First Time Drift Boat Seeker

surfnfish

Active Member
we used to take turns on a fave coastal river in either my Clack or my buddy's Alumaweld. During low water he'd hang up where I would slide off. With any glass drift boat, every 4 or 5 years flip it over, fill deep scratches and dings with a epoxy/powdered fibreglass mix, use just like Bondo, sand the hull, two coats of Sea Hawk Tuff Stuff epoxy primer, 2 finish coat of Rustoleum marine paint, beat it up for another 5 years, all in maybe $150.
The bottom on this one hadn't been touched since new in the 80's and had been used hard. Did this 6 years ago, and she's still rocking away with another owner.
 

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Rob Allen

Active Member
I got a kick out #1 every time someone says aluminum is colder. You will not be any colder in an aluminum boat, if its 25° outside your going to be cold, in any boat!
I'll admit it is kinda splitting hairs, but when it's 25. I'd rather have glass or wood
 

Jim Allen

"Fish-On" Custom Fly Rods
I am another Clackacraft fan. Have a 2019 WF 360 with the mega box up front. Family float time with my wife and two grandkids is no problem. My 11 year old grandson is also learning how to row with this boat and is doing great. Nothing better than family time out in nature, fresh air, on the river/water with no electronics!! It's worth every penny invested.
 

Brian Caud

WFF Supporter
Good luck on your search.

I purchased a 17' 1996 hyde about 4 years ago for $3k over in Idaho. Found that leaving Western Washington greatly improved the price. Similar boats in Puget Sound or Portland were going for $5-$7k. You are correct about the number of boats listed online. Good ones sell quickly. It took around 6 months to find what I was looking for.

My boat came with two bench storage boxes - one for the rowers seat and one up front that has a channel system that accepts one or two seats. Also has a pedestal seat in the rear for a total of 4 seats. I installed a front pedestal seat base up front so I can pull the box when there are 3 or less people fishing or in the summer when we have less gear. I pull the pedestal and reinstall the front box for winter fishing or when we have more gear that we want to keep dry. having the flexibility is nice.

Being that my boat was 20yrs old when I purchased it, I spent a few hundred bucks in tools and materials and became very familiar with fiberglass repair. Flipping the boat over in the garage and refreshing the bottom with a good grinding, some deep digging in the major holes and some DIY glass repair resulted in a sturdy, reliable hull. A cutting and polish of the remaining exterior refreshed the glass finish and really cleaned up the appearance. I did choose to send the boat into the Hyde factory last year to have the entire hull replaced including the sub floor. around $2k in work. Should be set for the next 20 years. I also had a trailer shop install a new axle after I got tired of blowing bearings caused by worn spindles.

Be sure to inspect all rigging, oar locks, hardware, trailer bearings, wiring, etc. On the river or on the road is a crummy time to find an issue.

My wife and I are constantly saying how great of a purchase this boat has been. With some sweat equity into it, the boat has become super reliable and has taken us on many great adventures. One of my buddies has a late model clackacraft, and I occasionally get some boat envy, but the bones of a drift boat haven't really changed all the much and ours gets the job done.

This boat has taken us down the Yakima, Green, Skykomish, Snoqualmie, Hoh, Bogachiel, Columbia, Deschutes, Yellow Stone, Big Horn, Madison, Big Hole, Elk, Puget Sound and a bunch of still water. Pull the trigger and get your kids into a boat!

IMG_3396.jpg
 
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BrianT

Active Member
we used to take turns on a fave coastal river in either my Clack or my buddy's Alumaweld. During low water he'd hang up where I would slide off. With any glass drift boat, every 4 or 5 years flip it over, fill deep scratches and dings with a epoxy/powdered fibreglass mix, use just like Bondo, sand the hull, two coats of Sea Hawk Tuff Stuff epoxy primer, 2 finish coat of Rustoleum marine paint, beat it up for another 5 years, all in maybe $150.
The bottom on this one hadn't been touched since new in the 80's and had been used hard. Did this 6 years ago, and she's still rocking away with another owner.

Good luck on your search.

I purchased a 17' 1996 hyde about 4 years ago for $3k over in Idaho. Found that leaving Western Washington greatly improved the price. Similar boats in Puget Sound or Portland were going for $5-$7k. You are correct about the number of boats listed online. Good ones sell quickly. It took around 6 months to find what I was looking for.

My boat came with two bench storage boxes - one for the rowers seat and one up front that has a channel system that accepts one or two seats. Also has a pedestal seat in the rear for a total of 4 seats. I installed a front pedestal seat base up front so I can pull the box when there are 3 or less people fishing or in the summer when we have less gear. I pull the pedestal and reinstall the front box for winter fishing or when we have more gear that we want to keep dry. having the flexibility is nice.

Being that my boat was 20yrs old when I purchased it, I spent a few hundred bucks in tools and materials and became very familiar with fiberglass repair. Flipping the boat over in the garage and refreshing the bottom with a good grinding, some deep digging in the major holes and some DIY glass repair resulted in a sturdy, reliable hull. A cutting and polish of the remaining exterior refreshed the glass finish and really cleaned up the appearance. I did choose to send the boat into the Hyde factory last year to have the entire hull replaced including the sub floor. around $2k in work. Should be set for the next 20 years. I also had a trailer shop install a new axle after I got tired of blowing bearings caused by worn spindles.

