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Thread: sea worthy rafts or small boats

  1. #1
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    Default sea worthy rafts or small boats

    Wanted to take a large raft or other boat out halibut fishing near the shore in areas like whiskey gulch, kasilof, or kenai. I'm looking for any suggestions, as I want it to be easy to launch, yet durable and hopefully somehow hold at least 3 people. I was also considering a drift boat - I know of one with ores/seats/aluminum box/rod holders/ect. Is it a bad idea to take a drift boat out? I didn't like relying on ores, vs the power of the tide, so was wondering if I could someone put on a little motor or something? I've seen people out there in little John boats, but I don't know much about ocean boating yet. Any suggestions
    thanks, AKFishfight

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I would advise against a "raft" and a drift boat. Neither are designed for the conditions you'll find in lower Cook Inlet; strong current, wind and sometimes heavy chop. Sure, there are mornings out there when it's like glass. But a raft or a drift boat will get blown all over the place down there, and be nearly impossible to control. There are situations where you will simply be blown away from shore no matter how hard you row, and even a small outboard isn't going to cut it out there. VERY DANGEROUS!

    Your best bet is to go with a vee-hull boat with a real outboard on it. Something that can handle rough water.

    I would be very careful doing what you may have seen someone else do down there. There are lots of folks who try things and end up in trouble. You've got to respect the Inlet or it can kill you.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member LOCALAK907's Avatar
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    Member LOCALAK907's Avatar
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    Also I agree with Mike. Get the right safety equipment, local area Knowledge, and a worthy craft before attempting an outing in this area. The water can get nasty out there!

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    Thanks for the info Mike. I wouldn't ever be going out far at all, just enough to get next to the river channel where it drops off, or along whiskey gulch. I hear of people going out and getting halibut with a kayak, but that's a little on the edge for me. Plus I like the fact that I could have an anchor... I wouldn't be going out on any chop what--so ever, I check forecasts too, but no wind comes up spur of the moment. Thank you very much for the warning, I really appreciate it, and understand what you're talking about. I'll most definitely keep this in mind. ...That the one individual claiming he took his raft 10 miles out in the inlet may have been extremely adventurous. and even hearing that, I'd never consider it without a larger boat motor, and back up motor. I've done some research and was thinking of a Gary King ocean raft, I've seen a lot of them at the Kasilof mouth at dipnetting. I now know the driftboat isn't a good option... thanks again, AKFishfight

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    I would advise against a "raft" and a drift boat. Neither are designed for the conditions you'll find in lower Cook Inlet; strong current, wind and sometimes heavy chop. Sure, there are mornings out there when it's like glass. But a raft or a drift boat will get blown all over the place down there, and be nearly impossible to control. There are situations where you will simply be blown away from shore no matter how hard you row, and even a small outboard isn't going to cut it out there. VERY DANGEROUS!

    Your best bet is to go with a vee-hull boat with a real outboard on it. Something that can handle rough water.

    I would be very careful doing what you may have seen someone else do down there. There are lots of folks who try things and end up in trouble. You've got to respect the Inlet or it can kill you.

    -Mike

  6. #6
    Member cod's Avatar
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    On the other hand.... I know of a few hardy individuals that watch the weather and launch their river drift boat off the beach with regularity, both WITH motor OR without, and do quite well on the butts just offshore.
    I've seen enough small (10 ft even) Zodiaks going out ten miles with 3 people aboard and a 10 to 25 horse power motor powering it to know that IT can be done. It just depends on ones comfort level and knowledge.
    I feel safe as can be in my 15.5 ft Achilles out there.
    I might add however, there are certainly a lot of dangerous situations one needs to learn about that can really get u in trouble. (!!!).
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  7. #7
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I should mention that when I read your post I keyed in to the word "raft" and pictured you bobbing around Cook Inlet in a whitewater round boat. Clearly a sport boat could do the job. The biggest safety concern you have with those is getting blown over in a headwind. You come up on a wave, the bow rises to the crest, and the wind catches the bow like a sail. If you're traveling solo, most of the weight is going to be aft, and it's fairly easy to get blown over if you're not careful.

    Your comment about not knowing much about ocean boating has me somewhat concerned. You might want to consider Seward for a while, until you get your sea legs. It's a little more forgiving.

    Best of luck!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  8. #8
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I too know some guys who go out in river drift boats and catch butts. Like COD said they go out a short ways maybe 1/2 mile or so and do quite well at times.
    I think the key thing is not the boat but the operator. The ones I know are people with many many years of boating experience both freshwater and saltwater.
    They know to watch the weather and the signs that tell them when to head in. They also know if they are caught in some bad weather they know what to do and how to handle the boat to get in quickly.
    I have some friends like that who grew up commercial fishing around Kodiak. Small boat rough seas no problem been there done that and they will tell you the stories. Running sein skiffs in all kinds of nasty seas.
    So while it can be done it is best to get a little experience under your belt before attempting it. That being said it is not a completly rediculous notion.
    BTW have you considered buying some surfcast rods and catching a few halibut off the beach? It seems this is becoming more and more popular in AK these days.
    "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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