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This winter I'm planning on ordering a 17' Willie DB. I know some of you have your preferences about drift boats but I'm set on the Willie. What are the extra's that are "must haves" on your drift boats? I would like any and all imput. I would like to get all the bells and whistles but don't want to put anything on my boat that is unnessary. Thanks for all imput. I haven't rowed a boat in at least a decade so anything new would be cool.

~steelymann~
 

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If you plan on fishing and casting from the drifitng boat on a river, tell them to make the horns a little smaller. They tend to make them with too much room, and the person up front needs to lean to make solid contact with their thigh when a little rough water is encountered, and that throws off a level float. Look at something like a fiberglass casting brace and that would work better.
 

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flat floors. I also got the "fly fishing" package, which has a removable thigh brace up front for leaning and casting. I can take it out, put the seats forward a notch, and load the rear of the boat for overnight trips.

The rear thigh brace is a joke and unnecessary
 

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Depends on how and where you like to fish.

If I pulled a lot of plugs and anchored to drift fish, I would order a fairly bare bones ride.

But the boondogging/side drifting thing has become very popular in the last few years. Even though I prefer to pull plugs and drift fish, I understand that me tying up half a run is not necessarily reasonable anymore.

I would order front and rear level decks. A rear seat. Maybe a side anchor( probably not for me, but a popular item amongst the electric motor crowd). If you fish in cold weather, plumb in a heater under the floor.A couple extra cupholders( motion marine has removable cup holders that would work swell) for shrimp and eggs.Storage under the oarsmans seat. Maybe shrink the flydeck to give the front seaters some more room( if you free drift or boondog a lot, eliminate at least half of this and get 2 seats on boxes instead of one full width box. lots more room for the front seaters). Maybe a bow anchor, but only if you bobberfish in tidewater or you backbounce some swirly water often. If you get cataracts, get the counterbalanced ones-Great sticks, terrible blade heavy.

If you get the rear seat, make sure there is storage for dude back there. Side trays work fine.

Good seats( Fish-On! seats are about as comfortable as my annual physical exam. Think about comfortable seats) Adjustable oarlocks. Adjustable footbrace.

Try to keep it as simple as possible. While the trick stuff sounds cool now, remember a drifter is not a super big platform. Even a 17' boat. And it is usually a bit of a fire drill when someone hooks a fish. So, while trick is cool, it has a downside. Like when a chinook just went around your bow anchor rope and you can't figure out what side he is on.

Mark and the dog.
 

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pedestal seats are nice. don't see them very often but they create some extra room up front. I also agree with the Bo's anchor system. much nicer to release the anchor with your foot..
 

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I really like the storage boxes in the rowers seat (3 compartments). If you are going to run a heater much, have the line plumbed under the floor boards.

RF
 

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I really like having a foot release for the anchor. Most of the new boats use the pulley system on the gunwhale that requires one or both hands to operate.

If plugging or fighting a fish by yourself, it is nice to be able to drop anchor with your foot, or let out more rope.

I also like leaving the gunwhales clear for gear and rods.

JMO
 

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Hello Steelymann:

Congrads on picking a Willie. On my Willie I believe the following are a big plus:

1. The large size fish box under the rowers seat. This gives me extra storage and more room for fish.
2. Rubber molding around the top rail
3. I like my rear locking storge box. I had the floor of the box manufactured at an angle so the lid is flat; then I have them add a fish on seat which can be removed. I can operate my kicker in the seat and store my gear in the box. This box is bolted in so if I want to add my camping gear, I can remove the box.
4. Once you purchase the boat, go to a RV supply store and purchase a RV level ($3.95)with adhesive on the back. Mine is placed between the front leg braces so that my friends always know when the boat is not level.
5. I do not like the Bo's anchor system in the floor. I do not like anything that will get in the way of my feet. I like the Dirks release that comes from Willie. I took the release cleat and mounted it inside the sie tray to give me more room.
6. With regard to heaters, I like to use the smaller portable catalitic heaters that use the one pound cannisters. This way the heater does not need to be in the boat unless it is cold.
7. Trailer - I highly recommend a gavanized trailer. My Baker looks new year after year.
8. If you troll plugs - look to have the front, center rod holder raised up about 8 to 10 inches so it is more functional. You can use 3/16" aluminum plate for this.

