Looking for our first raft

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Hypobaricstalker, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. JS

    JS Active Member

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    I never said they didn't work, I still have mine today. They have gotten me through every big rapid on the Deschutes, save Oak Springs, but they tear up your hands if you are rowing fisherman all day. So it depends on what you are actually doing with them, because if you are just rafting and your oar strokes are limited to keeping you in the middle of the river, you will be fine. Although, if you are trying to fish people out of the boat, and you are contantly trying to slow the boat down and put it 25' from the bank, your hands will feel it (especially on high gradient rivers). Just my experience. As far as the SDP being overloaded, I was just trying to interpret.....I have never owned that boat, only riden in one.
     
  2. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

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    Check out the Sawyer Square Tops with Dynalite blades - I've been using them for just over a year, and they are sweet.
     
  3. Shapp

    Shapp Active Member

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    No disrespect, but I suppose it depends on what you do for a job, doesn't bother my hands at all, but I also do a lot of climbing and work a lot with my hands. We use carsliles for the drift boat too, winter steelhead fishing, and I don't know if you have ever been on the Owyhee or John day, but there is alot of rowing to be done even if you aren't fishing. I did 29 miles in one day to get to Clarno on the JD with a upstream wind nearly the whole way, near 12 hours straight of rowing, one of the longest days of my life with 9' carslilses, I don't particulary remember an issue with my hands from the oars although I was pretty tired in general. Seriously if your hands are taking a beating, try some bagbalm and also a pair of fingerless rowing gloves could make a big difference.
     
  4. bvhike

    bvhike New Member

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  5. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Lots of good info from the previous posters. We built some floor-less frames for guys who either didn't want the extra weight or didn't want to spend the extra money. If you never fish from the raft, then floors are not really needed because, like what was already mentioned, they inflate pretty hard. However, since I want to fish on the move and appreciate a solid standing platform, I would never NOT get a raft without floors as a personal boat. To me, they are worth the the extra weight and cost.

    Pretty hard to go wrong with those raft brands mentioned. Streamtech is great looking, high quality boat and the price reflects it. If money were no issue...

    Since you are located in CO, you should check out Downriver Equipment, an Aire dealer. I would think they could save you some substantial coin on shipping charges. If you are looking for a simple rowing frame, a standard NRS frame would be a good bet. If you are looking for something a little more custom, we could put together a package that you'd be proud to own.

    Regarding oars, there have been a lot of stream miles rowed with 9' Carlile oars. Reasonably priced and durable, they can do the job. However, after trying some of the counter balanced carbon oars I feel they are much more comfortable to use. A lot of it depends on your strength and stamina. The situation Shapp described on the John Day is pretty amazing. I wouldn't want to do that with a kicker, let alone Carlile oars. But everyone has different abilities and expectations.

    I attached a few pictures, including a sneak peak of our custom frame with four floors, plenty of room for coolers, dry bags, rod holders, removable lean bars, adjustable seats, and a Leelock anchor system which has a great safety feature that won't accidently trip while negotiating rapids.

    Happy shopping. You are taking the right approach...starting early and getting lots of opinions.
     
  6. bvhike

    bvhike New Member

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    I have an Achilles raft with rectech frame and it is about as bulletproof as rafts get. I would rather really load the 12'6" than deal with the added weight and size of a 14'. Just my two cents.
     
  7. ruudb420

    ruudb420 In search of Meat Madness

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    My experience is with 12' to 14.5' self bailing rafts and a 14' nrs cataraft. For a shallow boney river conditions don't even for a minute consider a cataraft, all your weight is distributed on just the pontoons which will make them ride much deeper in the water and hang up on everything(Catarafts have their place, less rowing effort to hold in a swift run). A self bailing raft will distribute the weight much more evenly and will ride much shallower in the water. That being said a 14' raft has much more surface area and will float much higher than say a 12' raft(when they are loaded with the same amount of gear/cargo). For 3 people I wouldn't go any smaller than 13'. I prefer a 14' or 14'6" self bailing raft with nrs fishing frame. I don"t have casting platforms in my boat as they are very easy to hang up the fly line, which is a huge problem when you hook a 19+ inch trout on 5x tippet. Carlisle oars are bulky and somewhat uncomfortable but they are sturdy, reliable and the cheaper option. Personally I prefer rowing counterbalanced cataract oars. As far as rafts go I have been very pleased with the NRS Expedition and Otter, they are quality made boats and reasonably priced. I have not rowed an aire/outcast setup for fishing but know many people who have been satisfied with them. If you have plenty of $$$ Sotar makes some of the best boats out there. Maravia and Hyside made some sweet expensive boats as well. Sotar will custom make a boat per your specs(d rings where you want, valves where you want, color, etc.) and their boats are made of the strongest yet lightest material. I currently don't own a sotar but the next raft I purchase will be a sotar. Make sure you get a quality trailer with rear roller and a winch as loading/unloading will be so much easier. I don't think you could really go wrong with an nrs fishing frame put on an aire sdp/143d/r, nrs expedition/otter, sotar st/sl. Good Luck
     
  8. veilside180sx

    veilside180sx Member

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    Been there done that on the JD as well...and on a set of Carlisle's as well. I love that river despite all the rowing involved.=)

     
  9. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

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    A lot of good information in this thread. As far as raft size goes stop and think what kind of trips you will be using the boat for. If most of your trips are day trips with 2 other people a 13ft. boat is more then enough, yet it can still handle gear for a 2 or 3 day trip with 2 people.

    My all time favorite boat was the 13ft. Puma with the NRS Frame. I had owned a hard side boat and a 14ft. Maravia before I bought this boat. At the time I was living in Montana and this boat was used every weekend for months on end for 8 years without a problem. It was a pleasure to spend the entire day on the sticks with out wearing myself out. and this little boat could go down the shallow narrow side channels where the larger boats could not go with out scraping bottom. And if I had to make a portage it was light enough for 2 people to handle.

    The NRS frames are well built and will last forever. I never used the lean bars on my boat. As mentioned here they get in the way and just add weight.

    As far as oars go buy what you can afford. I have rowed many years with the standard Carlisle oars and never had a problem with the oars themselves or my hands. Make sure you get the right size blade on your oar it will make rowing a lot easier.
     
  10. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Most problems I've witnessed with Carlisles has been with pin/clips. Usually they'd tweak or bend before the clip released. I've always used wood oars or cataracts. In fact I have a video from about 89' of a buddy who bent 2 of them in one trip. Again it was the older pin/clips. But I've literally only seena handful snap. So I wouldn't worry especially in an oarlock. I have used Carlisles on my fishing pontoons over the years (standard issue on a lot back then) and never had a problem with hand issues either. But I have working mans hands so takes a lot to hurt them.