I am looking tp purchase my first drift boat (15 or 16' fiberglass) to fish the Yakima and/or similar waters. Does anyone have an idea on what I should expect to pay for a used boat in good condition? Other advice? Thanks!
I have seen them at tackle shops on the bulletin board for $ 2,000. in really good shape. they dont have a motor, can't see paying that much for a used one. Me I'm looking for a 17 or 18 foot open aluminum with a rough going bow. Hard to come by for those. Ben
I was wearing your exact shoes about six years ago. I learned that used aluminum boats (especially in my price range) were a lot easier to come by than fiberglass. I stuck to my guns and eventually found a 10-year-old lavro outfitters dory on a trailer for $2800 (came with a nice little outboard to boot!). It took me months to find it and I wound up having to drive all the way from Seattle to Corvalis to get it.
It was a screaming deal, even for the time, and six years hence, boats are undoudtedly more. They're also nicer, with more and smarter features.
Here's my advice. Don't be too doctrinaire about fiberglass. It turns out a lot of aluminum boats are perfectly nice. And I have to say that for eastern Washington, the rolled gunwales on most fiberglass boats (mine included) can be a hassle in the wind. (Hydes and some other newer models don't have rolled gunnels.)
Whatever you get, look for these minimum features in a boat, if you want it to be suitable for fly fishing. 1) the seats (at least the rowers seat) should be adjustable fore and aft to balance loads for when you have three people in the boat (with corresponding adjustibility for the oar locks and foot brace). 2) at least some dry storage somewhere. 3) a good anchor system that lets you drop and raise the hook from the rowers seat without having to turn around. 4) knee-chocks forward for a standing caster (not only good for the caster's stability, but gives him a guide for centering-up, which you'll constantly be reminding him to do -- a tipped boat is hard to row).
Here's some gravy features: swivel-seats fore and/or aft; a back rest for the rowers seat; a bow-anchor for lake fishing; casting decks fore and/or aft; knee-chocks behind the rowers seat for an aft caster; cup-holders throughout; a propane heater (for steelheading).
Ray gave good advice on the drift boat. One thing I would add that is important is the set-up of the boat seats. My Hyde drift boat has a bench seat forward for two people and a single pedestal seat in the rear. I picked the bench seat forward (as opposed to the pedestal seat) because I occasionally will pull plugs for SH in the winter, and because it gives me more seating when I take my kids with me.
A lot of aluminum boats do not have a rear seat (e.g. Willie Boats) which might limit their effectiveness for flyfishing.
I am very happy with my Hyde, and I would recommend them highly. it is a great boat and the Hyde people are very nice folks.
I am on Hyde's Pro-Staff team, and I would be happy to hook you up with their used boat program, or get you more general drift boat information.
You will have a lot of fun - drift boats are an absolute kick to fish out of! E-mail me if you want more specific information.
Wood, Aluminum, Glass? A well kept wood is absolutely beautiful, more so if you built it yourself. They are a high maintenance boat & do not take well to being stored outside. Aluminum is cold, noisy, & it sticks to rocks! But you can put a propane heater in a tin boat. A lot of wood & aluminum boats have had UHMH shoes installed to make them more rock friendly. UHMW is heavy, and it is bolted onto the bottom. Glass Reinforced Plastic can be a mixture of damn near anything, it can be hand lay up or shot from a gun. Modern technology has allowed manufacturer's to incorporate features no found in wood nor aluminum boats. Everything is a trade off. You just have to decide which features are most attractable. I've owned wood, glass, and a rubber cat. My present boat is a Clack with the Gulfstream bottom.
Get a boat with either a 54" or 60" bottom. 48" wide boats suck to row if you have two or more guests in the boat. If you get aluminum boat, a UHMW bottom is the shizzle. It slides over rocks like it was greased, is neutrally buoyant, and I had mine put on by Willie and they did it with some crazy ass epoxy instead of screws. Other cool features that I love: my walk around seat, heater with heater baffle (pizza oven), movable box seats instead of a bench seats, and a flat floor.