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Water Master raft?

19594 Views 29 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Steelheader69
I am thinking of purchasing one of these and was wondering if anyone had any experience with these.
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WM and pontoon boat

I'll add my two cents. I bought my WM from Dave Inks in the early 90's and actually fished one Sunday with Dave on the Clark Fork outside of Missoula. Unfortunately I have not used the WM that much but it is a fine vehicle from going from point AtoB. I never fish out of it unless stopped, anchored and standing inside the boat fishing. I feel very safe in that mode; it is not safe to be drifting AND fishing at the same time in my opinion, especially when alone. It will carry a buch of stuff. The seat is not supportive and leads to back strain after a few hours of rowing. When not dangling legs through the bottom, the legs can be put in straps, but again since legs are at same level as ones hips, this position is not comfortable in short order.
I have just finished three days on the Skagit with Dennis Dickson and for the first time used the 8' Outcast pontoon boat---and as Dennis predicted, I would be asking more questions about the boat after the three days than about the fishing. I LOVED the Outcast. 1. The hard seat is very comfortable and after 6-7 hour days my back felt pretty good. 2. The metal(rather than the strap on the WM) foot rest was positioned below my pelvis and was much more comfortable than the WM and I could get much better leverage when rowing. 3. The Outcast is faster and more maneuverable than the WM. I can't imagine spey casting out of either craft. 4. Breaking down my Sage 15' 8wt several times a day would be a real minus with either craft. On the WM the rod would have to be broken down or you would have 5-6' of the rod sticking out the bow(that's 'back' isn't it?) and therefore very vulnerable. Dennis took the butt of the 15 footer and wedged it between the pontoon and metal frame near his foot, then ran the rod near his chair velcroing it to the seat so that the tip rose 5' beyond the bow and about 4-5' above the water line, unlike the WM where the tip would be about 8 inches above the water line. Putting the 15footer VERTICALLY in a rod holder in either craft doesn't seem doable. In three days of fishing with the Outcast the rod was never in danger.
In sum, they are both great boats. I did more enjoy the pontoon boat and especially if ferrying around a long spey rod, the pontoon boat in my relatively brief experience is the preferred craft.
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We used Dennis Dicksons 2 Outcasts(www.outcastboats.com) which were as I remember Dennis telling me about 7-8 years old and have been used a LOT by Dennis for his guided trips and on-the-river classes. He is happy with their performance.So from the git-go our crafts were inflated, carried to our put-in on a trailer behind the truck, and were always ready to go. That's the professional mode and would not be what I would do. I have a rack atop my car and since I have to travel 300 miles up to N.Carolina to trout fish, I have decided not to put my WM there or the Outcast because traveling the highway at 65mph would make me uncomfortable---atop the car they would not be very aerodymamic. Either would be broken down, put in my trunk, and re-assembled at the fish site. Where small distances are concerned---back and forth from the stream to the motel--I would put the 28lb. WM or the 55lb Outcast atop the car. The WM can be partially deflated and put in the trunk of the car; the Outcast frame can be broken down into four parts and carried with partially de-flated pontoons in the trunk when on the highway. Now please understand, I do not own an Outcast(OC), but from what I understand about the construction of the Outcast, what I suggest is doable.
Now I am going to be more positive about what I said in the first post--I LOVED the outcast: it's FIRM BACK seat was very comfortable and with it and the metal foot stirrups I could get some real good leverage rowing. You need a good seat to be comfortable. Water-dynamically, the OC is faster, qicker, and more maneuverable. Some efficiency is lost in rowing with the WM since the oars are fixed to the pontoons which absorb some of your rowing effort unlike the OC whose oar system is fixed to a metal frame--maybe not a really big deal, but a factor. Bottom line I have used each enough to know that even if it takes a bit more effort to ready the OC for battle, if I plan to spend 6-9 hours on the water, I want it to be with an OC. I will give here a plug for my guide Dennis Dickson---it was a great three days on the Skagit.
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