What to look for in a drift boat

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Matt Smith, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Matt Smith On the river Noyb

    Posts: 906
    Monroe, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I am in the very very early stages of researching a driftboat. The wife has green lighted me to use a bit of our tax return on a boat for the family. I will be buying used and I know I want a glass boat. Here are my questions....

    What rivers would not be a good idea to run with a low profile? Most of the used boats that I am seeing are lp clacks. I would mostly be drifting the sky, yak, sauk and hoh.

    What is concidered "normal wear and tear" on a used glass boat? What should I look for as a red flag?

    I don't really have a brand preferance vs clacks, hyde, I have rowed both and read previous threads and think that they are both good boats, but I can't find a lot of feedback on RO. Does anyone have some honest reviews on these?

    Like I said I'm still a few months away from any purchase but just wanted to do some homework. I want this to be a good reliable boat that will last me many years and that the kids can outfish me in. Thanks
  2. Luke77 I hope she likes whitefish

    Posts: 1,526
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +319 / 0
    I'm in about the same...pardon the pun...boat as you right now. So, I'm interested in responses as well.
  3. Mark Walker Active Member

    Posts: 2,761
    So. Cal.
    Ratings: +221 / 1
    Matt.
    Look for one that will withstand your shaking "like a dog shittin' peach pits" when you hook up and ldr.:rofl::rofl::rofl:
    (sorry for the cheap shot..I couldn't resist.)
  4. Matt Smith On the river Noyb

    Posts: 906
    Monroe, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    :rofl:Wow. That was not a burn. That was a grilling. Very accurate though.:rofl:
  5. Mark Walker Active Member

    Posts: 2,761
    So. Cal.
    Ratings: +221 / 1
    Good sport, that Matt Smith!
  6. speyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 1,057
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    Ratings: +136 / 3
    Low profile boats are designed for windy conditions and not too difficult rivers. The lower profile does not get blown around as bad in cross winds. The Clacks LP's are only available with fore & aft seating. Not with a bench style front seat. The LP's are definitely easier to get in & out of. But then, once you learn the proper way to get in and out of a drift boat, it's no big deal. For the rivers you mentioned, I would go with the standard hull rather than the LP. I have a Clack and I like the Gulfstream bottom. All Clacks have a flexible bottom and it is very noticable to the rower. Some people have a problem with that. Comparisons between Clacks & Hydes are like Fords & Chevies. They are both good and each has their following. Both dealers offer good deals on refurbished boats that are guide trade in's. Highly recommended take each out for a spin before making the decision.
  7. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,722
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +660 / 5
    There is so many ways to go. I've converted a lot of people over to Eastsides. Get them cheap and handle well. Mine is over 40 years old and handles a good beating. I don't worry about wind. I prefer high sides especially on rougher waters that I love to fish. Now if you plan to fish the Yak a lot maybe you'll want that LP boat. But like mentioned boats are really a rowers preference. Try a few out and look at options. You will know when one turns your crank. :)
  8. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,403
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,359 / 9
    View attachment 37530

    Holy roasted until charcoal! Funny story, one that Rob and I actually discussed at length while swinging flies on the OP yesterday. We both recall the hand shaking post LDR. We were right there in the boat with you, and yes, I saw that fish. Not a fool on the trip last year that would not have wanted to land that one. It was very large, but you know that!

    As for the boat, er, well, the rig. I'm thinking that if you are going to be launching a drift boat, pretty much any drift boat, you might need a bigger rig. That high ground clearance white domestic did have to hitch a ride the year before on my POS Pathfinder import. The boat decision might not be the toughest decision before you!

    But, if you are rowing some and need some friendly story telling mass in the front or back to test it out...I'm so IN.

    Does this mean that there will be another boat in the Hoh Down flotilla? I'm happy for you my friend, all BS aside.
  9. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,722
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +660 / 5
    How big of rig you got? If you have a midsized pu or suv you should be fine. My buddy uses his 4x4 stock ford ranger to tow his alumaweld. And he's launched and pulled that boat out of the Oxbow launch. Now if you want longer trips with tons of gear you may want more vehicle.
  10. jeff bandy Make my day

    Posts: 2,263
    Edmonds, Wa.
    Ratings: +292 / 1
    Matt, as I'm sure you remember. My POS battlewagon is not the fanciest thing on the water. But it is a great boat to learn on.

    What I have learned is;
    No boat does everything. If you are looking for a "all around" boat, I think a glass LP a good choice. They have slippery bottoms, good vis. and low wind resistance.

    The things your giving up are;
    High side. Big technical water.(LP may swamp and do you really want to test the glass chine on a rock in the Oxbow?)
    Raft. Really skinny water(Glass is heavy)

    If I had to pick now, I'd go with Mumbles setup. But that's just because it would be a good fit with the fishing I've been doing lately.

