Brought the wife, now she wants a boat!

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Uboatman, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. Uboatman

    Uboatman Is it possible to fish, surf and golf all at once?

    Jun 4, 2011
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    Seattle, WA
    I was fortunate enough to have 4 days on the bitterroot last week floating on my scadden rampage. I had the wife join for a float and the craziest thing happened. She loved it so much she's dead set on getting a "real" boat so we can float comfortably and bring the kids too.

    So now I'm shopping and am torn... Drift boat, framed raft, or cat?

    I'm comfortable rowing myself down the occasional class III so I can fish good water but have no desire to push it much more than that, and I've probably only float 8-15 times a year for the past 6 years.

    So... With kids, not a huge amount of time on the sticks, but having rowed my buddies clackacraft several times I am thinking a drift boat would be sure comfy. But am I sacrificing safety benefits and forgivability by note going inflatable?

    I'd appreciate people weighing in...
  2. ten80

    ten80 Active Member

    Sep 20, 2009
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    Anchorage, AK
    I own a big cataraft, have rowed several rafts, and have ridden in driftboats. I'd say a framed raft is best for a family because they offer a full floor, full perimeter containment, are easier to get in and out of than drift boats (especially for children), and are more forgiving and safe than a driftboat when the water gets above class II. 14ft raft can fit a lot of gear and people and is exceedingly versatile. There are some awesome deals on rafts right now if you peruse craigslist, must the economy.
  3. martyg

    martyg Active Member

    Jul 10, 2005
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    The world at large
    X2. I have owned and rowed all in various configurations on everything from flatwater to 20,000 cfs going downhill at 50' per mile. A raft will give you far more versatility. And as far as the family goes, it makes a great swim platform in calm water and the tubes are great places to hang out, sit, nap - whatever. IMO it is also safer - far more buoyant than a drift boat unless you get into a decked dory. The only thing that you'll need to have the family conscious of are pinch points between the floor and raft frame.

    Recently I sold my driftboat(s) in favor of just two rafts - a 14' Aire Super Puma and a larger 16' boat. With those boats I have ALL conditions covered. Like ten80 said - look for a 14', but make sure that it is a voluminous 14'. The Super Puma, while categorized at a 14', would be too svelte for your usage. A 16 foot would be perfect for the family, but you might find it too much at times - it just won't drive like a smaller boat. Voluminous 14', a 15' or svelte 16' would be the way to go. Don't get wigged out about demoing the boat - until you really have a lot of time behind the oars - like 100 days in a season - you won't be in a position to discern. Just get it, row it and learn how to drive it.

    You'll also want a trailer so you don't have o rig / de rig every time.

    Safe travels.
  4. hookedonthefly

    hookedonthefly Active Member

    Jan 17, 2008
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    Marty well covered your questions with good, solid advice. I agree completely with his recommendations. I thought the Super Puma was a 13' and the Super Duper Puma was their 14'.

    I run a 14' Maravia Ranger with an expedition style frame built by Cy Wert at Cambridge Welding. This is not an ideal setup for fishing from the boat but it can be done.

    I am ordering another Ranger this year and will probably roll with a StreamTech flyfishing frame on that one. You can pack a ton of gear on these types of boats or 7 people with one on the guide stick. A stern frame is another option that can work well in some cases.

    Depending on how large your family is, with an expedition style frame, you can fit two people seated on a front dry box and one in the rear bay/compartment; and, there is still a ton of storage. I would image you could put a leaning post in that rear bay/compartment if you're going to want to fish while floating. Back rowing with people and gear in a raft will definitely get you in shape too; so, you can drop that exercise club membership and put that money towards everything you're going to need.

    I'd be happy to answer any questions about rigging and most applicable outfitting for your situation.
  5. teerex

    teerex Member

    Dec 31, 2010
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    Yakima, Klickitat, Deschutes
    Agree w/ MartyG, ten80's assessments about needing a raft for comfort, safety, forgivability. But you will lose versatility for lake fishing, or calm bays, which can be just as rewarding - and the water levels are more consistent.

    Of course, that means you need both a 15' framed raft and a driftboat. And a 18' open jet sled...IDK.

    16 footers (rafts and driftboats) are a lot of boat to move for one person (retired rafting guide here). A 15' raft has plenty of room for four with an oarsman, and is easier to convert to a paddle boat for splash and giggle.

    I have no interest in this boat or seller, but I noticed a respectable looking Clack on the CL in Portland.
    That model doesn't come up at that price too often. Looks like it would seat 4, but that might be pushing it.
  6. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald that's His Lordship, to you.....

    Sep 23, 2008
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    Haus Alpenrosa, Lederhosenland
    Take a look at Derek Young's Streamtech; He puts so much stuff in that thing it's amazing, but it's never cluttered or in the way. That's a class-act machine! I prefer my Clack to an inflatable for only one reason: at some point, you're gonna need to change out the tubes/bladders/air chambers.

    That's a nice Clack on CL, but one thing-there's no knee braces for the guy in the back, which also means you can't lean back against them and light up a cigar:confused:

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