Thanks for putting so much time and thought into your post, Mike.
I am currently in the market for a boat, and weighing the pros and cons of inflatable vs. drift boat. You've raised some issues, and presented some options and seating configurations, that I had yet to consider. Great post!
Teaching people to row and teaching them to row so you can fish are 2 completely different things...trust me, i know from experience having owned a drift boats for 3 seasons and providing hour upon hour of rowing services. What I learned was that everyone I knew that also knew how to row decently also had a drift boat and we were always debating whose to take. :beathead: So now I offer my 'services' to them for a ride but that means only one guy gets to fish at a time (if just me and a partner, no third).
For most of the better rivers I fish, I can control the boat with my fins so we can both fish --- with a bit of casting coordination of course, but no worse than 3 people in a drift boat, just a bit closer. I did this successfully a few weeks ago with a buddy, a full cooler on the front and about 100 lbs of camp gear on the back (no dog). It did draw a bit more water obviously and it's not easy to fin but it is certainly do-able in lots of water as long as no big boulders or whitewater to navigate around. When I see tougher conditions coming, I just stow the rod and get on the oars, then I (as oarsman) am no worse off than rowing somebody in a drift boat.
Sorry if this is braggish, but I am also fortunate to have pretty strong quads being 6'4" and years of skiing and sports to build those babies up. In my old one-man 'toon, I almost never used my oars unless I came upon some bigger or longer whitewater - I would fin through most class 1-2 water that most people would be on their oars - catching fish to by they way which led to some comical situations at times.
Plus, with a rookie on the oars, the boat seems to be easier for them to control and I don't have as much anxiety for all the rocks we are bound to bump, nor worry about getting breached as the rookie gets us sideways against a midstream boulder. The sidewall gelcoat on my drift boat was proof of that... Oh, the stories I could tell ya...
By the way, this thing when broken down could fit into a supercub for some remote fishing, not with all the extended options of course, just a basic setup.
I have this very same set up (minus the mods) and I find I can easily control it with fins in most rivers. The fish on my avitar I took from the rowers seat on the Methow River while my better half was reading a novel in the front sets! (she had gotten tired of casting at that point.) I too have a drift boat, and agree totally about teaching others to row! To make matters worse, my drift boat is a beautiful Ray's River Dories African Mahogany 17" guide model, and one of my rookie rowers put a snag through it and it now has a repair that doesn't quite match! I went with the Trialwater Trailer, but yours is clearly a better design. I will definitely incorporate some of your ideas into my Scadden! Thanks for posting this. Rick
Sweeeet! I have 2 Sky's and have doubled up the frames and put a deck between the row seat and passenger, carrying 2 on one set of tubes. Holds my battery box for better weight distribution and Hummingbird, etc. even with all that it's more room to stand than the factory standing platform. The smaller tubes limit me to stillwaters or class II rivers; If I want to get crazy, set it up as intended as a single and it rocks on Class III-III+ water. You have done a great job and have a lot of options. I'd like to get a trailer, that's sweet. Nice job and thanks for showing us the versatility of these units.
going on 15 years of doing it now, still no injuries, but then, I've skied for 40 years at least 10 times per season with no injuries either. It just takes a little river sense. Also, the force fins I use will flex and bend when you hit a rock-it is just not a problem and it allows you to fish the entire river just like you had a guide rowing you! Rick
Hey Fellas, it's been awhile since I've been on WA FF. Good to see this post is still of interest to some and thanks for all the nice comments. If ya see me out there, holler and we'll have a beer or two.
Let me give you some updates since I last posted this:
Had a number of fishing trips with it - Grand Ronde, Clearwater, Madison, SF Snake, stillwater and my local river that I won't mention by name.
The boat fishes great especially with me and the dog. The dog likes the boat more than I do I think. Fishing with another person, I can only fish double on rivers that have a meandering like flow like the Missouri. On the Madison, is moves along at such a clip that finning is difficult to slow the boat down enough so I had to be on the ores.
Somebody asked about the trailer manuf'r - it is Big Bubba's in Salt Lake - you gotta love that name!! It was just a hard sided utility trailer that I took the saw, drill and welding rod to. I've had an amazing amount of interest in the trailer - especially when I open it with the boat still on it by myself. I've had at least a dozen people stop or turn around on the highway to come back for a look and questions. I keep thinking I should go into business on the trailer.
The cooler seat and dog platform have really worked out well though. The rod holders along the side work good too except you have to stop and get out to swap out rods. With the long pontoons (13') - standing up is no problem and it is really stable. I only attempted that though while on stillwater or anchored on a trout stream.
I removed the oar holders on the back as I found it was a lot easier to stow them with the blades across the front (plus I can use them to whack the dog...I mean raise them to prevent her from jumping out as we approach the bank - she listens well except at that moment for some reason...ready for dry land I guess).
Hope your summer fishing was productive. I'm ready to start chasing steel though on the Bid D and Clearwater.