    Tell you what. You buy mine. I'll buy Mumbles. And he can get more new gear.:rofl:

    Oh, one more thing. I got to say I don't think 2WD is going to cut it. Sorry, not trying to be mean. Its just the boat launches can be a bitch.
  11. Matt Smith On the river Noyb

    Posts: 906
    Monroe, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Thanks guys, my 2wd F-150 will be getting new tires and a lift for part of the boat deal I made with my wife. See how I worked that one. I found an older WF clack that I have my eye on and I think it should be availible in Feb. Ed you as always would be more than welcome to fill the front or back seat. I'm gonna have to make a maiden voyage at some point and I'll need a crew for that.

    Thanks for reliving my steelhead LDR. I still shake thinking about that toad. bawling:bawling:bawling:

    It would be pretty sweet to have this by the Hoh Down, thats the goal. I'm not sure Ill shoot the Oxbow quite yet though. I'll definetly be spending some time right below it though!!!
  12. Rick Sharp Member

    Posts: 369
    West Richland, WA 99353
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    I prefer glass boats but aluminum is a great choice as well, mostly a personal choice more than anything, A few years ago, about 10 to be exact, I got fed up and quit my job and moved to Montana and worked for an outfitter for a couple of years, mainly on the south fork of the Flathead but other rivers when needed. We had clacks there, the weight forward models, and it was a very workable setup with the pedestal seats for the clients to move around in the boat, versus the bench models. I got used to that type of floor setup and now own one of the same make and style of boat that we used then. High side is good if you float technical water frequently and need the extra side board due to that type of water, Low side boats work for quite a bit of areas as well and in my old age they are easier to get in and out of. So if the price is good and no obvious owner back yard glass repairs done to the hull or weld jobs if it's aluminum then the boat is probably going to work out just fine. Wood is beautiful and rows nice but does require a lot of maintenance to remain in good shape, if your into the wood boats it a good route to go, myself, mine sits outside under a factory cover and the occasional car wash clean up, so glass works for me. I tow with a Toyota Tacoma pickup with no problems but without 4x4 you won't be able to put in or take out in some areas, I prefer the composite counter balanced oars and a floor mount anchor system, again personal choice. I would recommend that you get good quality oars with a breakdown back up oar, a good anchor rope and a spare plug or two. PFD's is always a good idea and start on the rivers that are easier to row and go with someone with experience on a river that you don't know first before trying it yourself. Watch the river flows so you have an idea when a float will be fun and have a great time.
  13. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,403
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,359 / 9
    Jeff, I can help you put a boat together just like mine. But you ain't getting mine.
    Matt, you need a crew, I'm in. Once you are ready to fish I'll row too. 2wd will be cause for concern in some places, but you already know that based on some of the deeply rutted places we've gone. I'm still not ready to row the oxbow, least not with others in the boat. Maybe I'm paranoid, maybe safety first? I'll opt for safety first. If you come across listings over here local to me and you want some eyes on the boat, let me know.
  14. nomlasder Active Member

    Posts: 1,321
    Burien.
    Ratings: +111 / 0
    Check out the chine, rub your hand ( carefully) along the bottom corner where the sides and bottom join, about the front third of the boat. If there are a lot of splinters and the fiberglass is broken and exposed, be wary. This can be repaired, but indicates signs of rough treatment. Look at the bottom and see if here are big gouges. Scuffs don't matter as that would be normal wear and tear. Is the boat clean, look inside fish boxes and compartments for signs of deterioration.

    An other option is to get a refurbished boat from Hyde or Clack. A lot of guides turn in thier boat for a new one everfy few years, the manufacturer resells them all fixed up.

    Have fun
  15. Matt Smith On the river Noyb

    Posts: 906
    Monroe, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    That is exactly what I was looking for, thanks for that. I called clack the other day and they said most of the guide trade ins come in around march. So if anyone else is looking then that is the time to start checking. Also if you buy your boat privately clack will inspect the boat and if it passes will extend you the warranty.
  16. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    I think that's a good choice for the boat, but a lifted truck with big tires and 2wd will get stuck just as easy as a 2wd that's not lifted.
  17. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,722
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +660 / 5
    But he will look cool while he is stuck. :)

    Your key is where you plan to fish mostly and launches you plan to use. We had a 69 GMC 2wd we used for years when I was a kid. Hunting and fishing. We launched our drifter in a lot of the launches on the OP during the 70s. BUT my Dad was pretty good with his driving and had tricks he'd do. When he bought our 75 Blazer that helped a lot. We went to a lot of launches we would slide the boat down before with the GMC. But it is doable in a full sized 2wd.
  18. fodf Team Umiak

    Posts: 414
    In my happy place.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Plus one for the Eastside. When working for WDF in the 70's we bought a new Eastside from Andre in Duvall. Trailered it back on a Ford mini-pickup..travel a dream to Forks, you never knew it was there. That Ford launced it in some of the most gnarliest launches on the Queets, Clearwater, Hoh, Bogie, and Duc. I'd buy an Eastside in a heartbeat.
  19. Matt Smith On the river Noyb

    Posts: 906
    Monroe, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I will look epic when I'm stuck at the bottom of the oxbow launch. As long as I can get a pull up when the laughter and photos subside.
    Man you guys are gonna make me tell my wife i need to buy a new truck. She's so gonna ban me. :clown::clown:
  20. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,403
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,359 / 9
    I'll keep my Pathfinder close...with a strap!