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rafts- on longevity- pvc (aire) hardens and gets more brittle with age and UVs but is more slippery. you can often do a quick patch on just the bladder w/ tape, but removing the bladders is still a pain. Hypalon is more maintenance free and more straightforward tho time consuming to patch. lasts a lifetime for most. bucket boats are cheaper, save a tiny bit on weight, but I would never want one.

raft frames can get much heavier with more bells and whistles. a busy frame is full of line snags, and can make your raft heavier than a drift boat. for a swinger, what do you REALLY need ? KISS

driftboats are easy on-off the trailer but not as versatile (low water) and more limited on access, drier ride in whitewater, but not near as forgiving as inflatables. tracking is much better (think wind and flat water). nicer to fish from (fewer line snags) things don't get knocked out of the boat as easily.

rafts and studded boots- get heavy rubber stall mats and cut to shape to protect floor. DO NOT STEP ON FRAME- studs will put a gouge in there most every time that will eventually rip your waders.

rod holders- gear ties. rubber coated twist ties. better yet break them in 1/2 and Velcro-strap sections together first. simple and very fast once you get used to it. I do this every time on brushy rivers if I cant see the next run I plan on fishing.

i've owned aire, nrs and hi-side rafts, tho I wouldn't buy another pvc boat, aires are quality boats. drift boats are more dodge-chevy-ford but there are also a surprising number of crappy yugos, and kias, and don't forget ford escorts. beware of any companies touting there bells and whistles, a quality, well designed hull is what matters. wood is pretty and hi-maintenance, glass is cooler/warmer and slick, aluminum is recyclable. all can be strong. or not.

small personal inflatables have all the obvious benefits and limitations.

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I don't have a boat. I have a small fleet. I use a 16' Lund SSV with a Yamaha 40/30 jet drive for larger rivers and access convenience. I can carry one or up to two passengers, but that's the limit for the low power on this boat. For drifting rivers I use my Watermaster Kodiak. It's a one-person craft but carries enough that I have used it for 8-day float and fishing trips. And for packing upstream and floating back down I have Alpacka pack rafts which are hard to carry a Spey rod in, but it can be done. Alpackas don't carry much, but by going backpacking style, I did a 6-day float trip last summer. This fleet provides a lot of versatility. I only need more boats if I want a large enough raft to tackle Class IV rapids. So far I haven't had that need.
 

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RavenBC, it's a little hard to tell from that picture, but I'm 95% sure that is not a drop stitch floor. That stitching on the side has nothing to do with drop stitch flooring. With a drop stitch floor, it is super rigid (higher pressure) and you do not need a platform to stand on it. It is called drop stitch because of the joining of two pieces of polyester woven support fabric with thousands of fine polyester thread lengths.

"It can be inflated to rock-hard rigidity. You get hard-shell performance along with the easy transportation and storage of an inflatable."

A simple google search will show what it looks like.
 

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I elected to not get the floor attachments to stand on in my raft. The drop stitch floor is plenty hard enough to stand and while being stable at the same time. The floor attachment just looked like another place to have fly line snag and get caught between.
 

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Currently the 11’ Sotar pontoon/ cataraft w/ web floor and anchor system. Good transportation and fairly versatile. Rolls up and fits in the basement of the RV. Transitioned fromClackacraft drift boat, rafts, AL fishing boats. All good, the right tool for the job.
 

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Those Jet boats really are sweet, but sometimes it's nice to not use gas, lessen carbon footprint, reduce noise, disturb the waters less, etc. It is very pleasant to drift a river. And, it can be very unpleasant to be out there and a big old jet boat comes ripping through and just crushes the water. Kind of like living right next to an airport. Sure, planes are great and get you where you need/want to go quickly and efficiently, but it is very unpleasant to live right in the path of the planes, isn't it?
 

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I’ve got a 16’ clackacraft that is a great boat, we use it on rivers and lakes with an 80# thrust electric motor and it lasts all day. I don’t know how to add a picture but everyone knows what they are.
I absolutely hate jet boats, nothing worse the swinging a run and having one come ripping up through almost knocking you over with the wake. That being said I want one, a small one for accessing places like the lower Klamath and a few others and to not have to worry about a shuttle.
 

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Cool topic. From largest to smallest:

16 foot Skagit River Flatbottom Aluminum Jet Boat-Built by my dad in the mid 80s, I acquired this a few years ago and have been modifying it to how I fish. It has a 90 HP Mercury and I replaced the 8 HP kicker with a Yamaha (twice, first time got stolen). The design was originally used for side drifting steelhead on the Skagit, then the Cowlitz, and finally on the Clearwater. However, the interior is very open and provides a stable platform for fly fishing lakes or rivers. While I hear and appreciate the comments on jet boats, I have found that the places I use it do I rarely see other anglers and when I do, they are almost always fishing from a boat as well. It is not a good large-lake boat as the flat bottom does not do well with chop but works great on places like Rufus Woods, where there is some current but doesn't get real bumpy with the wind. Needless to say, I really enjoy fishing out of it, much of that due to the memories of still fishing "silvers" (kokanee) as a kid and later steelhead on the Skagit.

11 Foot Sotar Pontoons and a Catchercraft Frame-The 22 inch diameter pontoons makes this a beast of a boat, very stable and anchors extremely well but at over 6 feet wide, it takes a trailer to haul it around. Still, I'm confident in taking this boat just about in any river I have a mind to row.

