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Thread: What kind of boat for southeast hunting?

  1. #1

    Default What kind of boat for southeast hunting?

    I just found out that I'm moving to Sitka but I've never been there before. I was wondering if I could ask for some advice on what kind of boat is needed for hunting in this area? I have some experience boating but never in this area and my experience is limited to mostly freshwater and hunting from a friends boat near Homer.

    So what should I be looking for? Inboard, outboard? aluminum, glass? Size, HP?

    What would be the minimum length in you opinion for these waters? I can afford to stay home if the weather is bad but I still want to try and be safe out there, and not get tossed around too much.

    This would purely be a Hunting/Trapping boat. Not saying I wont fish here and there but that isn't what I want the boat for.

    Thanks for your help. I know this is a very vague question but I don't have a bunch of experience in personal water craft, and i'm sure I will have more specific questions as time goes on.

  2. #2
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    There is no perfect boat, so it will be better to define your mission a little more and then factor in budgeting for money as well as time. My advice would be to link up with folks once you get into Sitka and see how things are done. I've been in AK over 20 years and in SE AK for just over 2. I have a 32' Bayliner with twin diesels. We hunt, fish and just cruise around on it. Depending on the type of hunting and areas I hunt I may tow a skiff or use a Zodiac to get back and forth. My boat sleeps six, has a full galley and head with shower (hot water on a boat is awesome) and has a covered cockpit. Really comfortable, but really slow. A smaller faster boat would definitely have advantages at times and could be more convenient. At some point I may look for an aluminum skiff in the 20' range with lots of deck space to add to my "fleet," just to be more versatile. It all depends on what you like and what works for you.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Roscoe's point is a good one in that what you need will be in part determined by your priorities. Fast, relatively small yet tough aluminum skiffs work well for a lot of folks. That said, if you have time, having something larger and more comfortable can be excellent if you have the time to move more slowly. I don't mind traveling at 8 kts in Prince William Sound in the summer, since as a teacher I've got all the time in the world in June and July. Come fall, though, it would be nice to be able to get to my hunting locales in far less time.

    I've only hunted Sitka once and then only for a single day, but my host had a small aluminum skiff that moved along quickly. It was an ideal platform for what we were doing - starting from town before dark, on the beach at first light, and back home for a nice dinner and warm bed that night. I'd probably start there if I were to make the move myself, though a larger boat sure would be sweet given the time and resources.

    The advice given in the previous post is sage - get there first, see what the locals use, then shop.

  4. #4
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    On a side note, get yourself in the best shape you can. Baranof Island is no joke - there are some seriously steep mountains there, and success will likely come more easily and consistently if you're able to own the mountaintops. That goes for deer as well as goats. In my limited glimpse, it seems that opportunity abounds for those prepared to go after it.

  5. #5
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    A small kicker motor can save the day and don't forget oars. Learn how to anchor up with the tides you will have. With the economy the way it is there are a bunch of nice boats to fit your needs for sale at very very good prices in the SE.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  6. #6

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    Thanks! Makes sense. I didn't think about the handiness of a smaller boat, I was thinking bigger is better if you can afford it. I'm mostly interested in day trips and the occasional over niter. I like the advice of waiting till I'm there to chose a boat but I was thinking I could get one here cheaper and bring it with me. Might not save me much though after pulling it and putting it on the ferry though, and defiantly wont if i buy the wrong kind of boat.

    Am I way off course thinking that an 18' aluminium boat will get me out there safely in these waters on most days? I know that there are many things that decide how a boat handles the water but Homer is well protected and I don't want to use my experience there to make decisions for Sitka.

    Thanks for your help! I know my questions are very basic but I'm trying to make sure I do things right and stay safe. Thanks for bearing with me.

  7. #7
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    Been lots of places in boats in the 18 foot range. Be careful, watch the weather and stay well within your limitations. Plenty of boats down here for sale so finding one should not be too much of a problem. One thing to watch for down here are narrow passages, especially where they meet other narrow passages. Conflicting winds and tides can really stir the water up.

