What cataraft?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by PontoonerinOregon, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. PontoonerinOregon New Member

    Posts: 41
    Sisters,Oregon
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    Hello, I'm new here and am considering buying a skookum guide model. I live only 30 minutes away from where they are headquatered in Oregon. I have also looked into bad cat river pontoons and cannot see alot of differences between the two except that the bad cats are heavier and have a single floor. I am still in High shool and would be floating rivers like the John day and other class 1-2 rivers. I would like something that can haul enough gear for a few nights.

    I also hope to be able to use a cataraft durring and after college. I want something that could handle rivers such as The lower yellowstone in Montana or the Missouri below Great Falls. In other words, are these cats I am looking at something that can handle small rivers and lakes and biger water like the yellowstone? I am still a couple years from graduating, and don't know where I will be going to school. I would like to go to a school in Montana because of the hunting/fishing opportunities. If I had the tools, I would custom build myself a couple. My dad is looking at getting the Aire Jaguarundi. If aire made a 10- 12 foot solo cat, I would probably get it.
  2. RickPDX New Member

    Posts: 7
    Bend, Oregon
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    Hello
    The skookum guide is what I just bought and it is great! It is built to last. The back deck is small but down low to hold a cooler or small gear box. If you want to hold more gear for a trip just install a rear upper deck behind the seat. You sit up high and dry.
    You can buy a cheaper one and replace it in a few years down the road, but I feel better going down the river with a stronger cat.
    I live in Bend right now if you would like to see one up close PM me.

    Rick
  3. sfcohen New Member

    Posts: 7
    Your City ,State
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    Look at Outcast pontoons, Aire's fly fishing subsidiary. Outcast makes a 10' and an 11' pontoon boat.

    Sho
  4. PontoonerinOregon New Member

    Posts: 41
    Sisters,Oregon
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    I looked at outcast, but thought their weight capacity was far lass in the ten foot model than the guide. Does anyone have experience with bad cats? I might also be possibly interested in the aire wildcat.
  5. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
    Not sure
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    I believe that a cat's weight capacity is a function of the size and volume of the tubes, not the frame's manufacturer. For instance, I've got a pair of 10'x20" Maxxon's that are rated by the manufacturer at 1,000 pounds. The 9'x15" tubes that originally came with the Skookum Osprey frame were rated at just half that amount.

    Here's a pic of my boat fully loaded on our Smith trip in May. With 200 pounds or so of me plus all my camping gear, food, fishing stuff and booze, it drew just 4" of water.

    [IMG]

    It's also worth noting that rated capacity is NOT the weight that will cause the tubes to sink, but a smaller fraction of that amount - 50% as I seem to recall.

    I spoke with the guys at Andy & Bax in Portland this spring and they said they were looking to put together a fishing cat package for next year that features an NRS frame and 10' Maxxon tubes with a target price of about $1,500. Might be worth getting in touch with them to see if that's gonna come true.

    K
  6. PontoonerinOregon New Member

    Posts: 41
    Sisters,Oregon
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    Are all those cats guides? Another question I had is what is the denier on the guide? The toons on the pac's look like they'd be a little less effective in white water. Does anyone know if that is true?
  7. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
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    The other two are both custom boats: Outcast Ferrari-series frames with custom-made cargo modules and strapped to Maxxon 12'x22" tubes.

    The reason that Maxxon and NRS and other tubes cost so much more than the those on the PACs is that they are bladderless instead of a zippered cover over a vinyl or urethane bladder. Tough as nails with a 20-year warranty to prove it.

    K
  8. PontoonerinOregon New Member

    Posts: 41
    Sisters,Oregon
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    So bladderless is stronger?
  9. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
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    Um, yeah, by like a factor of ten or so.

    Take a closer look at your dad's Jaguarundi's tubes and then compare them to the ones on a Water Skeeter or TU 'toon. Most bladderless tubes also have double-thick skid plates on the tops and bottoms as additional protection against dragging across rocks and frame chafe. You can see them quite clearly in the pic I posted above.

