Puget sound boat questions

So my wife has given me the OK to start shopping for my first boat to be used in the salt. What I am envisioning is something light enough that I can handle by myself easily enough, something I can drag up on a beach fairly easily, something I can launch at a place like Eglon without worry. Fishing wise, I am enivsioning using this boat to cruise the shore of the sound/canal looking to fish point, creek mouths, inlets, for salmon and SRC and basically all the places I'd love to fish on foot if everything was public land. Ideally I'd love something capable of doing Sekiu on a decent day, but that's not a deal breaker either.

I'm thinking something in the 14-16' ballpark, aluminum.

So, first off, does such a creature exist? How feasible is it for one guy to fish in such a manner? I'm sure my son would be joining me plenty, and hopefully my wife on occasion, and friends now and then, but a lot of the time I would be solo. For you guys that do such fishing, do you anchor up in fishy points, or stay on the move and just slowly cruise and cast?

Is a boat that fills those needs AND is capable of doing Sekiu a reality? I remember putting a ton of silvers into the rental boats at Olsen's, and I don't remember them being much more than what I've described.

Anyway, I'd love to hear some input from you guys who do similar fishing. What would you suggest for boats? Size? Motors? Things to look for? Avoid? Great features? Floor plans? Etc..... Just anything that could be added to a first time boat owner would be great.

I've already read through a ton of posts here, and several other places, and will be doing tons of research. Just hoping to hear from those of you with first hand experience with what I'm describing.




You "can" do Sekiu out of 12' aluminum if you pick your spots. We used to fish it from a 12' Duroboat and a 15.5' fiberglass boat. The glass boat we'd take to Neah Bay on occasion. I wouldn't hesitate to fish out of a 15' boat in those areas. You just have to be careful. Not sure what you mean by handle with 1 person? Launch/retrieve or drag it all the way up the beach? Not going to drag that boat anywhere but pulling it onto the beach and dropping an anchor can be done with anything. Launching and retrieving is pretty simple.

I'd look at a 14-15' Duroboat or Klamath for Puget Sound use.. Others will chime in with their preferred aluminum boat so take my suggestions for what they are. Duroboat is fairly heavy but that's what I'd be looking for in a smallish aluminum saltwater boat. 20-40hp outboard.

A couple boats for reference. Duroboat will give a slightly better ride because it's not a flat hull at the transom.

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
pick your weather at sekiu with a small boat and you'll be okay. get a good gps in case you get stuck in the fog.

if i was buying a boat specifically for puget sound i would look for an aluminum boat in the 15-18' range with a semi-v. i would likely get a tiller and think about installing oars and/or a new slick min-kota electric motors for drift control. the reason i would look towards 17-18 is that most of the smaller aluminum boats do not have floors without cross seats... and i prefer a truly open floor for fishing space. the extra couple feet don't make it that much harder to launch by yourself.

keep an eye on craigslist.
Thanks much for the input fellas. Much appreciated.

PT, that second point is one I have been eye balling for a few days. That is more or less exactly what I have envisioned. That Duroboat is sweet too. From what I have read, Duroboat owners absolutely rave about them and are not too willing to get rid of them. I definitely like the price better one that one, though I would think a 16' boat would be better in many ways.

I'm not worried about weight except for manability with 1 person. I'm a pretty big guy, so I reckon I wouldn't have much trouble with anything in that ballpark. I guess I'm just picturing putting in at Eglon, where I would have to more or less drag it off the trailer at times, and slide it up on the beach as there is no dock or anything.

Everyone I talk to says to get more boat than I need, as the standard seems to be that most people find they want to upgrade shortly after buying a boat. I also read that no one boat can do it all. Since this will be my first I'm not wanting to drop a ton of coin since it sounds like an upgrade or 10 is inevitable anyway, but I don't want to just throw my money away on something that I won't enjoy either. Part of me wants to keep it at 16', but I can certainly see advantages of going a little bigger.


Chris' suggestions lengthwise are to be taken seriously. Bigger helps bridge the waves when you're cruising (waves have to be at a bridgeable distance, though. They aren't always the size/distance apart that we may prefer ;)). But, a 15' boat will do just about anything you're looking to do. It's a boat you could use for a few years and upgrade when the time comes. Buy the wrong big boat the first time and you'd be wasting a few months pay. Not so with a smaller aluminum.

Storage, fuel, handling, maintenance are all compromises to be thought out.

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
If I had a choice between a 15 1/2' boat and a 16 1/2' boat I'd go with the smaller boat because of the licensing prices in WA state. I'd either go with a 15.5' boat or something in the 18' range to make the licensing worthwhile. There's not much difference in the salt with boats in the 16' range. Eventually you will be out in some conditions and realize a bigger boat would be more "comfortable/safe".

Smaller ones are easier to haul also. First thing I'd look at is the maximum size your rig would haul and not look at anything bigger. If you buy used, take a ride in it first and not in smooth water conditions. I had one 17' Lund I was hot for and during a choppy day on Lake WA found out it wasn't for me. It was too rough riding for me and I went with a Lund that had a different hull design and cut thru the waves better rather than smacking down on top of them.