    I consider my 32' perfect for day trips and occassional trips up to a few days long, especially with the family or a couple of friends. It burns about 6.5 gph and cruises 8-10 kts in any weather I care to go out in. Smaller boats are easier to handle, trailerable, and really convenient if you're just going out for a few hours or a quick trip to check the crab pots. Again, it's all about what you want to do.

  8. #8
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    I am born and raised in Juneau (next town over). I have spent a lot of time in Sitka. IF you are trapping for $$$ you need to keep your expenses down. I know a few people who do it. Sitka has both outside (exposed ocean) and inside waters. As always 2 boats is the recommendation. But for pure trapping and hunting a 16' -18' open skiff with a 30-50hp and a 2-4hp kicker is what you want (for backup). I high sided model like the Crestliner Sportsman is a favorite. I know a few trappers who run 14'ers with 25hp motors. It is all about keeping the expenses low. Another thing to consider is light enough because the tides rise and fall so quickly that you can easily find your boat has run dry when just running up the beach to check a set (carry a set of PVC pipe for rollers/sliders). I also belive a pull start motor w/o a battery is key. For kicker light weight is great, but for spending any real time running on the kicker the smallest two cylinder is preferred.

    There are people who say a 18' Hewescraft or similar is what you want but in reality for hoping to and from the beach all the time a grounded 18' SeaRunner (or similar isn't going anywhere).

    Another Sitka setup is a larger 18'-28' aluminum landing craft (like a Munson or local built).

    Sitka is a hardcore place, but awesome if you get to spend all your time outside (in all weather). I hunt and trap out of my boat and the season is Nov-mid Feb (except beavers which run much later). For heavy driving snow an open skiff with ski goggles is the ticket for best visibility.

    You should talk budget to us...

    Sobie2

  9. #9

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    Since fishing is not your main goal, the biggest aspect of your boating experience in Sitka is going to be the boat/shore interface.

    As mentioned, a small boat that you can push back into the water is a good idea. But frankly, most folks run boats a bit too big to do that very often. Better to concentrate on tides and 'indian anchoring' techniques. I like the "Anchor Buddy" bungies for getting my boat back into deep water after getting out on shore. But that has problems too, like broken bungies and not enough stretch to get the boat out far enough.

    BTW, here's what I've been using for about 10 years...



    It's ideal for getting ashore, and getting stuff ashore. Not so great for fishing out beyond Cape Edgecumbe though.

    I'm going to sell it soon because I want more cabin space. I also want that cabin space a bit farther away from the engine, as it can get a bit loud back there. I'm looking at a Hewescraft Alaskan, or any other manufactures that make a similar boat. I feel that easy access to the bow is important in a hunting boat. The landing craft/drop bow is king in that category, but anything with a walk-through windshield and a small area in the bow is pretty handy too. My friends have this boat...



    ...and it works great.

    Post back here when you get to Sitka and make a choice.

  10. #10

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    19-22ft, aluminum, 4 stroke power.

  11. #11
    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    I believe a lot will depend on how far away from Sitka you want to travel and how much time you will be able to alot to your excursions. If you plan mostly day trips around Sitka, a smaller quick boat easy to beach, etc would be great. If you want to be able to range out further in the SE, a boat more comfortable for living aboard for several days or a week or so may be your best bet and a good zodiak for those shore trips to go with it. It is just going to depend on what you want to do. The more money you want to spend, the faster you will be able to go with the big boat, so that has to be considered also. Bud
    Wasilla

  12. #12
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    I think you need one of these plus a dingy for going ashore. I do agree with the advice of getting there are seeing what you end up doing. You may find that you want a boat that you can get out and explore further than you think. It is certainly a great area with lots of opportunity.
    2009 Seawolf 31'
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