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Hope everyone is off to a good start to the summer fishing season. As for me, I am looking into getting a boat, however I definately need some advise from the boating vets out there. Now, before I get into this, I know a vast number of the fly fishing purists are going to give a rashon of dooky for bringing up a powered boat, but I am going to do it anyway. ;-)

I do have a couple of pontoon boats, however they get limited use, as I my girlfriend is the only one that would go with me on a regular base, however the rivers around here kind of freak her out so we dont usually get out... So, I was thinking about getting a drift boat so she would go out with me more often (plus, I am sure I could get a second from the board once and again). I mainly would be using it on the Sky, Skagit, Yakima, and Sauk rivers... maybe others if they are easy enough to navigate. My question is with that said, is there a certain size I should be looking at? Brand? I oared a Clakacraft on the American river in CA last year, and it handled like a dream.. So I was leaning toward one of those.

Now where I hesitate is that I do have a pontoon boat, and I would love to save up a little more money and put myself in something with an engine so I could open up more options such as the Columbia for Shad, or Neah Bay for salmon. Can you do these with a drift boat?

Sorry for all the questions... With all this said, if you could have one or the other, what would I get more use out of?

I am sooooo confused. :dunno
 

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Pontoon boats for rent on the Yakima river

I am partial to the bigger pontoon boats myself,I definetly would not take a drift boat to neah bay unless you planned on staying very close in ,winds and tides can be your worst enemy,As far as the Columbia that would almost be a no no also,gets very windy there also.Sounds to me like a good excuse to buy 2 boats.
 

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Sounds like to me you need a driftboat that has a reinforced transom for an engine. Some boats are actually made with the mounting bracket on the small transom in back. DO NOT get the in hull motor well. All that I have rowed have been sloppy compared to a normal driftboat. The key is to get a longshaft motor for the boat (most don't recommend using over a 10hp on a driftboat). It has been done for a long time in Oregon using a driftboat with a kicker motor off the back. So perfectly acceptible. I'd definitely suggest if you're flyfising only to get a Clackacraft or a Hyde. These are boats that are designed with more a fly fisherman in mind. But, if you plan multiple use (say pulling plugs) I've noticed that the clack's and hydes just don't track well running plugs. Except the Clackacraft Steelheader, it's only model I've used that seemed to run true running plugs. But if you're going straight fly, just about any driftboat will do. Just make sure you get the configuration you need (usually you want a db with rear seat so you can have a standard 3 man config on flies, and sit near engine without extension with motor).

I think I covered all the bases. Not sure though. In process of buying a driftboat again myself. No one boat does everything. My cats work awesome, but not for my plugs. The DB's don't handle summer water levels as well as the cats, so on and so on. Have any other questions, let me know.
 

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I too am having a hard time deciding on what boat to get, a 17' Jet Sled Alumaweld Jon Boat, or a decked out Steelheader II Cat. They both have their disadvantages, but most of the time I usally fish by myself and somewhat leaning towards the Jet Sled. I hate it when you can't get anyone to fish with you so you end up only bank fishing. Oh well, can't have everything.

Peter ><>

"Follow Me and I will make you fishers of Men" Matthew 4:19
 

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Skycries.......that's BLASPHEMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How could you say that. I'm in shock. :eek: One can't have everything??? NAHHHHHHHHHH. LOL

Actually, going to be buying a Steelheader III, then a 10' Guide model Steelheader later on. Also a 16' Driftboat (used) and a 21' Northriver Mariner with jetpump near end of year. So, nothing wrong with a little over everything. ;)

If you decide on a Steelheader, let me know. Can give you all the insights, and any extra info you may need.
 

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Mother Nature's Son
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You've probably already considered this but I'll mention my take on it anyway...you've really got to spend some time considering what rivers you plan to fish on most as this will help determine which type of boat to start out with.

If you're leaning toward a drift boat, I'd recommend getting one at least 16 feet long. Smaller boats may maneuver slightly faster, but most people end up trading in smaller boats for one that is around 16 feet in length. Although motors can be put on drift boats, I don't believe that they offer much benefit.

For sleds, get one at least 17 feet in length. You can use it to fish salt and fresh water. You should also consider getting one with some sort of windshield as the rain in the winter can get brutal on the face.

