Advice on rafts for fishing

Poff

Active Member
#32
So here's another raft related question - what experiences have people had with the two different Aire floor systems? standard floor pocket vs. sealed floor pocket?
 

saffman

Active Member
#33
Depends on what you're doing and the water you run. I've had both in the past few years. There's not a huge handling difference between the two but I do think the standard floor ballast is a plus in big water. Had a 143D when we lived in Southern Oregon with sealed pocket floor and loved it. Picked up a Super Duper Puma with standard floor when we moved to SW Colorado and love that boat. Big enough to handle most anything but narrow and great handling for our small technical waters. The standard floor seems to track better and is a plus on windy days as well as it doesn't get blown around as much as the sealed pocket floor boats. Reading your initial post sounds like primarily tailwater with very little big whitewater if any. That being the case you may be happier with the sealed pocket floor if frequent wind isn't an issue and you don't mind spending the extra $450. Keep in mind the standard floor does not really hold that much water if the floor is pumped up tight.
 

Poff

Active Member
#34
Thanks for the information and input on the Aire floors. I've heard mixed comments on how much water the standard floors hold, so it's good to hear it's not much with proper inflation.
 

John Hicks

Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits
#35
I own a Streamtech Salmonfly. Ok with that being out of the way, let me say this.

Floor: Maravia floor is as close to a hard boat floor as you are going to get. I have had clients that were amputees above the knee say that the floor was amazing. As for the cleats issue. I use cheap computer chair mats and they work wonders. I always wear cleats.

Performance: My boat I would argue performs better than any other inflatable on the market for size. I can personally attest that safety and durability in a hairy situation is amazing. Maravia makes a tube that is indestructible.
 

Lugan

Joe Streamer
#36
Derek's suggestion of adding anti-fatigue mats is right on. We did an extra tweak on our Salmonfly: Buy a few pool noodles (the long ~5" diameter foam float toys for kids) and install them in the side channels of the floor under the anti-fatigue mats. You cut the pool noodles and mats to size, and you get a relatively large and flat standing surface front and rear for standing casters.
 
#37
Derek's suggestion of adding anti-fatigue mats is right on. We did an extra tweak on our Salmonfly: Buy a few pool noodles (the long ~5" diameter foam float toys for kids) and install them in the side channels of the floor under the anti-fatigue mats. You cut the pool noodles and mats to size, and you get a relatively large and flat standing surface front and rear for standing casters.
Hey Lugan, could you maybe attatch a photo of your foam modifications? Link told me about this years ago but I couldn't wrap my head around the pool noodle concept. More of a visual learner myself. Thanks!
 

Lugan

Joe Streamer
#38
I'd like to attach a photo, but the foam pool noodles are buried and totally invisible from above (due to the non-skid mat zip-tied above) or below (due to the raft bottom). So let me try to walk you through it instead:

Get in your raft and look down at the floor at the front or rear casting stations. On my Streamtech Salmonfly, there is an inflated bulge covering the center of the floor that creates a flat surface to stand on. However, that flat surface does not extend from the very edge of the Maravia tube. Instead, there is a channel between the floor bulge and the Maravia tubes.

Now think about how you'd extend the floor to make it larger. You'd want to fill in that channel between the Maravia tubes and the floor bulge. Looking at the shape of that channel, it's easy to imagine a foam pool noodle filling that gap in to even out the floor.

So you take your pool noodles, and you cut them to the right length to fill that gap from the front (and then the rear) of the raft to tuck under the first frame member.

Next, you cut the non-skid mat to fit the shape of the floor at each casting station front and rear. Just place the cut mats on top of the inflated floor bulge and pool noodle.

Finally, you need to secure the pieces to the raft. We used tandem zip ties and basically had one of us in the raft and the other underneath (did this on the trailer in a well-lit garage) and kinda jerry-rigged it by looping the zip ties through the big eyelets in the self-bailing floor. It isn't super neat, but sturdy enough and won't damage the boat or hinder performance. After about 10 or 12 days on the water, it's still all intact.

Let me know if anything is unclear.
 
#39
Thanks Lugan. I appreciate the detailed description. It sounds like you're just filling in the edges with noodles where the tube meets the drop stitched floor to extend the standing area but you're not necessarily building up the floor itself with noodles towards the center to level it out? It's that inflated rocker that bothers fisherman in my boat and I would like to get rid of it without welding in casting platforms if at all possible. I'll definitely give the foam method a try.
 
#41
Maravia makes a tube that is indestructible.
There's a Maravia with a blown tube seam on Seattle Craigslist right now. It doesn't matter who makes the boat if it's overinflated or water is allowed to get into the tubes, it's days are numbered.
 

Poff

Active Member
#43
This may sound like a weird question, but has anyone ever built, or seen, a casting platform on top of a raft for flatwater application?

There are plenty of examples of in-boat small casting platforms on the bow or stern floor, but I haven't seen any large ones on top of the tubes. I'm thinking one could have a temporary platform or large casting deck for calm water sight fishing.

Just curious as I continue my search for a fly fishing watercraft and desire for versatility.
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
#44
A cooler used as a seat makes a pretty solid flat water casting platform.
I love my cataraft with open Fred Flintstone rowers floor. It will have to do until I can afford a salmon fly.