Looking for our first raft

My fishing buddy and I are looking into buying a raft in early 2012 but have no experience drifting. We live in colorado so know that we need a raft, and not a drift boat due to the rapids and lower flows.

From what I have gathered, it appears an AIRE super duper puma (14') and an NRS frame seem to be the best bet but we would like to have a firm floor if we can.

Thinks we would like

firm flooring
ice chest capable, under a chair preferred
storage box, under a chair preferred
anchor system
3 person capable
rod holders and support mounts.

Looking for opinions from people of experience.


Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Those inflatable floors get pretty damn hard. I'd say they are firm. Why not put coolers in bays, pinned between cross bars and use them as your seats? Coolers are great storage boxes. If you get a raft that is wide enough, and coolers wide enough you can put rod tubes in one of them, cold stuff in another and solve most of your storage needs. There are seat brackets that attach to cross bars that will flip forward. I got one from Clavey and it fits my NRS crossbars just fine. If you have to have a seat, this works and you can still put your cooler under the seat bracket. NRS is one great source, consider Maravia too. Most have or can be outfitted with anchor systems that work great. My 14' cataraft does well with 3 dudes, so a raft with the closed front, rear and floor will handle that weight even better. Best of luck.
I have a 13' Aire D series raft with a NRS frame. I like the bladder system and the frame has been great. The floor can be a little tricky because it curves down toward the sides. I believe Maravia has a drop stitch floor. Those are very rigid and don't slope as much. NRS also makes platforms that would make it easy to stand.

Best of luck. Post some pics when you get it rigged.


Active Member
I have a super duper puma with an adjustable (essentially the same idea as the NRS type) frame. I just got back from fishing the Deschutes for 4 days, although you can't fish from the boat for some dumb ass reason on that river. I have had it nearly 5 years and it is a great fishing rig. Send me a pm and I will email you several rigging ideas specific to the super duper puma. Look at aire's deals page for a demo or factory blemished super duper puma this winter, they should have some for a good discount. I bought a factory send SDP and you can't even see the belmish. I forgot where it is even.

The outcat boats are the same as the SDP. IF you want a good frame with casting decks for fishing, the outcast frame is a good one. Seams like I see them for sale (frame) a bit on craigslist


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
I have an Aire 143D. The boat has been flawless in the five years I've owned it.
My frame has a hard floor in the front, back and rowers area. After having the hard floor and using boats without, I won't want a boat without the hard floor. It is just more confortable to fish out of over a full day, especially as I've gotten older.
The only down side of the hard floor is weight, but I'll take it as a trade-off for the stability when fishing.
You might want to check out the NRS, Sotar and Maravia boats as well.

One other thing I didn't see on your list was a trailer. Having the boat set up and ready to fish all the time is the way to go. Setting up and breaking down a 14' boat before and after every trip isn't what I consider fun.
Hey all, Im the friend who is looking to get the raft with Charlie.

Shapp, it looks like yours is only set up for two people correct? Im guessing since you dont have the rear hoop (your frame is an NRS correct?) you just slid the crossbars for the rower back? would you think your raft would be too small for 3 people with gear?


Active Member
I used to have Recretec front and rear casting decks, The pic with the action seat up front and lean bar is using the front Recretec casting deck. I don't have a good pick of the boat set with the front and rear decks with the back person siting on a seat mounted over the rear of the boat. I actually found that I didn't like the person in the back and also found that I didn't particularly like or use the front casting deck much so I sold those. I have another casting deck I made for use up front now and don't fish someone out of the back. I have taken a few multiday fishing trips with 3 people and gear and put the two upfront side by side, howevever, we are not usually fly fishing using casting, but side drifting with a fly rod or jig rod. My main fishing rig is a cataraft now, but if you could have just one boat, the SPD would do it all for my needs. The frame on the SDP is an "nrs" like frame that I build using a variety of "speedrail" type fittings and some NRS fittings. If you are thinking multiday consistently with all camping gear and 3 anglers, I would probalby consider going to an Aire 14 round boat for extra weight hauling. If you are doing mostly day trips with 3 fishing go SDP.
Shapp, I'm assuming the sdp is the super duper puma? What was it about an angler inthe rear you did not like? I've been talking to Luke about a 14' over a 13' for a little more space, but he's concerned about Manu erability if we increase length. Also looking hard at the streamtechs.

We will be looking for a trailer but want to nail a bOat down before we look for a trailer.
I don't understand your comment about the under loaded/over loaded boat, I mean of coarse something over loaded is not going to perform as well as something under loaded. Can you explain what you were trying to say a little bit more please?


Active Member
I think what he is trying to say is that even though the 143 will be larger than the Super Duper Puma, the 143 will still be more responsive than the Super Duper Puma if the later is over loaded. Or in other words, you can carry more gear without sacrificing manuverability in the 143.

Personally, I row a 13' Aire Tributary with an NRS frame. It has been awesome; it's not huge, but it can carry enough gear for three guys for a three-fourday stretch. A word to the wise, don't skimp on the oars. When I first bought my raft I, like an idiot, thought that I could get by with Carlisle standard aluminum shafts. They suck, they tear your hands appart and offer zero flex when you are digging. Go with composite shafts, you won't regret it.
Thanks JS. What is it about the D series that makes it more manuverable? I was under the assumption the puma series was supposed to the the most manuverable. We don't plan on going cheap on the oars, but thanks for the heads up. This is why we are asking questions now. We don't plan on buying till about march, but want to get it all figured out ahead of time.


Active Member
No doubt a 14R will carry more than the SPD, but how much stuff do you really need to haul? On another note, I have packed my SDP to the hilt and have yet to find it "overloaded". does this SDP rig look overloaded for an 8 day trip with 6 people and only 1 other 14 foot raft for support for 3 kayaks? We weren't eating ramen either (steak, dutch oven deep dish pizze, etc. 100's of beers). Rowed class III+ in it no problem fully loaded, carrying many dry bags in the back, kitchen box, 80 quart Yeti cooler, drop bag up front with table deck, kayak, and Todd, 2 - 20 mm rocket boxes on either side of the cockpit with dutch ovens and charcoal, plus my old 42 lbs dog Simon (RIP), and 150 beers in the drop bag, and my 195 lbs naked :), this was an 8 day trip on the Salmon River.

And while carslisles are lower end, I have rowed a bunch of class IV with them no problem, they work just fine.

The one thing I really got the SDP for was small technical rivers, like various sections of the Owyhee at low water where haveing a narrower boat is the key to not getting stuck between boulders, and I can pick it up and move it around my self for cleaning and loading etc.. You can't pick up a 14R by yourself unless your name is Hoss Cartright.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Yeah, I'd say that's far from overloaded. I can see inside that raft. LOL. Man, I remember loading up an older Maravia raft so damned full I barely had room to sit in the damned thing and row. Don't miss those days at all. Love the description though. You had me ROLLING! I always loved loading the beverages up. Mostly because I knew that between food and beverages that boat was ALOT lighter by end of the trip.