There are two basic designs for sleds with windshields, the center console with a windshield and the traditional windshield at the front. I've owned both designs and both have their advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage to the windshield at the front is that you can also get a top and this will allow you to get out of the rain/wind if necessary. The issue with the center console is that it requires that you stand the entire time while operating it, and that can get to be a bit much depending upon how far you're traveling.

Both designs will allow at least 2 people to fish from the boat, one at the stern and one on the bow. Great for chasing salmon in the salt!

As previously mentioned, unfortunately there isn't a boat out there that will meet all needs and conditions. Start with one, and before you know it you'll be looking at another.
 

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Boats are like golf clubs: you need a bag full. I'm not going to comment on the drift boats because I don't know much about them except that I would like to have one. But I've got four boats as it is and my wife is geting very pissed about the situation and to add another would be all out war.
But I do know about the ocean, having made a good part of my fortune fishing it for more than twenty years, 12 yrs. as a commercial fisherman on the water nearly every day in the summer.
You need at least 20 ft. to have any confidence in the ocean and even then there will be many days when you just can't fish.
I've seen 12 footers hanging in around the entrance on flat days. They are never more than a mile from the harbor, nor should they be. I'm cool with that. The sea is a lot of fun. Unfortunaely it can be lethal. 11 people died recently in a boat much larger than you can afford. The skipper was seasoned. But the sea got him.
Be very careful here. :professor :professor
Rivers, too, can be very nasty. I admire your asking for advice on the web. I would use the search engine on this site and study it thoroughly before I made any decisions. In any event, you will buy boat after boat, just like the rest of us, always searching for the holy grail. Good luck and give me a ride some day.
Blab:thumb
 

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The ocean is the ocean and the rivers are the rivers. One boat will not service you on say a smaller river and Neah Bay too. I totally agree with Bob but would add several more feet to an ocean boat unless you are VERY experienced and have a very fast boat with lots of communications.
I worked two summers out of Westport on charters, 42 and 46 footers powered with gas and they were both fast boats for their size. The skipper was as good as they come. Later I bought a 42 footer and spent several summers up in the straits. The wind and tide can come up so fast out there you cann't believe it. And if that isn't enough the fog can roll in.
If you are going to play in the ocean take the Power Squadrons course on boat handling. It is worth every minute of time you put into it.
The salt is a great place to play but she is even more unforgiving than most rivers.
My two cents
Dave
 

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Patrick
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Wet Line I have to agree with you on that fact and to many people out there should think about it. I have been on boats in the salt for years. When I was younger used to go out 3 out of 4 weekends. I am currently starting to go out again. I currently have just a 15 foot boat that freinds of mine keep saying lets take it to Westport or places such as that. Even though the boat has a high railing and is 7 foot wide there is no way I would take it out any where in the ocean even with or maybe because of my experince. Over the years even on just crossing the straights and even in inland waters I have come across things that make your hair stand on end. The worse was a small wirl pool that the 38Ft boat went down into far enough that all I could see on all sides of the boat was water. We had just enough momentum to pull out of it but it was close. That was some were around the mouth of Rivers Inlet we were not to far from land even.
The salt water is not a place to be careless or drunk when out upon. Know your boat and your limitations before going out on. The sea can be a harsh teacher. Also make sure to learn to read the road signs of the water. Hate to see people who because they can not read a chanel marker or or other type of marker end up grounding the boat or worse/
 

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Hikepat
you just went several notches up my ladder. You have been and you have seen and that is enough for me. Mother is a cruel teacher!
Excuse me for underestimating where you have been!
Here is to those with salt in there nose, as an old Norski told me. :beer1 :beer1 :beer1

Dave
 

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I've ALWAYS had respect for the water. I think it's those who become complacent and think they've got it all figured out that get bit in the butt. I love to fish in the ocean, but on a BIG BOAT!!!! LOL. I'm going to be getting a 21' jetsled, and wouldn't dare take her out into the open sea (she'll have big enough motor to drive her anywhere). But I too have seen too many bad things, and think that an ocean boat should be B-I-G! I have too much respect for the ocean, and prefer to have a big hull under/around me. ;) Just like on the rivers. I don't take runs for granted, even ones I've done a thousand times. You never know when a current may change, a hydraulic may increase and suck your boat under and eject you.
 
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