Getting a raft setup for fishing

I just purchased an older 12' raft to use primarily for fishing. It came with an oar frame of unknown make. I'm trying to figure out how to set it up (on a budget) for fishin'. I've seen the full fishing frames made by NRS and others but wanted to see what I could do to set it up myself.

What have other people done to set up a bucket boat for fly fishing? I was looking at just adding a NRS seat mount to it for the guy in the stern but can't figure out the best setup for the bow. Hints?

Also - has anyone built their own anchoring system? The prices for the pre built ones seem a bit high.

Sometime in the future I'd like to do overnight trips down the Rogue, John Day, Deschutes (no fishing frame needed) etc.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
Check out Dana's website at Swiftwater. Download the PDF and see if you can get some ideas from there.
Also, stop by and see him, he's a good dude and will give you some advice.
The other thing to consider is set-up. Is the boat on a trailer? If not, whatever you do as far as the frame, think about ease of set-up and how long it will take to put the whole package together once you hit the river. Long set-up = less fishing time.
Good luck,

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Wish you were closer, could check it out for you. It's VERY easy to convert them. Unless you want it to look like a professional job, you can get buy pretty cheap and easy. First, you should be able to adjust the frame on the boat. I assume you just have a standard rowers frame. Easiest way to add a seat is to buy a cooler just big enough to fit between the tubes. Strap it down to the frame through the handles. Keeps it from flying up while driving or rough water (hard to describe, easier to shop how to do).

Anchor system is very easy too. Just easier to show the setup if I can get an idea of how the boat is designed. Depends on what the frame is made of, you can drill holes (you only want to do the bare minimum of holes, because the more you add, the weaker the frame can become). Use eye bolts and twist them out to put a pulley into it (you can use an add a link type connection between, I just like as few parts as possible). Put those down the frame. At the front of the frame, use another eye bolt with a special pulley that has a ratchet built in (I know where to buy them, and have a couple, just can't remember the name of them). This way, as you pull line in, it automatically locks into place with each pull. When you're ready to release rope, just push a release button near the pulley and out goes line. Works pretty easity.

Onto the rear release. Depends on how your tubes are designed again. Easy to buy the seat bracket that hooks to the rear of the boat. Usually has a flat wooden seat. Just put a simple side pulley (bought where you get boat parts for about $11) and then add a simple rear drop release for a boat (about another $15). Works pretty easy. I know, sounds complicated (I think). Wish I had a setup here, I'd post pics. But very simple to do.
Thanks for the input. I've already got a cooler as the rower's seat. Getting one in the back that sits on the tube in the rear to provide both a seat and a rear pully location for the anchor is the key. Where did you get the seat you are referring to?

I posted some pics of my boat in my gallery. I'm also trying to figure out the best way for the front angler to sit. Right now they can sit on the thwart but a real seat would be better. The frame unfortunatly dosn't run over the top of the front thwart - if it did, the front seat would be easy.

Also- whats the best way to make some sort of casting floor for the guys to stand on and fling BWOs into the trees? I got some foam from the guy who sold me the boat which he claimed worked as a floor. Any other ideas?

I do know the cleat/pully setup. I saw that on a drift boat once. Do you know where to find one for the raft?

I don't currently have a trailer for the boat and probably won't have one for a while so keeping setup time down is a good thing. I don't care too much about have it look professional - only that it works well.

As for Swiftwater - I love that shop. I rented a raft from them and took it down the lower deschutes over the summer. That's what started this whole obsession!



Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
One other thing I forgot to mention, which is the most important, is safety. Any modes you do to the oars or anchor systems, make sure they are sturdy. You don't want any major failures happening while floating a river like the Sol Duc.
One thing I have found is that the stern fisherman doesn't really need a seat on a raft- the way the tubes are laid out provides seating/casting options covering almost 360 degrees, just scoot your butt around the tube to cast in any directions Also, anchors can work great in the right conditions (slow current, sandy/muddy/gravel bottom, but beware faster currents and rocky, boulder/bedrock streambeds which pose entrapment/entanglement risks. Good luck with your boat!! Rafts Rule!!!!!