Willie vs. Clacka

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by narwhal, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. narwhal

    narwhal Member

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    So I am maybe gonna get a drift boat this summer. I was looking at maybe a clackamax or a 17-18ft Willie. Wanna have it set up with one seat behind rower and and room for 2-3 (even if 3 is cramped) in front. That way I can have 2+1 or 3+1 in boat comfortably or fit a 5th person if needed. WIll mainly be fishing the Kenai.

    ANy suggestions? I know one is aluminum and one is FG an dhave different properties, but that is also something I can not decide on.

    Any other boats I should consider?

    Thanks

    narwhal
     
  2. Clint F

    Clint F Fly Fishing Youth

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    Personally I would say Willie!!! We have a fiberglass boat now and in 3 years have beat it to death from dragging it through tailouts on low rivers. I also feel better in an aluminum boat knowing that if I hit something hard (say a rock:eek:) the aluminum will dent instead of crack like fiberglass. Aluminum has one major down side that has seamed to stand out to me. And it is that its louder, (dragging bottom through a tailout or dropping something in the boat).

    My dad and I have been given the ok from my mom to get a new drift boat for next salmon/steelhead season and we are planning on getting a 17 foot Willies.

    I hope this information helps you out. I dont think the low water will be an issue for you on the kenai though.

    Clint
     
  3. Bryan Williamson

    Bryan Williamson Willybethere

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    Sounds like you're considering a larger boat, I don't know if Hyde has a model this large or not. They are the third make most often discussed on this board.I have a clack 16 LP which I love and would highly reccomend clack's based on this. I've never rowed aluminum, there are many on this forum who will have strong opinions on both which will be helpful. From my memory the Kenai is a larger river so I don't believe (correct me if I'm wrong) you'll be hitting bottom much. I do know that aluminum is a colder boat than glass and sticks on rocks where glass slides off. No idea on the warranty Willy offers but clack offers life (100 yrs) on punctures. I'd suggest using the search function, this topic has been discussed numerous times.
     
  4. East Fork

    East Fork Active Member

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    What boat material works best in a given drainage usually depends on the riverbed and how you fish. A good indication is what the majority of other guys are using on that river. A quick internet search seemed to point to aluminum being the overwhelming material of choice on the Kenai. Both the Willie and the Clack are excellent boats but the combined wisdom of your peers seems to point to the Willie. Fishrite and Alumiweld also make rugged and fine rowing aluminum boats.

    I had 2 wood boats before I bought my aluminum. I agree with what Clint F's comments. I have to add that while I too find the noise annoying, the fish don't seem to mind. As Bryan notes, other common knocks on metal boats are that they are cold and they stick. The sticky bottom issue is solved by bottom coating. On a cold day, its much nicer to be in a aluminum boat with a propane heater than a glass boat without one.

    Go for the Willie.
     
  5. bfic

    bfic Member

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    Check out Koffler (eugene oregon) - they are first rate people to deal with.
     
  6. wolverine

    wolverine Member

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    I've owned both and prefer the new Clacks for my style of fishing. If you're going to beat the crap out of the boat on the river and then stick it under a tree when you get home; buy aluminum. If you take reasonable care of the boat then glass is the way to go. Oh, I've used propane heaters in glass boats for years. Never a problem.
     
  7. Ray

    Ray Active Member

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    I'd go with a 18' x 60" willie with a AHMW bottom. The Kenai is so opaque and shallow, you'll have no problem finding the bottom. You can go with box seats up front, which allows you to adjust everything very quickly and without hassel. Of all of the drift boats on the Kenai and Kasilof, 80% were Willie, 15% were Fish-rite, and 5% mixed bag.
     
  8. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

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    Not always the case. Like here, in southern Oregon, Willie, Fishrite, Alumaweld and others are all made right here in town. Whereas Clacka craft and Hyde are made in Idaho with sales outlets in Portland. No wonder we see more tin boats around here.

