The Perfect Drift Boat.....

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by XstreamAngler, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Truth to be told, there is NO perfect driftboat. I've owned a few, and have rowed quite a few more (including some built only for whitewatering). No one driftboat is perfect. BUT.......what do YOU want out of a driftboat. Funny how every person has their own certain needs out of a boat over another. Lightweight/maneuverable is great if you plan to only row the boat and move from slot to slot and not fish a hell of alot. But a bit heavier/sluggish is easier on you if you want to sidedrift/fish on the move.

    Makeup of the boat is here or there. What you want to do with it will also dictate what you want. You'll want a higher side boat if you plan to run some hairier waters (like out on the OP,etc). Rod storage is up in the air too. Do you plan to leave rods rigged up all the time? Do you plan to fish while you're on the move? If no, then storage really isn't as necessary. You can leave rods strung up and on the sides (just becareful on slots with overhanging trees, etc).

    Trailers, you really don't need galvanized. If you care for it and ONLY use it in fresh water, it'll last for years. My old alumaweld I had, had a trailer that was over 30 years old under it. Was in excellent shape, with very little rust. It's how you take care of a trailer that dictates how it looks years down the road. Even if you're using it in salt water (though saltwater use WILL eventually take its toll). Trailer on my current driftboat is well over 30 years old (almost 40 actually) and only shows minor signs of rust near the tongue. Only where there is metal on metal contact (which I plan to rip apart and correct that).

    I pose to you what do YOU want to do in this boat. Myself, there isn't a "one" boat that works. In fact, I want to get another aluminum boat next (and still keep my old glass boat as well). One is great for running whitewater and manuevering. But when I want to sidedrift/plug/work the fly on the go, it's nice having a heavier boat that tracks better and tracks SLOW so you don't have to work the oars in overdrive to keep the boat holding in place.

    Also, don't always go with guarantees and such. I've seen some of the videos of glass boats being dropped onto FLAT ground from tall heights. Now, put a sharp (or rounded pointy) rock that's about a foot tall under and do it and let me see what happens. Then I'll be impressed. Since when you hit a rock going down most rivers fast, it's not a nice FLAT rock you hit. A guarantee is great, but helps you NOT AT ALL when you're a few miles up river with a wet cellphone and a LONG hike out. Great to know they'll own up after you're winched out of a slot and towed back to their shop to be fixed. But not so when you're swimming for shore.

    Sorry not to expand much. But that's like saying the old "What's a good pontoon?". Let me go one better, "What's the perfect fly rod?". No such thing, but there is one perfect for you. ;) :D
     
  2. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    The perfect driftboat is made of unobtanium, far lighter and stronger than either glass or aluminum. It's stiff, but compliant, and slicker than deer guts on a doorknob - won't stick to any river rock.

    Carbon fiber oars - lighter and stronger than wood and conventional composite; counter-balance unnecessary.

    More rocker fore than aft, but more beam and flare foreward also. It balances perfectly.

    Adjustable seating all around, and adjustable foot blocks. Casting braces fore and aft, as well.

    Built in insulated cooler, not just cup and bottle holders. Mini liquor cabinet under fore deck.

    Extended anchor bracket and storage trough on transom.

    Lipped and covered shelves port and starboard between rower's seat and front seat.

    Rod holders aft port side.

    Swing out BBQ aft starboard.

    Net bracket aft starboard.

    Dry storage (lockable) under rower's seat and front seat(s).

    Galvanized trailer with spare tire.

    That might do.

    Sg
     
  3. Fish Hunter

    Fish Hunter Too many people, not enough fish

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    No such thing. Different boats do better or worse on different water.
     
  4. papafsh

    papafsh Piscatorial predilection

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    The one you can afford that will get you down the river, with safety, room and storage.
    My son Tony bought this older Don Hill last year. It could stand a little sprucing-up but it handles just fine on the Sky, Skagit and Yak.
    We do plan on stripping it down and refinishing it at some point.
    Boat, trailor, three spruce oars, enclosed front storage, anchor system and rope... all for $1,000....lots of fun and use for very little money.

    LB
     
  5. Guy Gregory

    Guy Gregory Active Member

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    The one in my avatar is good, but if I could change....

    Drink holders
    Securable cooler, within easy reach of rower/fisher
    Carry the beam a bit more aft
    Cut down the sides about an inch, not so much for wind, but for getting in and out of.
    Another rod holder
    A low pulling bow eye

    Things I'd keep:

    The paint, because it's so easy to fix
    The wood, because it looks so nice. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
    The anchor and system: simple and foolproof. Important, given the number of fools involved.
    The friends who float with me, who realize the boat is powered by scotch.
     