    That kind of industrial-strength whitewater tube doesn't come cheap though, or light. Those tubes will be double or more the weight of the lightweight zippered casing-and-bladder tubes found on cheaper 'toons.

    K
  10. jimmyjoe Member

    Posts: 167
    Renton
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    I have one of the few remaining original Aire wildcats from their first production run, over twenty years old. The boat still is in great shape after 20 plus years of class 4 and 5 whitewater. It is rated at 500 lbs, for saftey, it will carry alot more but once you max out the weight the performence suffers. The newer Aire's dont have the high rockers as the originals,and are rated for a little heavier load I think. The wildcat is a good boat, but it is basically a one man boat. I also have an Aire Ocelot, 16 feet long, a good trip boat rated at 750 plus. Aire makes agood quality boat that will last. If you get a one man boat, people will always want to go with you. If you get a two man boat you'll never have riders. Get a boat big enough for your need, but not too big!
  11. PontoonerinOregon New Member

    Posts: 41
    Sisters,Oregon
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    Does anyone have experience with bad cat river boats. After looking, they seem a little cheaper than the skookums. I aslo was wondering if anyone has ever owned or seen an aire bobcat? I know they went out of production. I think I have decided that Pac series boats are not what I want.
  12. jimmyjoe Member

    Posts: 167
    Renton
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    The Bobcat is a very manuverable whitewater boat. My orginal Wildcat has 3 foot rockers on each end giving it a smaller footprint then the Bobcat. You can litterly run circles around a raft in class 3 water. If you can find one go for it. you can't go wrong with a Aire boat.
  13. PontoonerinOregon New Member

    Posts: 41
    Sisters,Oregon
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    I was looking, and the only way I think I can buy one ( an aire ) is if I get it used. The tubes alone cost 1700 plus their cheapest frame is like 600. Is it possible to get the aire tubes and a frame from another company? I think getting it new is too expensive for my budget.
  14. jimmyjoe Member

    Posts: 167
    Renton
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    There is a club called the Washington Recreational River Runners. You can try joining their Yahoo group. Their people are always selling or upgrading their boats. That is where I bought my first Whitewater boat.When I was in the club,80 percent of the whitewater cats were Aire. There were always boats being bought and sold.
  15. PontoonerinOregon New Member

    Posts: 41
    Sisters,Oregon
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    Thank you guys for all the info. I am still no closer to choosing one, but I could say I understand a little more about them now.
  16. Randy Chong New Member

    Posts: 29
    Monroe, WA
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    I looked at both the Skookum 10' Steelheader, and the 10' Bad Cat Magnum. I really liked both, and ended up buying the Bad Cat. The Bad Cat's frame was super sturdy, but at the expense of being a one-piece frame. I think the capacity is 1000#, but I don't think I'll ever get close to that. The BC is super sturdy to fish from, either sitting or standing, and I feel comfortable on any water I have ever fished. I didn't get out much early this summer as the water was running pretty high on my local rivers, but the BC would have handled all of the water well. I would have been very happy with either one, but I got a super deal from my local dealer who had one Bad Cat left and wanted to move it.
  17. DaMurph Member

    Posts: 115
    Graham, WA
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    Tooner, I don't think you could go wrong either way with the 10' Steelheader or the 10' Badcat magnum. I personally have the 10' Steelheader Guide and its a great boat. Either one should give you several (10+) years of use if you take care of the tubes. I believe both are based on 10' Maxxon tubes, (I don't know if Bill @ Skookum still makes his own tubes but at one time he did, SH69 could tell you for sure.) Don't make weight an issue when deciding between these two boats, the fact is they are both heavy as will any heavy duty cat 10'+. Buy the boat that fits your needs: I chose the Steelheader because the length, capacity, versitility, standing abliliy, anchoring, price and durability. (the Bad Cat would have also met the criteria.) You will be able to strap all kinds of things to the frame so don't be put off by the size of the storage platform. If you really need a huge platform you can make one and you can strap it to your frame, with a HD frame you can be creative. If you are looking to run some bigger water you should look at a bigger boat.(heavier, bulkier, more $$, trailer required, storage space?, accessories, etc.) If heavy whitewater fishing is what your after check out Aire, NRS(check them out anyway just for all the cool accessories) Maravia, Sotar, Hyside etc. Just my .2 cents for whatever its worth. Good luck
  18. PontoonerinOregon New Member

