Just a quick statement on driftcraft. Always leave extra room in the certified weight limit,(IE: if its rated at 350lbs i would limit at 275) this is especially important on inflatables on a river so you sit as high as possible. This make navigation and agility 100% easier. There really is not a great still water/river craft that i have found, this is mainly due to the fact that the river crafts require more height at the gunnel and therefore catch a little to much wind in still water. I would pick your primary focus and get a craft to fit those needs. I cannot say enough about my small 1 man pontoon craft, it is agile, forgiving and is priceless at the beginning of the season when i am scouting out the changes from year to year. Always wear you PFD on a one man pontoon boat.( i would suggest eventually getting your hands on a sensor inflated vest so it is not as bulky when you are casting.) You will never get a chance to put it on when you actually need it and by the time you surface you boat will be 30 seconds downstream. I wear an emergency sensor inflatable pfd when i wade, wear it on the outside of your chest waders and always have a wading belt. if you fill your waders 4 PFDs won't float you. Inflatable kyaks are great on lower rivers but only get you in trouble in rapids. Overall craft selection is fitness for purpose and you will enjoy your time on the river with a river craft.
Ray, thank you. Now you gotta take a bunch of cataraft porn shots and put them in the watercraft section. Is that a 12' or 14' boat? Looks like you built up something capable of a solo expedition of many many days.
I'll have to try the "image" insert thing up there. The cat in my avatar's a 14 footer. You can haul solo expedition loads on a 12 ft cat if the tubes are big enough diam - at least 20". That used to be my favorite size when I was younger since that's about as big as you can go and still control the boat in slower water with fins if you want - but big enough to handle some pretty outrageous water with the oars. Now I'm just as happy rowing as casting or taking pictures and so 14' by 25" (NRS River Cat) tubes with an 8 ft frame is big enough for a passenger plus a decent amt of gear. Cataporn? I'm gettin light headed just thinking about it.
I would also say you can't go wrong with a scadden boat. I have the Skykomish Sunrise and it has been a great boat for the last 4 years. I use it often and it fits nicely fully inflated on top of the bed of my ford ranger. They are a little more pricey then other pontoons but you usually only have to buy one. Once you take it down a river with rapids you'll be happy you spent the extra money. You can get really good deals purchasing them at the sportsmans shows. Most of his boats also come with a internal bladder option that saves you quite a bit of money and they are still great!
Dave was at one time, a designer for Outcast. He had one similar to that called the Escalde. I bought one because I thought it was a Great idea.
I hated having to climb in and out specially with fins on, so, I sold it.
Just some thoughts on this. You buy a watercraft once. Then you use it hopefully many times in the coming seasons to carry yourself safely into beautiful fishing locations and put yourself over catchable fish. For most flyfishers I know these are some of the most valuable times we spend. Your watercraft can either be a pain in the ass to deal with or it can be a pleasure. It can require constant maintenance and repair - or it can be mostly carefree and a pleasure to use. It can be difficult to operate or it can be convenient. Even a few hundred dollars difference in price is not so much when you spread the difference over dozens of trips. And besides, a well built, well-designed watercraft, made with quality materials will fetch more if you decide to sell it or trade it later.