  6. motroutbum

    motroutbum New Member

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    all of the stuff you guys are saying you want in a drift boat i know the perfect boat for you.. HOG ISLAND! is the only way to go
     
  7. ceviche

    ceviche Active Member

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    If you look at some of Hyde's and Clackacraft's dorys (driftboats), you can see how their beamier hulls with the low freeboard at the middle can work so well. As you make the hull wider, you increase the buoyancy and initial stability, as well as lessening draft. Remember those ads with the person sitting on the boat's railing and not capsizing it? They also rake the hull out at the middle to both increase the hull's displacement and to make rowing effort easier. This also puts more weight to the outside, further improving stability. In the end, you get a roomier, more stable boat that won't get hung up on the bottom as much.

    Personally, it surprises me that people who make their own drift boats don't shoot for more beam at the bottom and at the rail and less freeboard. Good stability will keep everyone as dry as they really need to be--that is, in the boat and out of the water. Just imagine the boat drifting sideways in the river and then suddenly hitting a rock (because no one was looking). If the boat is beamy enough, it shouldn't roll and tip over as easily as one that is taller and skinnier. This is filed under the "metacentric height" issue of vessel stability.

    If one is concerned about a dry boat, the flare of the hull will assist with that issue. Water splashing against the hull will get directed away. Grating across the deck is nice if you want to keep your feet dry, but it's also no fun if you drop something between the slats or need to bail water.

    As far as fly fishing accessories, stripping trays are the cast's meow! Cup holders should be moved to the side, away from the fly line zone. If they are near, they should have bottoms and be of a shape that won't promote snagging. The bottoms are so that you can temporarily store indicators and other crap you might be too lazy to put away when trout become selective to dries.

    Good rod storage is something I have to agree with. I was impressed by the boats that Red's uses. The tips of the rods are protected when rods are laying in the slots below the railing. I think those boats are Clacks, though I could be wrong. Red's might have Hydes as well.

    The bottom of the hull should be clad with something to protect it from sharp rocks. I don't care if the boat is wood or f'glass, the additional protection can only be good.

    These are some of my thoughts.

    If dry gear is the real issue, build in compartments that will keep your gear dry. The bow, stern and the rower's bench are all good places for that--naturally.
     
  8. otter

    otter Banned or Parked

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    Salmo -

    Speaking of unobtanium,

    I'm hot on the track.

    I've recently come across "bondable UHMW" - I build boats for a living so the latest/greatest arrives regularly.

    What this stuff is, is UHMW manufactured with an (epoxy) bondable scrim.

    I'll tell more as I know more.

    But wouldn't it be cool to vacuum bag a continuous UHMW bottom and chine strip to a drifter?

    Probably another impossible dream..............


    otter
     
  9. nomlasder

    nomlasder Active Member

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    I had to special order the last trailer because the bottom width is 56" while still mainting a beam of 6'-6". Displacement at 1000lbs results in a 6" draft. Don't need much more than that.
     
  10. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Otter,

    When you obtain unobtainium, it won't be unobtainium any longer. But you keep us posted, OK? Yeah, if that works, it would be cool.

    Sg
     
  11. ceviche

    ceviche Active Member

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    So how is the stability of that boat? And what does it draft, and how much freeboard? As far as general "performance", how does it compare to other boats you've made? I wouldn't doubt that, with every boat you make, they get nicer and nicer. Still, what's your take on your latest improvement?
     
  12. Fishunter

    Fishunter Member

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    Easy rowing, a good rowers seat not the popular tractor style seat, a place to stow away spey rods, (That one might be tough) easy to move around in, easy to cast from, a tough hull that stands up to the occasional rock without chipping. I wonder if any boat builders are reading this.
     
  13. Fishunter

    Fishunter Member

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    Dave E.

    I am told that if you get too wide at the bottom the boat becomes hard to handle and will not track well. That it makes the boat tougher to get through some of the more technical water. Any thoughts on this anyone?
     
  14. ceviche

    ceviche Active Member

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    At this point, I think it's time for veteran driftboat guides to weigh in here. That said, here's my additional 2 cents.

    I have experienced rowing boats that didn't track well but dealt with the situation with good rowing--adjusting the power you separately apply into each of your oars as you pull on them together. No big deal--unless there was a long ways you had to row the boat.

    I've only rowed a drift boat once, but I quickly got the hang of it. Then again, though the Yak was running a bit high and fast that day, I'd hardly call what I went through "white water." Nonetheless, it seemed to me that drift boat rowing was basically keeping the boat a comfortable casting distance from the good water and dodging upcoming boulders. Upon seeing a boulder, I would warn the fishermen, pivot the boat 90 degrees to the shore, and pull on the oars until we were clear. Once clear, I'd shoot us back into fishing position, pivoting the boat to where both anglers could cast easy. While drifting, oars were used to control the drift a little.

    In so many words, I still can't say that a drift boat's ability to track in a straight line is that important. What strikes me as important in a drift boat is maneuverability and controlling the direction of your drift. You sure as hell aint going to row upstream, are you? But here's a thought: When you're dodging that boulder, you certainly don't want to find the boat bogging down when you're pulling on the oars. Does this factor have anything to do with tracking?

    That said, I really wonder what veteran guides have to say.
     
  15. Jeff Wood

    Jeff Wood New Member

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    That is what I am talking about!!!!!! and beauty to boot