Puget Sound

Nick Clayton

WFF Premium
I've kind of felt those bay boats would make a good fly fishing platform for fishing sea run cuts. My only concern would be the shallow draft and how it would ride in Puget Sound with some chop. Much better than being solo in a 14 Lund I'm sure;)


I've long had the same thought, and questioned the ride as well. I had known of this hull for a number of years (the other south sound guide has run this exact hull for several years now) and often wondered about it. Seemed like the perfect platform for the fly fishing I do in the sound, but I did wonder about the ride in that surprise 2-3' of afternoon chop.

Upgrading my boat was nowhere on my radar until I was approached by the owner asking if I had any interest. At that point I started doing a lot of research. Everything I could dig up was positive, including how the boat handled in chop. I spoke to the owner at length about this very thing and his thoughts lined up with everything I had read. The general consensus was it rides better than many similar aluminum boats, but like every other small boat you have to slow down and the experience of the person at the wheel has an impact.

We sea trialed Saturday and I was hoping for more choppy water than we found, but we did the best we could. Found some great wakes to play around in, and did find a foot or so of rippy chop down in the narrows. It handled the wake quite well. Could definitely feel it riding different than my Triumph. The bow wanted to come out of the water much easier, but it didn't pound and slam the way I was expecting. Ya, had to slow down, you definitely wouldn't want to hit that stuff at 40, but I think we slowed to maybe 18-20 and it took it just fine. With the foot or so of chop we did slow down....from 47 down to about 35 and skipped across it like nothing.

Ultimately I won't know until I have to run 5 miles back to the launch in 2-3' of slop, but at this point I am confident it won't be an issue. Like any small boat, just slow down and be smart. One difference is with this hull and the power on it I'll be able to stay on top of stuff at a slower speed than my other boat. I've had the Triumph out in some awfully nasty water. With that boat I need to slow down to the point that it really won't stay on step and just kinda ride the waves up and down which is wet and not super enjoyable. The Ranger will be able to stay on top of many of the same waves at a similar speed, which will definitely change the ride.

Ultimately my decision came down to this: I am out fly fishing on nice days WAY more often than I am running in crappy water, and the advantages this boat has as a fly fishing and guiding platform far outweigh any possible disadvantages it may have on those much rarer days I'm out there in those nasty conditions. Only time will tell if there are truly any major disadvantages when compared to the Triumph, but if there are they will only be in the area of ride quality on those really lousy days. If that does turn out to be the case I'm fine with trading that for all the advantages this boat does have (Longer, wider, faster, more comfortable to fly fish from, newer, prettier, tons of lockable storage including fly rod storage, better electronics, and the biggest game changers....bow mount with foot pedal, remote, spot lock, heading lock etc, and twin power poles off the stern, both of which are absolute game changers out there).

The last factor is appearance. In the charter/guiding world this can be huge. The Triumph is a fantastic boat, but lacks any "wow" factor. This boat provides that in a big way. Not every customer cares about such things, but many do. Not THE reason I upgraded, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

Oh, and did I mention it's pretty fast? Man is it fun to drive!
 
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Nick Clayton

WFF Premium
Nice….I believe I see a foot pedal for a bow mounted trolling motor. I need to figure that out. I cannot imagine the difference that makes fishing solo!


Ya I have so far just focused on learning to use the remote as that is what I'll use while guiding, but I'm gonna have to figure out the pedal too cause I'll definitely be taking this out solo.

It's a trip controlling the boat via a remote! Had a few snafus yesterday but no disasters, and that's why I was glad to have friends out on the maiden voyage! My biggest learning curve was discovering that when turning the bow mount doesn't have a stopping point, meaning if you press and hold the button to turn hard to starboard the motor will just keep turning until suddenly you're turning the opposite direction. That was a fun discovery lol.

Spot lock is a game changer out there. Find fish off a point in heavy current? Push button and boom you're holding steady and I am free to net fish, help clients, tie knots etc without stressing about trying to hold in the right position.

The bow mount was as awesome as expected, but the power poles? They blew me away. I expected them to be a niche thing that came with the boat that I'd use in very specific scenarios. I was dead wrong. These things are bad ass and I used them all day long.

At one point yesterday Matt took a break from the bow so I went up there to fish. I had the remote around my neck, so just cast and drifted along, making an adjustment here and there with the remote, and hit the spot lock button any time I wanted to focus on the water a bit more. It was pretty rad, I was just in my own little world. Along with the foot pedal for the trolling motor there is also kick buttons at the bow to deploy or retract the power poles, so anytime I'm in water about 6 1/2' or less and want to focus on an area for a while just double kick the down button and the poles deploy to the bottom and boom I'm anchored. Time to move on? Double kick the up button and they come right back up. Incredible stuff. I can't wait to do some solo trips.
 
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jasmillo

WFF Premium
It's a trip controlling the boat via a remote! Had a few snafus yesterday but no disasters, and that's why I was glad to have friends out on the maiden voyage! My biggest learning curve was discovering that when turning the bow mount doesn't have a stopping point, meaning if you press and hold the button to turn hard to starboard the motor will just keep turning until suddenly you're turning the opposite direction. That was a fun discovery lol.

