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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been lurking around the last couple of months looking at used drift boats. Something in the back of my head says I should take a closer look at some rafts. I'm thinking a 14'oddessy?

Give me your opinions on a drift boat vs a raft & frame set up.

What works for you and why?

Thanks, Pearl
 

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For me a drift boat is the first boat a fisherman should have. Good control. You can backtroll. Add a motor and access tidewaters, bays, lakes, etc. Most versatile boat on the water. Rafts handle larger water with more room for error, but I can't see how they can compare overall in terms of versatility. But then again, I've never owned one, only a pontoon boat.
 

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the reason i bought a drift boat, as opposed to some other kind, is the diversity of water you can cover. the only thing that comes close is having a sled, and those are banned on certain rivers or sections of river. plus, i'm more into the quiet float experience than the loud sled trip.

to date, i haven't seen a raft with an outboard on the willamette or out in a bay.
 

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I believe it can be difficult to fish out of a raft unless you are just side drifting. If you want to fish from shore in some class 3 plus water than a raft is indeed a good option. I have a few kayaks for fishing high up on some rivers where we fish only from shore.

Best Fishes
 

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Having been a rafting guide in Alaska and now owning both a driftboat and a 14' self-bailer, I think there are tremendous advantages to both types of watercraft.

Driftboats are so much easier to use around here. For generations, fishermen have been using driftboats to fish the local rivers, so there are lots of tried-and-true drifts with which people are familiar. Driftboats are also simple to trailer, launch and retrieve, better to fish from, and more enjoyable in the winter.

However, rafters can go places that most driftboaters shouldn't go, and thus can access some great fishing water (e.g., Dodge to Oxbow on the Sandy). Also, rafting in more intense white-water builds skills that floating a mellow drift just doesn't.

That being said, I notice that I've used my driftboat dozens of times in the last year, and I haven't taken the raft out at all.
 

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I've got a DB and my buddy has a raft (not a very good one). My next boat will probably be a raft.

The advantages I can see of a raft are:

1) A lot bigger margin for error in white water
2) Are great in low flows, draw very little water
3) Are easy to get in and out of

Disadvantages are:

1) Less room. The big tubes eat a lot of space
2) Don't backtroll as well. My buddy's is a real dog, but a nicer raft with more rocker would perform better.
3) A wetter ride. my buddy's takes a lot of water over the front in white water.
4) Aren't as durable
5) Aren't that compatible with a kicker. Although we do run an electric off of my buddy's

So basically I would say a DB is the better platform to fish from. But you can easily take a raft a lot more places than you can a drift boat.

So think about where you plan of fishing and decide what's important for you.
 

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The raft is a specialty item reserved for tough to row waters. they do not backtroll, so you will need to anchor to fish. Pulling plugs is only possible if you drag the anchor. Sot a good idea in waters that have spawning fish in them.

The drifter is much more comfy to fish from. It will not forgive hitting rocks like a raft. the raft usually will need to be inflated the nite before. The drifter does not.

Get a drifter first. Unless whitewater is a hobby of yours.

I have a drifter and a raft. The drifter gets fished the bulk of the time. The raft comes out on overnite trips when there is a lot of gear involved AND we will be running big water.

Mark and the dog.
 

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I think that the drift boat is the right choice for fishing around here in OR & WA. East to manuver and trailer and they don't generally get popped. I also should note that you should take your buddy fishing again real soon.

mtpar
 

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I have been a fishing guide since '87 and also owned a white water rafting company specializing in class V water. I have first decents on 25+ foot falls in rafts. as well as many other accomplishments. I sell drift boats currently and have rowed them since '82 in ALASKA. It depends on the way you want to fish and the water you care to access. If you tell me you love throwing bait and flies, and you want to fish the Upper Sandy, Upper Washougal, Upper East Fork Of the Lewis, The Klickitat, The upper Kalama, The Wind or a long list of others. Ill sell you a drift boat if you tell me where you are going so I can have a free one next week when I retrieve yours off the rocks!! A time and place for everything. I have one of each but I often think my 13 foot cataraft is the most versitle. REMEMBER: Rubber is in destructable and if you screw up you can patch it like a bike tire. But if you but a good raft you probably will never have to patch it. My current raft is 7 years old with over 500 trips on it. NOT A PATCH.
If you care to know more give me a call (206)396-5380
Good Luck!
TOM
 

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Thanks Grasshopper, couldn't have said it better. You definitley have started before me. Didn't start whitewatering old bucket boats until 83' w/parents. But I've been more into the catarafts since about 85', and have my original Aire Ocelot I bought back in 89'. Still run that 16' boat. You pretty much nailed it all. I prefer catarafts over rafts anyday, even the nice SB's you'll see. I like cutting into a wave and eating through them. I hate the way you'll bucket up on a raft hitting a wave.

