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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello,

Just relocated to Montana and looking to buy my first raft, which will be used mostly for fishing.
I've done some research but wanted to see what other people have for rafts. Currently I've been looking at the AIRE D series because of the price and the reviews. However, the Hyside Outfitter and NRS Otter looks like great rafts as well. Anyone have reccomendations between these three brand?
 

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I've fished out of a lot of rafts and I've always really liked the outcast PAC 1300 and PAC 1400 raft packages. The newer ones are even better with the NRS frames. Simple and cost effective. One of my buddy's has been beating the shit out of his for years without issues. Outcast is a solid company to work with and their 10 year warranty is the best I've heard of. I sold my Streamtech Green Drake recently and am looking forward to picking up a PAC 1300 for my home waters here in WA in the near future.

If I was getting a raft for fishing in MT, I'd want to make sure it's tube diameters were as low-profile as possible to combat the wind. The Sotar Strike raft is a perfect MT raft but it's pricey. Stay away from large tube diameters and lots of rocker unless you're fishing class III water 90% of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. I have looked at Super Puma, I'm just worried that it will be to small. It will mostly be my friend and I, but I'd like the ability to have another Angler in the boat at times. From what I've been told, the bigger 130d will float higher compared to the super puma.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yellowstone, Madison, Gallatin and other local waters so I don't believe that I would need anything super skinney.It seems a lot of shops around here use super pumas.. I was hoping someone on here has an NRS Otter or a Hyside.
 

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If you're not running high class (4-5) water regularly (I highly doubt it) the Super Puma (Outcast PAC 1300) will be more than fine. Consider that the skinnier raft will be easier for anglers to manage fish from when they are near the boat (netting them, leaning over to release them, etc, etc.) and easier to row for the oarsman which when you're trying to manage keeping people in the sweet spot of runs using multiple oar strokes will save you some wear and tear at the end of the day. The AIRE 130 D is a bit wider than the Super Puma/Outcast Pac 1300 (5'8" for the Super Puma/Outcast Pac 1300, 6'4" for the AIRE 130 D) as you already know and keep in mind that there are some experienced/accomplished rafters that are are running Class 5 with the AIRE 130D. AIRE has lightened all their rafts/cataraft tubes for the 2017 model line up with some tweaks in the fabric of the outer skin and urethane bladders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I just talked to AIRE recently. He stated the D Series is 20% lighter, 102 pounds. The Super Puma I believe is 10% lighter at 85 pounds. The water levels get pretty low in the summer so it would be nice to have the 130D that will float higher then the super puma.
 

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You could always get the Outcast PAC 1400 if that was your concern which is the super duper puma.
 

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I have had a Super Duper Puma for years with an NRS frame setup for 3. Great boat and very responsive with plenty of room and still handles well with 3 people. Still big enough for multi-day trips for two and more than capable of Class 4/5. My son has a Super Puma with nearly the same setup. Handling with two in the Super Puma is nothing short of incredible but does suffer a bit with that third guy in the back. Interior room is noticeably different between the two. Both frames are set up with a detach seat bracket on the rear so it's off unless we need it. Depends on how you plan to fish I guess. If most of the time it's just you and one other I'd opt for the Super Puma for the Ferrari like handling. If it's generally 3 folks or you want to do some multi-day trips go Super Duper or 130D or the like. Aire and Hyside in my experience are bombproof. The Otter is fine but a bit lesser in toughness. If you have any questions about our setups drop me a note.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've come across a good deal on AIRE so I'm more leaning towards the 130D and the new 136DD. The new 136DD has similar specs to the Sotar Sl. Has anyone seen the new 136DD and have any comment on it ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well looks like my tax refund will increase my raft budget. Maravia and Sotar are doing 10% off builds this shortly. Has anyone rowed the Sotar SL and the Maravia Diablo? I do like the DS floor on the Diablo, Very similar in prices,,
 

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I have two Maravias and have rowed Spiders, Williwa 1s, Williwa 2s, Mistrals, and a New Wave 2. I own a willy 2 and a New Wave 2. The Williwa is my big water boat and the New Wave is my skinny water boat. The drop stitch floors are bomber and provide a great standing platform when fully inflated. I love the way Maravias row. The flat floor allows you to slip sideways across waves and turn on a dime in any water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've narrowed it down to a modified Sotar SL. It's 13'6 with 20-15 diminished tube with a reduction of 4 inches to 36". I've just started looking at the Maravia Diablo and ranger. I really like the DS floor. Was hoping someone on here as rowed the SL and a DS maravia.
 

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Just out of curiosity, what kind of accessories/frame/oars, etc. were you planning on running with your raft? If you're cheaping out on them I'd put the increased tax return into high(er) end oars with perhaps 2 spares instead of 1, perhaps a few extra accessories for frame, etc.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well after much thought. I've decided to go with Sotar SL 13'6 with 20-15 Diminished tubes. I found this to be the lightest and most agile boat for here in Montana. The diminished tubes should help with the wind. Should take about 2 months for the custom build. I will upload pictures when its completed.
 

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Well after much thought. I've decided to go with Sotar SL 13'6 with 20-15 Diminished tubes. I found this to be the lightest and most agile boat for here in Montana. The diminished tubes should help with the wind. Should take about 2 months for the custom build. I will upload pictures when its completed.
That sounds like quite the raft, and I know you spent a lot of time evaluating various rafts and drift boats before making your decision.

One question I have though is did you look at the Sotar Strike 13'6" model, and if so why did you decide to go with the SL? (I don't know a lot about rafts, but have been thinking of getting one myself, perhaps next year - I have a new Clackacraft Eddy 360 on order now for this spring.)

P.S. I bet your Sotar would love the Beartrap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
The wife likes the versatility of the raft compared to the drift boat. With a driftboat your limited to where you can put in and take out, and where you can float. With the Sotar we can float anything and can put in & take out anywhere we want. We're defiantetly planning on taking the raft into the Bob Marshall Wilderness via pack horse to float the South Fork of the Flathead river. I also liked the idea of being able to float really skinny water. I was banging rocks left and right on the Madison when I rented a driftboat in October. The raft is a lot more forgiving then a driftboat.

She wants the option of going white water rafting, something that isn't possible with a driftboat. So that narrowed out the driftboat.

I did look at the Sotar Strike for awhile. However, the Strike is really flat. If you plan to fish 95% of the time on tamer rivers, then a strike is the way to go. I talked to Korey at Sotar throughout the whole process and he was very helpful. We talked about the pros and cons of each raft. In the end we opted for the Modified Sotar SL It has more air chambers then a Strike, something you defiantly want when white water rafting. The SL is wider, therefor will float higher and accommodate more space for gear and anglers. The SL has 22-17 diminished tubes, we modified the tubes to 20-15, which will help with the wind.

I really wanted an Adipose Flow or a Clacka Eddy, but it wasn't in the cards.

Sotar SL 13'6 - $5500.00
Frame- $2,000
Trailer - 2,000
Oars - 800
Anchor - 100

That's not including life jackets, dry bags, throw bag, and other accessories.

In the end, it will be $11,000-$12,000 investment.
 
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