Be sure to inspect all rigging, oar locks, hardware, trailer bearings, wiring, etc. On the river or on the road is a crummy time to find an issue.

My wife and I are constantly saying how great of a purchase this boat has been. With some sweat equity into it, the boat has become super reliable and has taken us on many great adventures. One of my buddies has a late model clackacraft, and I occasionally get some boat envy, but the bones of a drift boat haven't really changed all the much and ours gets the job done.

This boat has taken us down the Yakima, Green, Skykomish, Snoqualmie, Hoh, Bogachiel, Columbia, Deschutes, Yellow Stone, Big Horn, Madison, Big Hole, Elk, Puget Sound and a bunch of still water. Pull the trigger and get your kids into a boat!

View attachment 257292
Hi Brian, thank you so much for the thoughtful response. This gets me pumped! Much appreciated.

Is the glass repair that you did yourself fairly straightforward. Can you watch some Youtube videos and figure it out? I've never done any glass work, so I don't know how difficult that DIY work is. You make it sound simple enough, but maybe you'd had previous experience with work like that.

Thanks,

Brian
 

Brian Caud

WFF Supporter
Hi Brian, thank you so much for the thoughtful response. This gets me pumped! Much appreciated.

Is the glass repair that you did yourself fairly straightforward. Can you watch some Youtube videos and figure it out? I've never done any glass work, so I don't know how difficult that DIY work is. You make it sound simple enough, but maybe you'd had previous experience with work like that.

Thanks,

Brian
I watched a bunch of Youtube to figure it all out. No previous experience. Found the best info in non-boat specific videos, just general fiberglass repair videos. I was definitely hesitant to dive into it but its really not rocket science once you try it out.

Also when its time to buy materials - TAP plastics was very helpful and their materials were a fraction of what you would pay at somewhere like West Marine.
 

nomlasder

WFF Supporter
I watched a bunch of Youtube to figure it all out. No previous experience. Found the best info in non-boat specific videos, just general fiberglass repair videos. I was definitely hesitant to dive into it but its really not rocket science once you try it out.

Also when its time to buy materials - TAP plastics was very helpful and their materials were a fraction of what you would pay at somewhere like West Marine.
Read up on Amine blush, how to clean and prep for epoxy and successive coats and paints. If your using fiberglass resin read up on wax additive.
 

A.A.

Active Member
I got a kick out #1 every time someone says aluminum is colder. You will not be any colder in an aluminum boat, if its 25° outside your going to be cold, in any boat!
Yeah, funny it always comes up. The warmest I’ve been in the winter is in an aluminum drift boat because it can have a heater. The coldest I’ve ever been was in a Clackacraft on the Yak in February...oh man!
 

matalpa

Member
Hi Brian,
I have gotten my 8 year old out a bit in my 16.8 Hyde this year. I think driftboats are way better for kids than rafts, as long as you get a high side. I know lowsides have their place, but not as good for kids. (I had a big cataraft before).

First, there is lots of dry storage in most driftboats for all the kid stuff you will need. Second, the high sides are a real barrier for the kid to keep them in the boat. Third, if they are actually fishing you don’t have to be paranoid about them jamming a #8 bugger into a tube. Hard boats are way less work/hassle than rafts.

My son loves to sit on top of the casting brace on the bow- that might ease the seating issue. Many boats can have double front seats- sometimes called steelhead configuration. Seems like most Hyde’s I have seen with the front bench have this capability.

You might consider buying 2 small, cheap bean bags and throwing them in the stern and removing the back seat.

Get any boat that works with your budget. You will never have to worry about any fiberglass work unless you try to pound rocks. If you have a job and 2 kids you just won’t put that many days on the boat. If some glass work is in order there are lots of places that can do it pretty cheap. If you are really worried about it, get a Hyde w a G4 bottom- but budget has to go to at least 6k for that.

I see some old Lavro boats here and there- they are cheap and tough. Clack, Hyde, Ro are all great boats.

Repack bearings on whatever trailer you get.

You could rent a boat for a day on the Yak or Big Horn or probably the Missouri if you want to test the concept.

Good luck!
 

creekx

Director of Stoke
I got a kick out #1 every time someone says aluminum is colder. You will not be any colder in an aluminum boat, if its 25° outside your going to be cold, in any boat!
Certainly colder to the touch. There is a reason heatsinks are often made of aluminum and not fiberglass or wood.
 

Chucker

Chucking a dead parrot on a piece of string!
If you have a job and 2 kids you just won’t put that many days on the boat.

This is pretty much everybody’s problem, isn’t it. When I had a drift boat I used it less than 5 days a year. Once storage became a problem it wasn’t worth holding onto it - but I really wish that I still had it right now. October was drift boat month for me!

What might work is a drift boat syndicate. A dozen people with shares in a couple of boats. Pay an annual share plus an amount based on the days you use it. It works for airplanes!
 

surfnfish

Active Member
Another great thing about drift boats and family - when heading out on a camping trip, you can load them to the gunnels with your camping gear, coolers, bikes, etc...takes the sting out of packing the family vehicle for such a trip, just throw it in the boat and head on out.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
Yeah, funny it always comes up. The warmest I’ve been in the winter is in an aluminum drift boat because it can have a heater. The coldest I’ve ever been was in a Clackacraft on the Yak in February...oh man!

Put a heater in the clackacraft :)
 

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