I feel if you never plan to pull plugs, baitdivers, and run motors, then the inflatables are only way to go. Great capacity, row great, and can be lauched anywhere. I have a retrofitted trailer, so I can actually hoise my boat back on anywhere I can tilt my trailer into (which is just about anywhere). Yes, a top notch set of tubes/raft will last you along time. My boat is over 13 years old and still going strong. But i agree, pulling plugs/backtrolling takes a bit more to do. Alot of times that has to do with using too short of oars. Lengthen the oars a bit and will help you keep that boat inline. But I'm talking cats, not rafts. I haven't rowed a raft since my first cataraft ride in 85'.
 

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to each his own
i've had my legacey momentum since 1983 $995.00
for the first timer floater go to a pontoon boat
a lot cheaper and just as cold as a raft.
you can use this on the small rivers and keep your d.b. for the big rivers.
we are seeing more of these on the n.f. nehahlem,each year
 

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As you know Pearl there are many different options! You can haul more Pabst in a raft. I prefer the drift boat just cause that is what I have. Have done both and have consistently rowed class 4 whitewater with no problems. I can haul a lot of gear but the big cataraft's can haul more. Either way buy one soon so you can head down the Deschutes Memorial Day weekend and enjoy the outdoors. Can you say "Barbecue"????
 

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Each craft has it's own particular advantages but if you are choosing between one then it would have to be a drift boat.

A drift boat is the best all round boat ever made.

After a 4 day float on the Deschutes River when you arrive at the takeout and you are fried to a crackly crunch and about to endure a 3 day river hangover, you load the drift boat on the trailer and you are out of there.

With a raft, it is about a 45 minute breakdown to remove the frame, gear and deflate. Unless of course you have a trailer for the raft. They are just more work and require yearly maintenance. Patches and repairs. It will only increase the longer that you have it.

Drift Boat!!!!! :dance: :grin:
 

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Rubber Robin, I've had my Aire Ocelot for over 13 years (bought back in 89'). I have yet to put a patch on it. And I've run that boat hard, as far as running it on the Colorado river on the 3rd hardest run in the US. I've done alot of river miles on it. Never had to do any upkeep, except normal stuff I'd do with my driftboat (clean up). I rarely use the small ones. I use a trailer either way, and even when I put the boat on my rooftop, I leave together. Since I use boat year around (fishing and whitewatering) I never have to store it away. But, problem with most, they buy inferior tubes. I know my whitewater frame (I have a custom fishing frame as well) has been hit and bumped a thousand times and still in excellent shape for its use. I was a cargo hauler for a whitewater guide friend of mine (I bought the boat used from him, was less then a year old). If you have good tubes, chances are you'll be less likely to puncture. Though it does happen, but so does busting a weld on a DB. Happens occasionally, but not that often. Same with inflatables. Cheaper the boat, more likely to happen (same with DB's and who makes them and what they are made out of)

I agree, the best all around boat in long run is a DB. But I use my cataraft for specialized situations. I got out of running plugs for a few years there, and with my NOW exwife had to decide between my DB or my cataraft. I can do alot more with my cat then a DB. I know you can run them through class 4's, but you have to be PERFECT running it. One mistake puts you on the bottom fast. Not many can say that with a raft/cataraft. Chances are you'll get wet if you flip/sumberge but will come out of it. Now, class 5's, that's another story. I have almost always had my 16 and 18' catarafts totally submerged up to oarlocks (if not more). But, not many run the upper waters. Most will easily get by with a DB in most situations. Then, once you specialize your fishing, move up to a cataraft/raft if it's applicable. I love mine. But now that I'm QUITE happily divorced, I want to buy another driftboat. I had to wait until I got caught up on $$ thanks to my ex. Now, I'll be back in the market to buy another one (wish I had my old boat though). Best is if you can have one of each. Luckily, I will :smile: . Will have a variety of catarafts, one DB, and a sled. Wooohooooo, and who says divorces are always bad??? lol
 

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If it helps, I do most of my fishing from my drift boat. I have a 17' Fish Rite DB but also a 16' Aire twin tube cataraft, 12' Maravia cataraft, and a 8' Outcast pontoon (cataraft?). Second choice would be the 12 footer. I have it setup for 2 people and it can handle rougher water. It just depends on where you want to go and how you want to fish.
 

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Pearl,
You're acting like an old lady out to buy her 1st car in 55 years. PULL THE TRIGGER !!! You've had an empty garage for over a year since you sold the Mustang. The wife has given you the "Green Light" to buy one so just pull the trigger !!!! :rolleyes:

Without starting a poll question, I'd say the majority say to go with the DriftBoat. I concur...

I look forward to floating this fall with you on the sticks, rather than me rowing your fat arss down the stream :wink: .

P.A.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
parthur,

I never thought I would see the day you wanted to do anything fast. Wanting me or anyone to make a quick descision is not like you. Heck, it takes you 45 minutes each morning trying to decide wether your going to wear underwear that has stripes or polkadots :shrug:

You may have helped answer my question though. You did a pretty good job rowing us down the river this year. I don't see any reason to change that. Think I'll go with the raft. :smile:
 
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