Best Fishes,
 

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I really like having a foot release for the anchor
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">A few years back a guy sunk his boat on the upper Nestucca because he accidentally stepped on his anchor release while going through some rapids.
I have heard other instances of this happening also. No thanks, I'll stick with my Dierks pulley system.

Like Flatfish said above, Catarcat Oars. As far as the counterbalanced ones, not for me. I tried them and could not stand rowing with them. I guess I spent so many years rowing heavy wood oars that I just don't like oars that don't give me forearm cramps. :grin:
One thing, if you get the 17 foot Willie make sure you go with 10 foot oars. I have 10's on my 16' Willie and I will never go back to the shorter oars.

[ 08-19-2003, 02:56 PM: Message edited by: Tanner ]
 

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Skip the fixed rod holders. Order the brackets from Willie that slide along the gunwhale.

That way you can position the holders anywhere from the bow to stern. Comes in handy when you are trolling or pulling plugs by yourself.

The fish box is a must have!
 

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I love the idea of the r/v level! Front seaters don't seem to understand what a pain it is to row when one side is 8" lower than the other. I've had the plumbed in heaters and almost never used them, there just isn't room. Turned out to be more problem than they're worth. Besides the guy at the oars isn't going to get cold!
 

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I second Smokey on the sliding rod holders. I love mine.

Also, Get a front bra for when you are trailering it. Your paint job will thank you. If you want to see pictures of what one looks like after three years of trailering with no bra just let me know.
 

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- yes on the level ($3 at the RV store - do it yourself)

- If your going to use a motor a lot I would suggest side anchor and/or Front anchor bracket. The Rear swivel pin seat is nice to for motoring. if I wasnt using the trolling motor i would skip the rear seat and get the center pull anchor.

- definitely get the adjustable rod holders.

- Willie's 17 foot package boat has a lot of the standard stuff you have to have - gunnel gaurd, front seat storage, anchor nest etc...
 

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Do you have any tips on putting in a line on a used Willie with the standard floor? I'd like to run the line under the floor to the front, but have no idea if that is practical now.
 

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If you go with two front pedestal seats and they are bolted down, It will be challenging to balance the boat if there is a total of two people in it. Since the front guy has to sit in one or the other, he will never be in the middle.

I would get it 'plumbed' for heat. Once the floor is in, there is no going back. You don't have to get the whole heat package, plumbing only isn't expensive and you can decide later if you want a heater up front.

Also, side anchor in the back. There will come a time when you want to throw a motor on it for something somewhere. Maybe something that you end up using alot. This will let you do it with no effort.

Go with the flat floors front and back.

Slider rod holders on the rail.

Side anchor release.

These are things that once done are semi hard - to hard to change. I would do this stuff from the start.

[ 08-20-2003, 10:44 AM: Message edited by: Predator Dawg ]
 

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I've got a 16x54 with a number of options I like:
. anchor nest is nice, but I've had trouble finding anchors that fit it.
. locking storage boxes under all seats are a must!
. sliding front seats

Modifications I've made:
. cut some slots in the unirail in the front and rear to permit tie-down of cargo
. added a bubble level in front of the passenger seats to help them know where to sit
. rod holders installed on side of gear tray and back edge of front deck to keep rod holders inside the boat to avoid problems in brushy areas

problems I've had:
. plastic knobs on seat location adjustments broke off
. web rowing seat self-destructed due to sun damage

Options I wish I had:
. front anchor bracket
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Awesome recommendations. Gives me a ton of things to think about. Look forward to many a float. Thanks for the info.

~steelymann~
:dance: :dance:
 
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