Washington Fly Fishing Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, thanks to the guys on here that have given input or even reviews of the Commander. I picked up a used one from fellow member srb (great to meet you Gabe) that's in great shape. I took it out on its maiden voyage last Saturday morning on a local lake that was recently planted.
Since people's input led me to buy one over other crafts such as a Stealth or Scout I'll give my impressions with the hopes it helps someone make up their mind on whether it's right for them.

First observation- Hey, my ass is out of the water! I have a 14' Gregor that is great, but I love float-tubing. I just seem to always catch more fish from a tube. I've never had a pontoon because, well, I've always and a tube and a boat. Well, now I have a tube, a boat and a craft that is really both. This planter lake is just big enough to be a lot of kicking in a tube. With the oars on the Commander I covered the whole lake and still was able to fish slow, kicking when I wanted. Turns out the fish were mostly in one area. Had I been in my tube I probably would not have found them since I wouldn't have kicked far enough. I would have found them in the Gregor, but since it usually has a 25hp Merc on it, the trailer bunks are higher than they would be if it was just a row boat. The shallow launch at small lakes like this one always make it tougher than it should be. Slicks for the bunks are on the list, but never seem to get purchased since I never need them on bigger lakes or the Canal.
Anyway, considering it's still winter and it pissed rain all Saturday morning, it was very nice to not be in a traditional float-tube, but yet have the same feel with the mobility of a row boat.

Second observation- The Commander is very stable. I almost bought a Scout since they're on sale at Cabela's right now for $520. Yes, a great deal. The thing I noticed (and have read a bit) is the nose just doesn't look long enough. I'm 6'4" and I've read that tall guys sit back far enough they feel the Scout leans back a bit. Something I would not like in the lake, but especially not in a river. And I plan on rivers for sure. The Commander is never going to flip backwards unless you go over a nasty slow lip. And I would have to really try hard to flip it sideways. 11' tubes sound low, and they are, but they are still high and wide enough to give it great stability. Can't wait to get it on the river. Moving water is the primary reason I went with the Commander over a Scout/Stealth type, but already know I'll fish still water with it more than I had planned. My local lily pad spots will be a blast in this thing.

Third observation- And I was worried about this one. Is it a pain to fish directly in front? I mean the Commander is 10' long so you have a 4-6' nose sticking out in front of you. Well, with my 9' rods the only time I noticed the "nose" was when fighting fish. I guess if you got into a big fish it could cause an issue, but a swirl of the feet and you can swing the nose out of the way. For me, I'm long enough I would just thrust my arm forward to get the bent rod around the nose. For fishing, either casting or trolling it was a non-issue.

I'll put some more input on here once I hit some moving water. I already have a few "bicycle shuttle" type floats planned for the MF Snoq, Yakima and Cedar. And some buddy floats (them in a drift boat) planned for the Deschutes. I can't wait to stand up on a bar in the middle of the Deschutes and fish areas I've never fished. And be, technically, legal.

Tight lines,
Stacy
 

·
dead drifting into thread drift
Joined
·
5,754 Posts
I'm curious if you've noticed that the caps you screw down to hold the oars in place come loose? I know mine do.

I absolutely love my boat, like you said, all the advantages of a tube plus more stability and far more range.
 

·
Topwater and tying.
Joined
·
520 Posts
I'm curious if you've noticed that the caps you screw down to hold the oars in place come loose? I know mine do.

I absolutely love my boat, like you said, all the advantages of a tube plus more stability and far more range.
Try the "tacky" version of lock-tite or maybe some of the Loon ferrule wax.
 

·
Old guy, still fishing.
Joined
·
60 Posts
Try the "tacky" version of lock-tite or maybe some of the Loon ferrule wax.
Try the "tacky" version of lock-tite or maybe some of the Loon ferrule wax.
After a number of hours on the oars mine quit working loose. I'm still in the habit of checking them periodically but it's no longer a problem.
I had trouble with the screws holding the aluminium tube that the oar pin pivots on working loose. I solved it by inserting an oak dowel into the tubing and drilling guide holes for the screws into the wood. While I had them out I also lubed them with paraffin wax.
I also had the plastic sleeve that fits over the tubing split on one oar. The good people at Outcast sent me a replacement oar pin assembly and a second one to carry as a spare in case it happened again. I've never been anything but completely satisfied with their response to my problems. I've had mine for several years and it's my first choice boat for anywhere that doesn't require a long trek to the launch.
Jeff
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've only had it out twice now and haven't noticed that. I do have one oar where the push-button pin that holds the paddle to the handle didn't want to pop into place. I was a little leery that the paddle part would fall off, but it didn't. I gave it a little whack tonight and it finally popped into place. Might need a bit of lube. The oars are small enough I may just not break them down.

My first trip I had pumped it up at home and just transported in the back of the truck.
This trip, I wanted to time how long setup took. So I deflated, rolled up and stuck it in the trunk of my sedan. It took about 20 minutes for full setup. Not bad. I definitely will get a car pump to cut down on the pumping and maximize that time for getting waders on and such.
And it sure was nice to be able to fish until near dark, row (instead of kick) back to the launch, deflate, pack up gear, stuff the thing in the trunk and head home. Take down is fast! I think it was probably only 10 minutes to take down. And since it was dark and starting to rain I just drove the 30 minutes home in my waders and changed in the comfort of my garage. Pretty slick.

I haven't completely dialed in the seat yet. First trip it was too close to the front edge. This trip it was too far back. And I think I went a bit soft on inflating the seat section. Both trips have been just 2 hours or so each. Only thing I don't like on the lake so far is not being able to rest my elbows on the tube. I did quite a bit of stripping so my left shoulder had some fatigue compared to in the boat or tube. I may actually get some inflatable cushions or arm rests. It's not an issue in the boat because I don't have a stripping deck in my lap. And in the float tube I can rest on my elbows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Finally got the Commander out on moving water yesterday. Upper Yak, Ensign to I-90 (Three Bridges). Didn't do well fishing, but the Commander is great in the river. I didn't want to start with fins as I wanted my feet firmly planted on the pegs to begin. It only took a few hundred yards to realize 1)the river was so high the fins would not be a problem, 2) the fins would actually help me and 3) this section of river is a walk in the park for the Commander. I kicked too much trying to slow down in the fast water while fishing, but rowing was very easy. I have a fair amount of experience rowing drift boats, including a terrible tank of a boat, so reaction time was a piece of cake. There were a couple sweepers and a log nearly across the river that would have been "obstacles" for a drift boat in some hands, but I barely noticed them in the Commander. In fact, I was able to miss a couple of them just kicking. Btw, that log is right after put in at Ensign. Skinny little channel to the left for passage. Probably a "get out and walk it" for most so be careful there.
That stretch is class II at most, but was flowing very quickly with the high (and cold) water. It would have a nightmare in some drift boats, but was a breeze in the Commander. I didn't get any splashing or anything. I had my regular coat stashed in the back and it barely got wet. I'm even more stoked to hit the rivers now, when conditions are better.
As far as the fishing report...threw everything at em, no go. San Juan worms, sculpzillas, stonefly nymphs, a couple different dries. Had one tug on the sculpin and that was it. The reservoirs still have ice on them so the water they just dumped was COLD. Can't remember the last time they still had ice on opening day.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top