Spot lock is a game changer out there. Find fish off a point in heavy current? Push button and boom you're holding steady and I am free to net fish, help clients, tie knots etc without stressing about trying to hold in the right position.

The bow mount was as awesome as expected, but the power poles? They blew me away. I expected them to be a niche thing that came with the boat that I'd use in very specific scenarios. I was dead wrong. These things are bad ass and I used them all day long.

At one point yesterday Matt took a break from the bow so I went up there to fish. I had the remote around my neck, so just cast and drifted along, making an adjustment here and there with the remote, and hit the spot lock button any time I wanted to focus on the water a bit more. It was pretty rad, I was just in my own little world. Along with the foot pedal for the trolling motor there is also kick buttons at the bow to deploy or retract the power poles, so anytime I'm in water about 6 1/2' or less and want to focus on an area for a while just double kick the down button and the poles deploy to the bottom and boom I'm anchored. Time to move on? Double kick the up button and they come right back up. Incredible stuff. I can't wait to do some solo trips.

That’s great to hear about power poles. I have been considering those as well but there is not a lot of info out there on use in Puget Sound. Sounds like a pretty sweet setup!
 

sroffe

Active Member
I figured the power poles were more of a bayou thing. I like anchoring in about 10 feet of water, but, I've been fishing off points that have a steep gradient. I could see using them in close.

Everything on that boat built for the salt?

Your narratives about the pros and cons seem reasonable. I am of the same mind, I wouldn't plan of fishing in crappy weather, but could see getting caught in some 3 foot chop when the north wind picked up.

It's a very nice looking boat. Looks like a very versatile platform to fish out of.
 

Nick Clayton

WFF Premium
I figured the power poles were more of a bayou thing. I like anchoring in about 10 feet of water, but, I've been fishing off points that have a steep gradient. I could see using them in close.

Everything on that boat built for the salt?

Your narratives about the pros and cons seem reasonable. I am of the same mind, I wouldn't plan of fishing in crappy weather, but could see getting caught in some 3 foot chop when the north wind picked up.

It's a very nice looking boat. Looks like a very versatile platform to fish out of.


In the areas I spend most of my time in I would guess I am in 6' or less at least 60 percent of the time, so I will be getting a ton of use out of the poles.

Yeah everything is installed with saltwater in mind.
 

Kfish

WFF Premium
In the areas I spend most of my time in I would guess I am in 6' or less at least 60 percent of the time, so I will be getting a ton of use out of the poles.

Yeah everything is installed with saltwater in mind.
Probably too soon to ask Nick, how does the poles perform in some chop? Do they maintain contact with the bottom pretty well when the boat goes up and down with the waves?
 

Nick Clayton

WFF Premium
Probably too soon to ask Nick, how does the poles perform in some chop? Do they maintain contact with the bottom pretty well when the boat goes up and down with the waves?


Oh ya, not any problem there. On sea trial the other day we set up off this nice point to try out the poles. Current was very strong, and the wind (albeit only 8-10 knots at the time), was working together pushing directly off our starboard side towards shore. We were in about 6.5 feet of water and the boat didn't move an inch. The poles have the ability to deploy automatically. Double tap the down button and they head down till they find bottom and dig in. But you can also send them down "manually" by simply holding the down button, so in certain conditions if you wanted a more secure dig into the bottom you can just hold the button slightly longer so they really dig in there.

We didn't have much wind Sunday when fishing, but there was some very strong currents at times, and at no point did they come close to slipping.

I'm certainly brand new to power poles and learning as I go, but my eyes have definitely been opened. I noticed on Sunday I'd be running the trolling motor, just slowly working down a beach covering water. When one of us hooked up, I would send the poles down. When they go down, they don't just touch the bottom and stop, they will actually dig in a bit and when I sent them down while the boat was drifting I could feel the boat momentum suddenly stop when they dug in. It was very noticeable.

Obviously more on the water testing will be required in all sorts of conditions, but from what I've seen so far these things are far more useful up here than one might think.
 

Albula

swollen member
I had a power pole on my last 3 flats skiffs and would not have a skiff without one. That having been said they are of little use if there is much chop when fishing over a rocky or coral bottom. As long as there was a mud, sand or softer bottom so the spike could bury itself a bit it worked really well. Of course my skiffs weighed less than 50% of what Nick's boat weighs and would draw much less water so it was affected much more by any wave action.
 

adamcu280

Active Member
@Nick Clayton or anyone else - I assume these power poles are the same concept, just smaller, as the mega beams that barges drop to fix themselves into place when they're driving piles but they've got them on all four corners and barges are massive. How do these transom-mounted poles work if you fix yourself to the bottom in anything other than flat calm conditions? Or if you fix yourself perpendicular to the weather? I see you mostly already answered this and I assume they've thought of everything but I envision swamping the boat or flexing/bending/breaking poles if you don't deploy them perfectly. I guess I just have to experience them for myself. When would you use poles instead of spot lock?

When's the Triumph getting listed for sale? ;)
 

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