Drift Boat or Raft? A real conundrum

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by aplTyler, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. aplTyler

    aplTyler Inept Steelheader

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    Though I'm currently living in Spokane, it's looking likely that I'll be moving to either the Tri-Cities or back to the PDX metro area in the next 7 months. My wife and I are considering a boat purchase as loan rates and purchase prices are extremely favorable at this time.

    Most of the contacts I have made are suggesting a raft. I'd most likely be fishing the Yakima and Deschutes but would also like to be able to take it out to the N. Idaho streams, Montana and perhaps some westside steelhead rivers. Raft or Drift Boat. Price seems to be nearly equal for a quality raft to a used Hyde or Clackacraft.

    Any opinions, ideas?
     
  2. Dustin Bise

    Dustin Bise Active Member

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    I dont know who told you drift boat, but they were incorrect.

    Raft = 1000 more launchs/takeouts.

    No problem hitting rocks.

    Floats when upside down, not that you want to flip one...


    I would advise you to get a raft 100 percent.
     
  3. aplTyler

    aplTyler Inept Steelheader

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    Nice... on a side note, do you want to hit the Spokane tomorrow Dustin?
     
  4. martyg

    martyg Active Member

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    X2. I would also advise that if you have to finance it you can't afford it.
     
  5. Dustin Bise

    Dustin Bise Active Member

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    disregard this. boat ftw! i bet you can get set up with a solid used raft for 2k.
     
  6. teerex

    teerex Member

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    Need for speed? Versatility?

    If you get a driftboat with a transom mount, or build/buy a mount plate, you have a vessel with a small outboard and trolling motor that can hit the bays, lakes, tidal estuaries. 80s clackacrafts and many aluminum boats have the sufficient "fat ass" stern to work with. Less maintenance, too. (except for that motor part)

    I have no regrets whatsoever. Highlights of recent years include epic duck hunts, landing 7 lb+ Cascade Lakes trout near Bend, trolling for springers, and casting and blasting the Deschutes and Yak.

    Of course, when the boat is a free Clackacraft (upside down in a backyard with trees growing out the gunwales), you can't go wrong. You could bum/borrow/rent a raft for those trips you might need them, perhaps.
     
  7. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

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    Tyler,
    Drifty is more comfortable, warmer, drier, roomier, sexier, easier to fish out of.
    Raft is more versitle.
    If all I was going to do is fish deep slow moving rivers ie; like the Clark Fork, I would only have a Drifty.
    Here is my take on it Tyler. We had a 14' 3 person raft AND a 16' Clack Drifty. Sold the drifty ordering a second raft.
    When I am rich instead of so good looking I will have 2 rafts and a sexy drift boat too!
    But for now I got to go with what works...
    jesse
    PS BTW I am old enough now that I don't use conundrums any more:thumb:
     
  8. Dustin Bise

    Dustin Bise Active Member

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    I dont think any1 can deny that a drift boat is the ultimate weapon for fly fishing rivers, but the raft is just the way to go if you can only have 1 boat. it will go anywhere the drift boat can + more. It is also a little easier to pack for multiday trips, and easier to hand launch on a river like the spokane. Seems more forgiving to a learning oarsman too in that you can hit things better. You should get the boat this morning so we can float instead of wade!
     
  9. jeff bandy

    jeff bandy Make my day

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    On durability, My Al. drift was built almost 30 years ago. It is stored outside without a cover and will probably last another 30 years.
     
  10. Dustin Bise

    Dustin Bise Active Member

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    Jeff that doesnt count, you have a god damned dragon that guards it.
     
  11. leaflittlefox

    leaflittlefox Member

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    I have been rowing my Clacker for about 15yrs now and it's 22. To me having rowed raft in white water and fishing ALOT I still prefer my drift boat. Sometimes the ins and outs can be harder but usualy not a problem, true they don't work well upside down so know the river and your skills and you should be fine, I don't recomend using them for white water. When it comes to rowing the ease of a drift boat compared to a raft is not even close. You can idle, ferry and back-paddle twice as easy. As well you and your stuff stays high and dry and fishing while standing is better from drift boat. You don't have to blow them up and very little maint, longer life.

    Really I think it's a personal pref thing on certain levels and I just really prefer my drift boat.
     
  12. Evan Salmon

    Evan Salmon Active Member

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    I love my 16' drift boat... It's roomy, warm, dry, safe, carrys a lot gear or people and easy to row(control) in fast water. But I left a lot of gelcoat in the Yakima this fall. It's made me think that a raft might be a less "painful" option. If you're going to fish the Deschutes a lot, or the Yakima when the water is low, I would lean toward the raft.

    Another consideration is your skill rowing and experience reading water. A hard boat gives you more control, but a raft is much more forgiving of mistakes. It's not the rocks I see that get me, it's the ones I don't... and I seem to see fewer and fewer as I get older.
     
  13. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

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    Having owned both a cataraft and two drift boats, I feel qualified to at least add to what these guys are telling you. The order of my acquisitions was #1-wood drift boat, #2= 15ft white water cat, #3= 16ft Clack regular sides.

    After three years of playing around with the woody, I had a chance to purchase the cat at a very good price. I figured, like some of these guys are telling you, a rubber boat will bounce off rocks, will not sink, yada, yada. Still it was a sad day when I watched the new owner pull away from the ramp with the woody in tow.

    I kept the cat for two years, taking it down the wild & scenic section of the Rogue. It performed well. Different than a raft in some respects, but not near as responsive as a drift boat. Storage was another matter. I had planned on storing it outside, figuring it was impervious to rain & snow. The effects of UV & change in temperature, I found out about the hard way. Let me tell you, a 15ft cat takes up a lot more room in the garage than a 16ft drift boat! Aside from it's ability to bounce off rocks unscathed, the most redeeming feature of the cat was I could bungee cord 15 ft spey rods to the frame and not have to worry about them. So, being more fisher type who uses the boat to get from one place to another, than a white water junkie, I went back to a drifter.

    To me, other than bare boobs, there is nothing on the river sexier than a drift boat. :) A drift boat has a soul! A Clackacraft & Sawyer counter balanced Dyna-lites are about as good as it gets.
     
  14. aplTyler

    aplTyler Inept Steelheader

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    Loving all the feedback that the post has gotten. Thanks to everyone. Both options are very tempting and I really appreciate the help.
     
  15. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    you eventially are going to want both anyway (we have both, DB seams to be always out winter steelhead fishing, raft for multiday and trips with rapids), so get which ever you can afford now without financing. As stated earlier, if you can't afford to pay out right for either a good used or new raft or DB setup, do a budget and keep saving. It is amazing how much you can save in a year if you just do a budget and quit spending money on useless crap.