Another "which boat" thread...

daveontheline

Unfishy
WFF Supporter
As most great stories of buyer's remorse begin..."I'm planning on buying a boat..." I know this topic has been discussed countless times here so I apologize in advance for rehashing.

Locations: I'm planning on using the boat mostly on the Yak and out on the OP in the winter. But will also probably run the Cowlitz, Grande Ronde, etc. Stretch goal would be something I could take out close to shore on the Sound when the tides aren't too dramatic.

Size: I usually fish alone (it's rare I have enough time to plan and coordinate with others) so for a larger boat I'd be dependent on finding a shuttle, which is fine. But if there was an option that worked well for both single-handing AND 2 or 3 anglers in the boat, that would be ideal.

Transportation: My Rav4 can tow up to 1,750 lbs (bonus points for something I can strap to the roof or break-down and put in the back)

Right now my short list is something like
  • Water Master Kodiak
  • Water Master Bruin
  • Catchercraft Sea Run Cutthroat (or Bull)
  • Outcast Clearwater (though I'd have to wait until Jan)
  • Outcast Commander
  • Sotar Micro Strike
So, given I don't have much experience rowing and with all the standards caveats (wear a PFD, let people know where I'm going and when I'm planning to be home, when in doubt, portage around it, etc...) I'd love any suggestions on make/model or even just considerations I'm forgetting.

As usual, thanks for all the collective wisdom from y'all.

Dave
 

BDD

Active Member
You could get a great Sotar raft and frame for $5K that you and one or two other folks could use for a long time or you could get a Bruin and a Commander/Clearwater for about the same cost as the Sotar or you could get an SRC and a Freestone/Kodiak for about the same cost as either of the other packages.

If you have a roof rack on top of your Rav4, I bet you could take both boats at the same time, one inflated and the other deflated inside, if you so desired.

You left off Flycraft, Stealthcraft, and Smithfly off your list, either accidently or purposely.

Or just buy a single person boat for 1 to 2 grand and spend the other 2 to 3 K on significant other and save up a lot of points for solo trips.

Or buy a two-person boat and take significant other occasionally to make points on and put the extra 2K towards shuttles, scooter, or a bike.

Lots of options to consider.
 
Last edited:

saffman

Active Member
So many options...

I've been rafting for 40 years and came to some conclusions that work for me. My experience may or may not work for you. Best to beg and borrow and try as many as you can before making the investment and chat up folks at the ramp or on the water to see what they like and dislike about their boats.

I've had both a WaterMaster and a Commander and didn't care for either. The lack of rigid frame was a negative for me on moving water and the seating/foot position created back pain and back fatigue on an older back. Also a wet ride outside of a summer day can be unpleasant at best. A floor is a very good thing.

For my small boat I settled on a Hyside Mini Max with an NRS frame I can tweak for multiday, fishing for one or fishing for two. Boat is light, bombproof, incredibly responsive and will resell at a high level if I choose to get rid of it. I still have a Aire Super Duper Puma for longer trips or more room but the Hyside gets the nod more often than not for day trips. The MiniMax was not cheap so if budget was an issue the Catchercraft Bull would be about the same size.

No one boat will be perfect for everything so dial in how you'll use it (and potentially use it) while making your decision. Best of luck!
 

sroffe

Active Member
As most great stories of buyer's remorse begin..."I'm planning on buying a boat..." I know this topic has been discussed countless times here so I apologize in advance for rehashing.

Locations: I'm planning on using the boat mostly on the Yak and out on the OP in the winter. But will also probably run the Cowlitz, Grande Ronde, etc. Stretch goal would be something I could take out close to shore on the Sound when the tides aren't too dramatic.

Size: I usually fish alone (it's rare I have enough time to plan and coordinate with others) so for a larger boat I'd be dependent on finding a shuttle, which is fine. But if there was an option that worked well for both single-handing AND 2 or 3 anglers in the boat, that would be ideal.

