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Thread: Best solo pontoon boat for fly fishing rivers?

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    Default Best solo pontoon boat for fly fishing rivers?

    I've never owned or used a solo pontoon boat and I'm wondering which is the best to buy. I know a lot of you folks fish our rivers from one of these and wonder if you could point me in the right direction.

    Thanks!

    Jim

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Jim Jimmer you are suppose to be out doing Grouse Counts. That being said IMO you have two options if your looking to purchase Check out the Outcast they have basically the same deal as AIRE. If you looking to save weight check out Dave Scadden boats both are qaulity IMO that you may be looking for. You will however be spending a little more of your hard earned cash.

    Take care.

    BMR

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    Hey Moose you forgot the SOTAR "fish cat"??

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    Member Chris68's Avatar
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    Skookum Steelheader 10 ft. Stand up platform where you can sight fish. Very stable and class 5 rated.

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    Class V !!! Please post a link-- Have you ever run class V water??

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    Thanks for the tips everyone! And I think I'll stay away from the class V water, and the IV and stick with II and III!

    Mooseketeer, I'm not doing grouse drumming counts this year, although, I am looking for a local drummer to photograph!

    I'll Google up these boats and take a look-see. I've also been told the NRS GibBob might be a good way to go?

    Jim

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    I really like my Outcast Fishcat Cougar.
    Really well built raft. They don't make it any more but the Panther is it's closest replacement and is actually a foot longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goeaux View Post
    Class V !!! Please post a link-- Have you ever run class V water??

    I think this is the boat he was talking about. I don't see anything about class of water beyond it being "whitewater grade". I don't know the first thing about raft construction, design or materials but I imagine I could catch fish from any of the options mentioned.

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    I have liked the outcast boats very much and would say any of the models work. I like my butt out of the water more than what most of the cats are and have had good fun with my Power Drifter that Outcast makes. It's 11 ft double ended with a floor. I picked up a 9 ft cat made by outcast last year in a garage sale and the guy had it stored for years and never used it. He even moved it up here from down south. It came from Sportsmans W and was enough years ago that they had Outcast make their little cats but put their logo on them. Well all I can say is the boats that they are selling last year and now are still made by outcast for them but they are nothing alike. You can really tell they went over seas and cheeped them up a lot just to keep the price where average Joes wife will still let him spend that much on a fishing toy. Spend the money to get a 9 ft or better boat or just keep your eye on Craigs as they are always being resold. I think for some the dream of how great it would be to float down a river verses what it really is like makes some people resell them pretty fast. I say get one they are a lot of fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris68 View Post
    Skookum Steelheader 10 ft. Stand up platform where you can sight fish. Very stable and class 5 rated.

    I love little cat's. First owned a 12ft and now a 12'6". But I don't think I'd do any class V in a 10 ft boat, too short imo.

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    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Mr. McCann, I'm no expert about fishing pontoons, but I own a nine-footer that you'd be welcome to take for a spin sometime soon. You might find that the longer/bigger models are heavier than you want to carry very far. I had good intentions of using mine as a pack-cat (is that a real term?), but I've never been able to fold it up tight enough to make it easy to carry.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim McCann View Post
    I've never owned or used a solo pontoon boat and I'm wondering which is the best to buy. I know a lot of you folks fish our rivers from one of these and wonder if you could point me in the right direction.

    Thanks!

    Jim
    Hello Jim,

    As you may be already discovering... lots of options, opinions, variety of uses, and no real 'best' 1-person cat. Some are reputable quality, several selections are reasonable mid-tier good, while some plainly just get the one-time to occasional boater on-water.

    For good measure... let us know what types of steams you'll be on regarding character, classification, access, and transportation? What features are of most importance like rugged construction dependability or simplicity to all the frills, or length, or draft, or overall expenditure, etc?

    While some people want good enough at a price-point to get a taste --- others go for the best quality no matter what it takes. Unfortunately, lots of wiggle room in between and lots of posers promising to hyping the extreme from little boats of various constructions.

    As a side note: Please use good judgement, caution, and error toward staying conservative using these little boats on more demanding white-water or big-water.



    To name a few:
    Oucast Pac 9000 (good Quad-tube) (a little wet) (best draft per tube length) (can do multi-day solo)
    Outcast Pac 1100 HD (no longer made) closest is the FS (4-chambers) can run very demanding whitewater and big-water
    (can do multi-day solo)

    More of course out there like Jacks Fat Pack Cat, SOTAR custom, Fishcat Quad-tube Panther (one 'best choice' of the less expensive).... majority of the rest are very average to poorly made.

