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· Retired Mod
10,917 Posts
Wow, speyguy beat me to it.

Yes, I will say this right off the bat, and someone had it right. The Steelheader isn't for everyone. They are for those who truly are hardcore fishermen/women and really use their boats. They offer so much more then class V water running. They offer much better stability, handling, and carrying capacity. Spey guy pretty much hit the nail on the head. Some guys go out and spend thousands of dollars on rods, reels, and lines. But want to skimp on a boat that could save their life.

The Steelheader is gonna run you around $1400. I'd highly suggest if you plan to buy, go with the guide model (10'). It'll carry all the gear you need and float you high. The nice thing about the steelheaders vs every other boat out there is it floats you high and dry. The ODC's aren't bad, but they are cheaper boats. They look ok, but they are built in same factory as the fishcats and alot of other boats out there. Say it this way, a 16' ODC can only carry about 650#'s (may be 800). A 9' Steelheader carries the SAME capacity. The 10' Steelheader carries 1000#'s. That does alot for you river running. Say it this way, the more weight you add on a cataraft/pontoon boat, the more sluggish it will act. The lower weight capacity REALLY slugs boat out when you have 2/3 guys on it. No matter what you do, you want to be able to move your boat. My 16' cataraft carries around 1800#'s. Well over double an ODC. It's the way tubes are built and way the frames are set up.

In the long run, it all comes down to what you want to do. If you're the average joe who plays occasionally, the Steelheader is overkill. But, if you run rivers at all (anything with class 3) you'd be safer in a Steelheader. Handling is a key, and on a bucks or outcast most guys are almost MAXING out weight capacity. Most only handle 300#'s. Max capacity means you have more boat in water. Lessening your hanling capacity. Say it this way, those of you who think the bucks/outcasts handle good, try running a steelheader and you'll see a difference. I too was in same boat about 7-8 years ago. Outcast and Bucks were top of line in 8-9' boat arena. But my Outcasts really floated low in water. They were sluggish compared to my big boats. I could actually row my 16' boat much easier then my 8' and 9' Outcasts. I finally was able to by a Steelheader, and the difference was day and night. Response is so much better, and quality is much better.

So, key is to decide what you want to use boat for. If you are a hardcore guy, who loves to run the oars, save your $$$. If not, and only occasionally will use it. Go the cheap route.

If you have any questions, let me know. Would be glad to help you out.
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