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Thread: Best Boat for Kenai (lower) River and Saltwater Fishing???

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    Default Best Boat for Kenai (lower) River and Saltwater Fishing???

    I'm wondering if you guys in the know might be able to make some suggestions as to a good multi-purpose rig. We do most of our fishing on the lower/middle Kenai (max 50 HP.) but would like a boat that is capable of getting safely out onto the salt water out of Homer and Seward to fish for silvers/kings/halibut/rockfish as well. Owning a dedicated saltwater boat just isn't in the cards right now.

    So, (keeping in mind the 50 hp max restriction) if you could choose any boat for this purpose what would it be?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I am not a boat expert by any means, but I pondered the same issue a couple years ago and was intrigued by the Hewescraft Sportsman. It seemed like a decent compromise boat - enough V for the salt, but not so much that I would be hating life around sandbars.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    First off there is no perfect boat that will excell in the river and the saltwater. You will be compromising on one or the other to some extent.
    That being said my dad has a 20' Lund Alaskan that is a good compromise. He did have a custom canvas bow cover made at Nomar in Homer to keep water out of the bow should the need arise in rough weather.
    Be careful and pick your days on the saltwater carefully. Do not take chances and know the limits of your boats and your own boating skills.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    I definitely realize that there is no perfect boat for both, I am just looking for suggestions of what you guys would buy if faced with the same situation.

    We currently fish out of an Alumaweld Stryker that I believe is about 17.5 feet long. It seems like a reasonable compromise but seems like it could be a few feet longer and a little higher sided and still run well with the 50 hp. motor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I am not a boat expert by any means, but I pondered the same issue a couple years ago and was intrigued by the Hewescraft Sportsman. It seemed like a decent compromise boat - enough V for the salt, but not so much that I would be hating life around sandbars.
    There's a guy running one of these in Juneau......looks like a solid rig, handled a chop and cruise ship wakes pretty well......but I'll keep my hard top.

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    The Hewescraft 18 Sportsman looks pretty much exactly like the alumaweld stryker that we are fishing now, I'm wondering if there are some larger boats out there that still perform OK with the 50 hp limitation?

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I think a 20 foot, 84" beam, 30" sides, with twin 50's, you would only run one when on the river and both in the salt. I would not go out on the salt without either a kicker or twins. I had the above boat custom built, less the extra 50 as I only needed a kicker on the river. I would have no problem going into Katchamack Bay with my boat. It is better to have a bow cover to shed the water, or choose your days, and come in early before the afternoon winds come up.

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    Member AK Fishkiller's Avatar
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    I owned a 20 foot sportsman with a 50 and I loved it in the kenai, and in the salt, would recommend it for sure!!
    It's better to burn out than fade away.....

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    I had a 18 foot Klamath with 50 HP 4 stroke and it did wonderful on the Kenai, Cook Inlet, Seward and Valdez.

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    I have an older (1996) alumaweld 20' center console with a 50hp motor on the Kenai. It does OK, but not great, especially when you put 6 people in it with gear. I think a 20 ft is as big as you would want to go with a 50hp motor. On a side note, the Kenai Penn Borough will charge you a $50 tax on a boat 20' or more stored down there year round. Not much money, but it has always bugged me that they charge me this for leaving my boat at my place down there.

    I have ridden in a Stryker in the salt before, and it works and is safe, but by no means is a plush ride.
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    Member cormit's Avatar
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    Had orders for two Kenai River sleds one year ..... early 90's .... for a couple of river guide friends and decided to build three while I was cutting parts. These were extremely similar to a Predator. So similar that Willie showed up at my shop one day and complimented me on the nice job I did copying his boat. He wasn't mad ..... and I was glad ..... and after that, he used to stop by often. I kept the third boat for myself and enjoyed it for years before moving up to something bigger. 35 was the HP at the time and the boat was plenty zippy with four people. I used it a lot on Tustumena Lake ...... Kachemak Bay and trolled for kings off Deep Creek. Always felt safe in that "Predator" and the six foot bottom made a great fishing platform. Unfortunately buying even a used Predator is fairly spendy. Good luck.

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    If you can find one, a 20' Koffler Bay Bee is a good boat. I recently picked one up, and it's been great so far.

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    i had a 20 ft koffler bay bee w 50 yamaha it was great for salt and river very stable handle ruff water great reason i sold it was to go up to a 26 ft koffler

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    There's a guy running one of these in Juneau......looks like a solid rig, handled a chop and cruise ship wakes pretty well......but I'll keep my hard top.
    We had an older Hewescraft 18' River Runner for several years. It served us well running the Big Su, Yentna, etc, and we also used it to troll Resurrection Bay for Coho quite successfully.. And we had some choice spots in Kachemak Bay to get a couple Halibut for the freezer. Unfortunately I eventually shot myself in the foot selling it and replacing it with a flat bottomed SeaArk that does NOT function worth a darn in saltwater, with any kind of a breeze.

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