Transportation: My Rav4 can tow up to 1,750 lbs (bonus points for something I can strap to the roof or break-down and put in the back)

Right now my short list is something like
  • Water Master Kodiak
  • Water Master Bruin
  • Catchercraft Sea Run Cutthroat (or Bull)
  • Outcast Clearwater (though I'd have to wait until Jan)
  • Outcast Commander
  • Sotar Micro Strike
So, given I don't have much experience rowing and with all the standards caveats (wear a PFD, let people know where I'm going and when I'm planning to be home, when in doubt, portage around it, etc...) I'd love any suggestions on make/model or even just considerations I'm forgetting.

As usual, thanks for all the collective wisdom from y'all.

Dave
Just a FYI. My dad fishes his Watermaster in the Sound all the time. Yes, watch the tides.
 

doublespey

Steelhead-a-holic
Catchercraft SeaRunBull would get my vote based on your criteria and is probably the best value of all the inflatables I own.. I also own 2 WaterMasters and love them for what they are - portable lightweight stable rafts that I use primarily for running rivers where I need to provide my own shuttle. The SeaRun Bull is rock solid and the frame will let you manage heavier flows than the WMs. Also allows you to stand which is nice if you decide to take it into the salt or fish a friend from the front seat on the Yak. A bonus for me is that it also fits inflated in the back of my pickup.
 

JesseC

Active Member
Just optimize for what you are going to do 90% of the time. No boat is going to fill all the roles, so get the one that does what you really want it to.

If I were you, I would sell the rav4 and buy a full sized truck, a 24’ ocean boat, a clack, and a raft.

Boom, problem solved.

Otherwise - really happy with the water master. Super easy to setup and take down. I’d recommend that people consider the smaller grizzly model. It’s more nimble, and easier to push with fins, which is a big Advantage when you’re fishing solo and still want to drift and cast.
 

skyriver

Active Member
From what you described, you need a small double that can also be a single that could be trailer'd (small), rooftop or taken down.
My list would include these:
  • Water Master Bruin
  • Catchercraft Sea Run Cutthroat (or Bull)
  • Outcast Striker
  • Sotar Micro Strike

I would look at which ones would handle the best when solo. I own a Commander and I love it, but it's solo only. I also own a Striker and really like it. It does pretty well solo since you can flip the seating around. I'm sure you could do that on these others too. And then cost.

Hard to beat the Catchercraft on pricing. Striker is close, but even as an owner, I think the Catchercraft has it beat on features. They even come stock with Cataract oars.

I know if my Striker stumbles my next small raft will be a Catchercraft. Probably the Bull.

Good luck!
 

daveontheline

Unfishy
WFF Supporter
If I were you, I would sell the rav4 and buy a full sized truck, a 24’ ocean boat, a clack, and a raft.
Believe me, this option was discussed with the boss prior to signing the papers on the Rav4. It was vetoed. Ironically, "millage" was a big consideration when I bought it 2 months before COVID hit and my 50 mile commute vanished. sigh...
 

Yard Sale

Huge Member
If you want a boat that is can handle 1-3 people I’d say a 14’ pontoon.
For one person it’s a sporty day floater for tougher rivers. You can go as long as a 5 day float in this rig too.
with the right frame it’s a great day floater for 3 people too.
with a cigarette lighter pump you are half hour to launch and no need for a trailer.
 

PV_Premier

Active Member
Thank you all for the great insight. I ended up going for a Catcher Craft sea run cutthroat with a custom frame for two. Pretty excited to pick it up in a few weeks and give her a shot. @BDD was super helpful and responsive.

Now to find a small trailer...
Can you please post some pictures of your new SRC when you receive it? I am especially interested in seeing the custom frame design. Is it like this one?

 

BDD

Active Member
Can you please post some pictures of your new SRC when you receive it? I am especially interested in seeing the custom frame design. Is it like this one?


Not like the one you posted that was on our specials page for a while (has been sold since); that was a bolt-together NRS frame. We are building Dave's from scratch...and it will have a removable lean bar up front.
 

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