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    Skinny,

    Thank you for your generous offer. I might just take you up on that. What kind of boat do you have?


    Brian,

    I suspect I'd mostly be floating the Chena River is all, and maybe the Delta Clearwater? But I would entertain doing the lower Gulkana, and I see here on this site photos of guys using such boats on some of the Parks Highway streams. I'm an old river rafter from way back and I don't plan on taking on any heavy water, that's for sure. Not as young as I used to be and nowhere near as crazy. I just like to fly fish in solitude. I'm looking for quality and durability, and at this point in my life I can say that price doesn't matter. It's not a gift for someone else; it's for me!

    Thanks everyone for your input. So far it sounds like an Outcast model keeps coming up high on the list. Anyone know where a fellow could get one?

    Jim

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    Check out the SOTAR fish cats-- sotar.com or give Brian a call at 250-2271 and ask him what he would buy--

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim McCann View Post
    Skinny,


    Thanks everyone for your input. So far it sounds like an Outcast model keeps coming up high on the list. Anyone know where a fellow could get one?

    Jim
    I got my Fishcat Cougar at World Wide Angler.
    I got Keith to order it in for me and he gave me a decent deal too.

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    Again prefacing this by saying I'm no expert, it seems like the lower Gulkana and the upper Chena would at least suggest if not require the use of different catarafts. I'm not sure I'd take mine on the Gulkana if I had much of a load at all as I find it difficult to maneuver in a current. Even in the Chena it's easy to drift a lot faster than you want to in a cataraft, in my opinion. As far as safety goes, the smaller model seems fine for the Chena, Chatanika, or Birch Creek - but again, I'd hesitate about loading it down....
    And it's a Trout Unlimited boat - readily available on Craigslist for a couple hundred dollars - or as local member Richardson calls it, something that gets the occasional boater on the water.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


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    Hello Jim,

    Here's my thinking... w/ regards to knowing more about what you will use it for, in what conditions mostly, some of your past days rafting, future rafting, etc.

    Yes - the Outcast company (essentially smaller lighter versions of AIRE catarafts) make very good tubes. The bladder's are unsupported urethane film material good for air retention while the outside is a very nice grade of PVC coating a supported base cloth acting as its armor. I'm not just telling you a sales pitch and have sold several models... they are very good tubes. What I'm a bit concerned with as of late is the one-size fits all approach to their frame builds. For example... I liked the Pac 1100 HD 4-chamber cat and near perfect for Alaska Frame it once 'had'. Now it's just the same ol' foot-peddle option for all the boats, and in my opinion this is too bad --- read as not the best trend we are seeing. I get the reasoning and have spoken directly with the Outcast Owner on this, but it's a cost cutting issue vs. end user. One chief reason to go here (often praised as well as overlooked/misinterpreted) is the all in one deal, but note things like lesser frame quality, frame components, and many include bargain basement oars and locks despite the good tubes.

    Couple excellent offerings going to be from Jacks Plastic Welding... I've done early product testing on the Fat-Pack Cat back in the '90's (that can be used as a kayak paddle cat & with a small row-frame). Don't overlook this boat or the Cutthroat 1.

    If top quality is what you are about... highly consider going with an 11' SOTAR SL asymmetrical or and 11' Legend cat tubes. We can talk the frames, oars, etc. if ya like should you go this route. When going this way, you get the best (by far).... 'best' meaning most durable, dependable, nicest handling/performance, highly capable, and exceptionally versatile custom boat --- you'll also find it's one of the lightest and simplest of combinations.

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Jim

    There is nothing wrong with the SOTAR option being mentioned it is a qaulity boat there is not doubt of that at all. If you going to spend your hard earned money it should be a consideration. If you are going to go that big also consider the PAC 1100 from Outcast as well. With all things there are associated cost as you know being a prior Gulkana guy who use to run an operation.

    Best of luck with your choice.


    BMR

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    Jim, What boat did you decide on? I have a buddy who is trying to talk me into buying one. I've never been on one and have only gone rafting as a passenger a few times. I'm going to try out a borrowed one on a lake.

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    WDG get with Tim at www.akduckhunts.com he is in Valdez orginally from East Coast spent some time hanging out in NY going to school in the North East Side of the state he will have some decent insight for you concerning your quesiton as well.

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