  13. The Watermaster is the bomb! You wont be disapointed- Not sure what you mean by "practical" on big water... Look at some of the pics on the WM sight... The boat has the balls, it's up to the guy handleing the oars after that...:thumb:
  14. Well, not all class 4's are alike. If you ran through it without oars, was it truly a class 4? A run isn't always a class 4, water level dictates it's class. What is classed a class 4 at one level isn't the same at another. I've ran quite a few class 4 and 5's in my time (and a few "unclassed" as well). Class 4's usually take some oar work. And yes, it's what you can do with the sticks. For some its easier then others. BUT, and I don't care who you say you are, with big water a small boat is simply a cork being tossed around. I've ran a Pac 8 and Pac900 through solid class 4's and 5's (when they were still being whitewater classed). I've also rowed small rafts through them. It's work, and the bigger water you run the more you must keep those sticks moving to keep your boat upright. Now, is the class 4 more a drop, them maybe you can ride it w/o oars. But doubt it. Been through enough of them that usually a class 2 or 3 are riders. But bigger technical water needs stick work.

    Onto multiday trips. If you have the capacity and room, then load her up. BUT, weight capacity isn't something you want to max out. A boat becomes sluggish and unresponsive once you max the weight out. That's usually the weight it'll handle before it'll flip you or kill you. Maxing out a 500# capacity boat isn't safe. If you don't have experience, you'll get yourself in a world of hurt. You need to read the water in front of you, and really get your boat in position QUITE a ways ahead of the run. I've maxed out an old Ocelot with a good #1200+. An old 16' model, one of the first off the production lines. Could it handle it? Yep. Would I suggest it? Hell no. Had to run it perfect, and really setup the run ahead of time. If you missed your line for the run, you have to pray your boat will pull you through. Not a fun thing (and trust me, I've flipped a boat or two in my time, not fun when you have tons of gear on board).

    Also, legs in the water is bad in big water (or any whitewater). No fins for that. Keep the feet up and out of the way. That's if you value your legs or life.

    Now, can it take on big water. ANY boat can. Even driftboats and jet sleds. BUT, even experienced people have their days having the water gods handing their ass to them (and yes, I've had more then my share of days swimming my ass out of a run). There is no "yes and no", only "should I or shouldn't I". If you're comfortable doing it, then go for it. But remember the river isn't forgiving.
  15. I probably should have defined what I meant by "Big water". I don't plan on running anything over a class III ever, and most of the rivers I am looking at are class I. What I should have asked is, is the Wm versitle enough to do small rivers like the Beaverhead or John Day and rivers like the lower yellowstone and missouri and the Snake above Brownlee and such. I have no interest in running anything above class III.
  16. You won't have any trouble doing short expeditions...5-10 days. Use the raft bag for the back, large cooler behind the seat and a quality 'tube' style dry bag for the front: tent, thermarest,sleeping bag. I've had my Abel for 6+ years and no regrets...exactly the same raft as the Waterstrider and Wilderness Access EXP, same size as the WM Grizzly. WM's are built in Missoula, but the others are built by Incept in New Zealand; one of the largest raft makers in the world. Here sre a few links showing them rigged for expeditions and some cool videos also:http://www.incept.co.nz/waterstrider-inflatable-fishing-raft.htm http://www.waterstrider.com/ http://www.wildernessaccess.com/
  17. if Oak Springs, Whitehorse, Boxcar, and Colorado aren't class IV's anymore then some one should tell the guidebooks to stop lying.
    Jerry you gave some great advise but I don't see where any of it refers to actually ever being in a Watermaster.
    I have the luxury of knowing the originator of the WM before he started it. I have put more river miles on one than most guys have highway miles. That's not a brag, it's the truth. My origional boat (which is now my spare/wife's) is going to start on it's 16th season.
    I have had toons and they have their place, but my choice is a WM. Hell I took an 11 foot cataraft down the Colorado because one of my whitewater buddies said I couldn't get it down without flipping. Yes, I flipped it, but it was on a keeper wave I was surfing for most of an afternoon for fun.
    Someone else said something about a WM being worse in a head wind....the opposite is true. Because of the footprint of a WM being larger, and the small footprint of a toon, and the toon typicly seating the rower higher, without rowing the WM will be affected less by wind.
    I admit I'm jaded tworads a WM, but I've owned both, have fished out of both. There is no better craft for fishing solo.
  18. Check out the Wilderness Express EXP--used to be the Abel Travel Craft. It is also from Montana. I bought one 3 years ago and love it. High quality and the big difference between it and Watermaster is the Wilderness has an inflatable seat which is much easier on me at teh end of the day. It's great for lakes, and I've had it down the Cowlitz and the upper Deschutes near the reservation. The site has some good video of an Alaskan trip. I have a Scadden pontoon (which is great), an Outcast Supercat (which is great), but when I go to Montana, I take the WE because it solves all the riddles and is so packable. Whatever you do, get a K pump--those things are awesome.

    Oh, and I agree with the writer who said you do NOT want your feet dangling in moving water.
  19. I just got a K Pump and Kwik Gauge. I did so because I don't have a really good pump for on the water and while sitting in my toon in the garage during the snowstorms I noticed that my toon was not level. I've had tracking problems and thought that it was only my dumb ass...it still is mostly my dumb ass, but there is a lot of pressure difference in my toons. How could I have not considered that before? Again, because I was a dumbass. I'm not interested in the WM or WE EXP or others, but this has been an awesome thread to get a lot of ideas based on the responses. Sorry for the sidetrack.

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