One more thing on boat size and Seiku. We've fished out of 12footers at Seiku and Neah Bay. Just need to pick the weather.

Big E

Active Member
I used to think like that...little run about to access the bays and explore a bit...get to the water just out of casting range from shore, etc. Figured a little boat with like a 25 hp or so would be fine. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't do that.

Mine is a 18.5 with an offshore bracket. Very manageable by myself even with my bad back. Doubt I would launch at Eglon though. I dump it in the water Thurs night and tie it to the visitor dock in the marina until Sunday. I've got my name in for a slip but I think some people have to die off before I get one.

Once you have access to the salt then you want to go crabbing so figure on space for traps and the family and then a davit comes next. Once you figure out the best fishing isn't at Eglon but across the sound, you'll wish you had the bigger boat. Once you make the drive to CQ and find it is too rough and you have to drive all the way back, you'll wish you had a bigger boat. If you want to fill the freezer, you'll want downriggers. Once you sit out in an open boat and get burned to a crisp or rained on in the winter, you'll want cover.

My reasoning when the wife gave me the ok to buy a boat was to get as big a boat as I could afford, both up front and maintenance wise. I had thought about a riveted boat at first but then got turned off from stories of popping rivets from the constant pounding.

You're welcome to come up for a beer and have a look at mine. Once the fishing season opens up, you'll have to come out fishing with me.

If you send me a PM with your e-mail address, I'll send you a couple page write-up which were handouts for presentation in past years. There is a lot of useful information about boats, trailers, setting up the boat for fly fishing, etc. in the handout.



Active Member
Plenty of good boat recommendations here. I'd also suggest a 16' to 18' Lund Alaskan. They've got enough "V" that they work pretty well in rough water. I've used one with a 40 horse in SE Alaska and Puget Sound. We've got a 16' Northriver right now that is a great little fishing boat too, if you ran across one that'd be a good choice. easy to launch, has plenty of beam, stable and about 12 degree V so it's not too bad when it gets a little lumpy.
Wow, thanks for all the great input. I really appreciate it.

Roger, I will definitely be shooting you a PM. Eric, I'd love to come check your boat out sometime! I'll bring the beer

One common theme across the board is when it comes to boats, longer is always better. And when it comes to motors, too much HP is better than too little. The logic behind this makes complete sense to me, my problem in looking at that is trying to decide where to draw the line. My wife hasn't put a budge constraint on me just yet, but I know there is a difference at this point between what we could comfortably afford, and what I personally am comfortable with putting into my first boat. I mean, say I decide on an 18' foot boat for all the great reasons provided, well then wouldn't I then just start lusting after the 22' Arima I was in at La Push a couple weeks ago? I have done a lot of salmon fishing in the salt with gear rods, and had an awful lot of fun doing so. I'm sure that I will start jonesing for trips to Westport in little time at all once I get a boat for the sound. The problem is I have only so much time and money to devote to my beloved sport. As much as I'd love to do it all, I have to prioritize at this point in my life. 99% of my fishing is lakes and beaches, because I can do that quite easily with the limited time I have available. As much as I'd love to get serious about chasing steelhead, my fishing time is too limited to be decidating the weekend plus type trips that would be required to do so. I'm surrounded by beaches and lakes, and have learned to love fishing beaches and lakes. So I guess at this point I'm fairly comfortable living with an some unfulfilled urges when it comes to this boat purchase. As much as I'd love to be able to do more, go more places, bring more people etc... The simple fact is that better than 75% of my time spent in whatever boat I buy is going to be either solo, or with my son, chasing sea runs and silvers relatively close to shore. All that said, I'm also smart enough to realize that once I get into my own boat for the first time, all bets are off! So I really want to keep my initial investment on the lower end, as there is the very real possibility this will just be the start of a real sickness.

Anyhow, it's a lot to consider. The research is half the fun, but I sure can't wait to get out and play around on the water!


Topwater and tying.
Got a 14 foot Duraboat a few months ago and it makes a great general purpose boat. Rated for a 25 horse and my 25 Johnson 2 stroke pushes it right along with 2 people and gear. I'd recommend going with max horsepower rating. You also get a bit more "oomph" with a 2 stroke of the same ponys. The 25 horse 2 stroke is also light enough to pull off without too much strain to allow access to lakes that don't allow internal combustion engines.

The Duroboat also has a heavier V configuration which handles chop a lot better.

If you'ld like to go for a ride I'm planning on doing some Gig Harbor tours for family next week. 10th, 11th or 12th, but it hasn't been finalized. Shoot me a PM if you'ld like and we can finalize details.

Speyrod GB

Active Member
I have a 14.5 foot Alumacraft ( Fisherman 145 TL) with a 25 hp Yamaha. The floor plan is very open. I have had this lil gem for almost 3 years and love it. I have discovered there is no perfect boat for everything. Just my $.02.


Active Member
Nick - I have had a handful of boats and I am on what is by far my favorite for Puget Sound - a 16' Triumph with tiller steer. The rotomolded hull is great on our cobble beaches and its weight is very manageable. I've had larger, composite center consoles before and the center console takes up a lot of room. I "cleaned" up the interior of this boat so that the entire thing is a striping basket.