    Posts: 41
    Sisters,Oregon
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    I want something I caould run a small river like the Beaverhead in Montana, but also be able to run the Yellowstone downstream from Billings. That is why I had looked at the Aire Wildcat (13') and bobcat (11'). I don't know how much true "Whitewater" I would ever be in, But I want something small enough to float a small stream, but is also able to be on a big, not neccessarily whitewater, river. Some other examples of rivers I might float would be the Big Hole, Ruby, Missouri above and canyon ferry and below Fort Benton, all parts of the Yellowstone, The Milk in Northern Montana, and the Powder and Tongue rivers of southeastern Montana.
  19. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,790
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +689 / 5
    The nice thing about Aire is they don't hold thier value amongst the whitewater communities like Sotar and Maravia do. They drop in price dramatically. Look for the Northwest Rafters Association website (maybe www.nwra.com, not sure) and they should have used tubes. You can find great deals on them. Only thing I'd say bad about them is they are primarily "play" whitewater tubes. Not the best for fishing. Great carrying capacity, and maneuver great. Just that even the larger tubes still don't have the steadiness you'll want. Now the outfitters grade tubes usually have alot less rocker. NRS has them, and I think Aire does too. I haven't searched alot lately on them.

    Now with Steelheader. They used to make all their tubes. I know the ones I had, I picked up directly from them as they were finishing them up. Nowadays, have no idea. Like everything, they are probably being built somewhere else. One thing to consider though, that a product made in the same plant that looks similar does not mean it's the same. Some companies want their product built to a higher standard, so demand more out of what the manufacturer normally makes. I know this from a company I deliver to who has their product made in China. Their design has been leeched by lots of companies out there. But their demands on the product far outweigh what you'll see the others selling. It shows in the final product. Much better built and will last alot longer. But the flatter hulls of the boats make for a better "fishing" boat. Like with anything, you trade off depending on what you want. If you want a workhorse vehicle, you could buy a ferrari and maneuver and fly like there's no tomorrow, but if you want to tow or carry a big load, it falls short. There's no perfect boat out there, so what your needs dictate puts you into the boat you need. Why at one time I had like 8-10 boats. Drift boats, rafts, catarafts, jetsleds, you name it. Had several inflatables. Each served a purpose. But if you're primarily looking for a long trip fishing boat, you'll want the flatter water lined boat for maximum stability and storage capability.



    I always steer towards the steelheader if I want a premade fishing cataraft. It's about the only boat out there designed and based off someone who whitewatered and fished and had the capabilities to actually build one (from the tubes all the way up to the frame). Of course the frames are built one place, tubes somewhere else. If you get successful, you rarely do it all yourself after that. The steelheader frame may be simple and heavy. But it's meant to be a fishing frame with less chance to torque out on you running whitewater. I used mine to the extreme, and was a kick in the pants. Wish I still had my old 9' original steelheader.

    As said, weight shouldn't be an issue. You want a heavy grade boat, you get heavy weight. Weight capacity is alot of times given to what the tubes will bear versus what the frame will take under pressure. That's usually the max weight. Some can take alot more, just the more weight you add, the more you'll have to work to make the boat move. Sluggish is a good word. But whitewater boats on multiday trips loaded to the gill are this way. Where you need to know the water you're on, and make adjustments well before a run you're going into.

    You can find deals on boats, especially rafts. Take a look on craigslist. I've seen a few up here SUPER CHEAP. Fishing rafts with trailers. I almost bit on a nice maravia with fishing frame outfitted to the T with anchor system for $3000. The trailer alone was worth a couple grand with the storage boxes built into it. Just keep your eyes out. I'd suggest rowing a few. Find someone who has them and ask for a test drive (you pay gas, bring the lunch, etc). Sometimes what you think you want and what you really like is completely different.
  20. veilside180sx Member

    Posts: 295
    Hillsboro, OR
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