Smaller Boats

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#16
Little 13' 8":D We had to lift my mini-drifter over the rails to get it into the back to the kid's Yotacoma p/u. Wouldn't slide in between the corners on the back of the bed. But we got it to the creek.
I removed the side rails from my utility trailer (only 6 bolts) and am installing a slick rub guard on the rear edge, so I can easily slide my mini-drifter up onto it. i might eventually put a roller bar on the rear, and I might even get a wench to help me load it, if I can just convince her to go fishing with me.:)
 

kmac

Active Member
#17
If you're thinking of hauling it in and out of your truck bed by yourself go lightweight (pontoon boat), or get a trailer and winch for a heavier boat. Take it from me you don't want to screw up your back. I lost a year of my life to physical therapy after a back injury, and remember your wife will not be happy that your fishing hobby cost you the ability to go to work and do household and yard chores. I thank God I made it back, but I am always very careful to not do it again.
 

Ray

Active Member
#18
Little drift boats row like pigs. The small footprint in the water causes too much displacement. I wouldn't go with anything smaller than a 16'x54" when it comes to a drift boat. If you are want a hard boat, it's trailer time.

That said, a 12 or 14 foot self bailing raft with an NRS frame might be the ticket. They are pretty forgiving for new rowers and nearly impossible to park on the bottom of the river. You can roll it up and put it in the back of your truck, and inflate it at the put in with a battery powered pump. You don't need any sort of boat ramp to launch either.
 
#19
"Little drift boats row like pig"

Hmm... thats interesting to know.

Here is another question, how much of a beating can rafts take? I have seen a few awesome looking catarafts that are tempting. I am just afraid of getting holes in them and the cost of replacement. Are some of the rafts mentioned pretty durable? I would hate to spend 2-3K on a raft and have to always worry about patching holes. By the way, if I did get one I would likely buy new so maybe it would include a warranty?
 

Ray

Active Member
#21
"Little drift boats row like pig"

Hmm... thats interesting to know.

Here is another question, how much of a beating can rafts take? I have seen a few awesome looking catarafts that are tempting. I am just afraid of getting holes in them and the cost of replacement. Are some of the rafts mentioned pretty durable? I would hate to spend 2-3K on a raft and have to always worry about patching holes. By the way, if I did get one I would likely buy new so maybe it would include a warranty?
They can take one hell of a beating, not that you really want them to. Most holes seem to occur when not on the river. Stupid crap like storing it right next to the wood stove in the shop. Aire, Maravia, and NRS all have excellent rafts/cats and warranty programs. I've been especially impressed with Aire's warranty and customer service.
 

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
#22
The shorter waterline on my mini-drifter no doubt inhibits its glide after each stroke, but it is much lighter than a 16'x54" boat, too. The bottom of my mini is 7.5'x45" I'm not sure that I would call it a "pig," though. I would describe my boat as "squirrelly," due to its handling characteristics.
Due to some repair work on it, it weights in at around 130 lbs.
 

David Loy

Senior Moment
#23
Haven't been reading this thread, but I'd look at the 12' McKenzie that Ray's River Dories makes, and makes kits for if you're a wood chuck. Just more grist for the mill. They (Ray & Cy) do outstanding work.
 

Jim Allen

"Fish-On" Custom Fly Rods
#24
I will make you a smoking deal on my willies drifter 16x54. Very clean and always stored inside or covered. I have pics posted on this site.
 
#26
They can take one hell of a beating, not that you really want them to. Most holes seem to occur when not on the river. Stupid crap like storing it right next to the wood stove in the shop. Aire, Maravia, and NRS all have excellent rafts/cats and warranty programs. I've been especially impressed with Aire's warranty and customer service.
X2; I have a 14' RMR Cat and the tubes are bomber. Different manufacturers have different thickness and construction (glued vs. welded), but as Ray stated, you are unlikely to hole them on the river. One other advantage to a raft (or cat) is they'll go in some skinny water you'd not want to take a drift boat in. Example, the Sandy from Dodge Park upstream is not recommended for drift boats but I ran my cat up there at 1600 CFS last month with no problems; a drift boat would've been hammered. That said, I like the looks of the smaller DB's.
 
#27
Hey, thanks all for the great suggestions. I am still searching, and trying to make up my mind. Still not sure to go with the smaller drift boat or raft. Either way, need to make a decision soon before the summer!
 

speyfisher

Active Member
#28
How & where do you plan to store this boat? Inflatables can be a pain. If left inflated, keep in mind the pressure variable due to changes in temp & altitude. Outside, subject to UV damage over time. Small toons can be hung from the ceiling & left partially inflated. They bounce off rocks and can be drug over rough terrain. Wood boats also take a beating left outside. Fiberglass will hold up better, but it too will start showing it's age after a couple of years left uncovered. Alum is virtually indestructible. Store the boat upside down or lean it up against the house. It doesn't care. Put a Rhino liner in the truck bed & you're good to go..
 
#29
How & where do you plan to store this boat? Inflatables can be a pain. If left inflated, keep in mind the pressure variable due to changes in temp & altitude. Outside, subject to UV damage over time. Small toons can be hung from the ceiling & left partially inflated. They bounce off rocks and can be drug over rough terrain. Wood boats also take a beating left outside. Fiberglass will hold up better, but it too will start showing it's age after a couple of years left uncovered. Alum is virtually indestructible. Store the boat upside down or lean it up against the house. It doesn't care. Put a Rhino liner in the truck bed & you're good to go..
I have some room in my garage for storage.
 

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