    That said, the Willie with the movable box seats may be more to your liking.
     
  9. Bryan Williamson

    Bryan Williamson Willybethere

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    Just to be clear, Clacks are built in Clackamas, Oregon.
     
  10. East Fork

    East Fork Active Member

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    So, your assertion is that majority of people use metal drift boats on the Rogue because such boats are manufactured locally, not that they are better suited to the river?
     
  11. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

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    OK. So I stand corrected on Clacks being made in Clackamas, Oregon. I remember reading that on their website. I Just forgot. Shame on me. You'd think I'd know better. Since i have one.

    Correct or not though, that's my take on it. I see a lot of tin boats with heaters in them. That could also have something to do with their popularity. But still, there are so many people around here making tin boats, it's like they're everywhere. Whereas glass, or even wood boats are about like trying to find a Kawasaki in Sturgis.

    In the end, they all have their strong points, and their weak points. And each side will tell you why their's is best. You have to decide what is best for you.
     
  12. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, one thing you must remember is that most of these aluminum driftboats are built for gear fisherman. Why most of the aluminum builders are here in the NW. Before anyone chimes in on Hyde's aluminum (which was designed by guides in the NW), aluminum boats have one thing that glass doesn't. The ability to be a slug. LOL. Well, shouldn't say a slug, but they will track better usually and they will row slower. So for someone who is sidedrifting or backtrolling all day long, it's alot less work to run an aluminum all day long. Why you see more guys using gear working aluminum, where more guys using fly will use glass. I see more flyguys NOT fishing from their driftboat, so they scurry from hole to hole, not worrying about pumping those oars constantly in one slot (I didn't say ALL but more of them). I'm actually in the market to buy another aluminum DB. I have an old 16' fiberglass Eastside now. Guess what? I'm keeping the Eastside and also buying an aluminum to have. One I'll use for running whitewater and flyfishing (the Eastside) and the aluminum will be used for running gear and whitewater as well (but not exclusively whitewater, but for days I'm running heavier runs while fishing gear that is).

    Up on the Kenai, most of the guys I know have the 18' aluminum boats. I'd say go that route.
     
  13. narwhal

    narwhal Member

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    One of the reasons that the majority of boats on the Kenai are aluminum is because until very recently, the only option for 18ft+ boats was aluminum. The Clackamax changes that. The "standard" Kenai guide boat is teh 20ft Willie with 4 seats in front of the rower. Not ideal for fly fishing, but is ok for slowly drifting with beads on light spinning rods which is very popular in the summer and fall.

    narwhal
     
  14. East Fork

    East Fork Active Member

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    This fall I was hanging out in The Guide Shop in Orofino, Idaho (on the Clearwater). There were probably 15 drift boats in the yard of various materials and sizes. The owner's comment was the 18 foot Clackercraft was the best rowing boat he had ever been in. By best rowing, he meant the easiest to hold in position. It that's the case, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see more big Clacks on the Kenai.
     
  15. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    Don't own a DB at this point, but of the one's I've 'traveled in' my nod goes to the 'low sided' Claka. Getting in/out of these is SWEET if you're a clumsy old clod like me.

    Even the dog says YES, or should that be WOOF!!:thumb: Easy guess on his opinion.
     
  16. flybop

    flybop New Member

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    I fished in and rowed the Clackamax once and really liked it. It was hard to tell the difference between the Max and my 16 ft lp Clack. However, not being familiar with the rivers you guys run I am not in a position to say which boat is best in your part of the world. I will just say that the Clackmax is a nice boat.
     
  17. Ryan Buccola

    Ryan Buccola I ain't broke but brother I am badly bent

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    Koffler!! all the way. I have a 16ft guide with two seat up front and one behind the rowing station with a casting brace as well. I have modified my rowing seat to move forward while rowing with a bigger dude in the back. The aluminum boats really need to have the wieght forward. I will up load some pictures tonite.
     

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