10.5 Foot Aire Tributary with Catchercraft 2-Person Frame-Just got this recently, we put in some Honeycomb floors to avoid walking/standing on the factory floor system by Aire. It is a great two-person boat, stable enough to fish on the move but fits in the back of a truck inflated so no trailer needed. I'll probably sell this one and upgrade to a 13 foot raft so I can two two anglers plus the rower.

10 Foot Clackacraft Coastal Drifter-Fiberglass Pram. I believe the model was discontinued for awhile but they may have brought it back. I have owned this boat the longest and have caught more fish in it that all the rest of my boats combined...mostly because of the high catch rate of allowing you to effectively anchor bow and stern and fish midges till your arms fall off. I replaced the original galvanized trailer with a custom aluminum one and now, I can't see selling this boat for any reason or price. One of my favorites and the best tool for small lake stillwater fishing.

10 Foot Catchercraft 1-Salt Steelhead-Basic 10 foot pontoon boat with stand up floor, rear deck, and has a Leelock anchor system. Pontoons are a foot shorter and a few inches smaller in diameter; other than that, functions the same as the 11 foot Sotar boat.

9 Foot Jack's Plastic Welding Mosquito with Catchercraft Freestone Frame-This is a floorless raft that allows you to fish Fred Flintstone style...works great for single hand fly or gear fishing in rivers and works well in lakes for trout when in Skeena country and the rivers blow out. My go-to boat when exploring new areas because it is light enough (40 pounds) to use by myself and fits on the back of my truck tonneau cover with four straps. Allows for easy transport and incredibly efficient fishing.

9 Foot Sotar Custom Floorless raft with a Catchercraft Freestone Frame-same as the boat mentioned above except the boat was about three times as much as Jack's boat. The material is a bit heavier and stiffer but is bomb proof and I imagine it will last a lifetime. Generally doesn't see much use unless I take a friend and we pair it up. But performance is top notch.

8'8" Catchercraft Super Cub-This is a brand new model that we recently introduced-just a tad smaller than the Freestone, we designed a back pack that has separate carrying compartments for the frame and boat and allows a very nice, compact, fairly light boat to be stored into a single bag/backpack for easy transport. I plan on doing some ferry fishing later this summer with this boat.

Alpaca Packraft-Bought this from a fellow poster (Salmo G) a few years ago because I heard so many good things about them and the fact that it is so light and compact. I bought this for a few specific places in mind; no doubt it will fill a very specific niche when I have/make the time to make those ideas a reality.

Two 6 foot X-Stream Cutthroat pack boats-I bought one and liked it so much for alpine lake fishing that when another used one came on the market, I bought it too, since they had been discontinued. I'm guessing the whole thing weighs 15 or 20 pounds. You can use fins or the built-in aluminium oars. These boats get a lot of use for hiking into lakes a mile or so from your truck; they open so many opportunities. Great design by Sos, he still makes the soft goods for Catchercraft...great guy.

In looking at my boats, I see that I have three sets of two similar-styled boats. I suppose I acquired two of the same models for when going with friends so they can use the second. However, my kids never really got into fishing like I did and most of the time I fish alone, which just means I can fish as long as I want or leave when I want and don't have to share water. Maybe my wife will get into it more as the kids vacate the house. But then I need her to shuttle my vehicle. Guess I better keep the jet boat to take her along at times when a shuttle is not needed. :smile2:
 

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Had an Aire Super Duper Puma w/ NRS frame. Traded it for a Clacka 360 Eddy.The Eddy is much more pleasant for rowing and fishing. Buy a boat for the water you fish. I found that I didn't have a high tolerance for sketchy water, so the raft was not necessary. Drift boats are generally easier to row, but rafts are better in whitewater IMHO.
 

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With this Wooldridge Sport, our second Wooldridge, we no longer pay for a shuttle! We also get to go back upstream to the run that produced the day before.
I am trying to decide between the Sport and Alaskan. I agree with Tuna that you need the appropriate boat for the water you fish. I have a 10' outcast pontoon that works on the Ronde, but a jet opens up new water on the Clearwater (but rafts and drift boats work well too), and is just damn helpful on the Snake. But I certainly understand the problems people have with them, I have had encounters on the rivers I fish. I guess I see so many on the Clearwater and Snake that I just do not give it much thought, but those are big rivers.
 

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Since we already have drift boats, my sister and brother-in-law added this Super Puma to the family fleet. Re-rigged up the trailer today. It's a really nice boat for small water.
 

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I am trying to decide between the Sport and Alaskan. I agree with Tuna that you need the appropriate boat for the water you fish. I have a 10' outcast pontoon that works on the Ronde, but a jet opens up new water on the Clearwater (but rafts and drift boats work well too), and is just damn helpful on the Snake. But I certainly understand the problems people have with them, I have had encounters on the rivers I fish. I guess I see so many on the Clearwater and Snake that I just do not give it much thought, but those are big rivers.
Alaskan for skinny water...
 

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Here in Michigan most of the water on the Muskegon is not wadable. Most of our fishing is done from the boat. We work our way through the run by lifting and dropping a power winch anchor. Here.s my little pram that we built. Rob
 

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I'm way outclassed here. I have a prop motor boat for lakes but my river craft is an 8' pontoon that I've had since the early 90s. Here it is with 7 days worth of gear.
 

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Gets me fishin. skinny water - fat water, dont matter.
only real need is oars... going to make a set of composite one of these days.


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