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Thread: drift boat ?

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    Default drift boat ?

    Anyone with experience care to comment on any handling differences between the various manufactures of aluminum drift boats (Willie, Fish Rite, Alumaweld, etc.), I'm in the market for a used boat (never owned one - but have some experience with a rented Willie).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Anyone with experience care to comment on any handling differences between the various manufactures of aluminum drift boats (Willie, Fish Rite, Alumaweld, etc.), I'm in the market for a used boat (never owned one - but have some experience with a rented Willie).
    I own a Willie 17x60. Sweet boat and I have zero complaints. I've also rowed a fishrite of the same size quite a bit. There isn't a significant noticeable difference between the two when it comes to handling that I've noticed, except I do think fishrite is easier to row/manuever, and I really do like some of the features that fishrite has over my willie. Namely, a walk around rowers seat, plumbed heating, diamond plate flooring, and slots in the transom for easy motor centering and slip prevention. Most of these features can be had in a willies, but my boat does not have them and I really wish it did. Some other important things to look for in a used drift boat are the oars. High quality composite oars are key to moving/holding the boat and not breaking your back doing so. Another thing you want, especially if you live some distance from the river you intend to use it on primarily, is the trailer. A high quality welded trailer is often overlooked as a key component to a drift boat package. Another item that my boat didn't come with and that I still haven't forked out the cash for is a cover. I sure wish I had one, and they are not cheap.

    I hope this helps and if you have more specific questions, fire away.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    Hey Gary,

    They all pretty much handle more or less the same. What really sets them a part is the bells and whistles. There is something to be said for things that make your day easier. I would add that teflon is also a good idea, and like Dan said pay attention to the oars.

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    sportsman show is coming up April good prices I think an if you but the floor modle it is even better I know SID

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid View Post
    sportsman show is coming up April good prices I think an if you but the floor modle it is even better I know SID
    The only driftboats I've seen at the sportsman show in the last few years is Pavati, and they don't offer any boats for under $14K. Even the floor model.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    I've rowed many different brands over the last few decades such as Hyde, Clacka, Pavati, Yellowstone Drifter, Willie, FishRite, Alumaweld and some others. They ALL have there pro & cons. Alumawelds aka Alumabricks are very stout, but also very heavy and not as easy to maneuver. Pavati makes a nice boat, but dang they are expensive and a little slower with a kicker than other boats. I love wooden drift boats, but they are a labor of love i.e. constant upkeep. Clacka Crafts sit too low in the water for my preference.Willies and Fish Rites have nice layouts and are easy to maneuver unless you are in a 20 ft Willies. There's tons of room, but don't plan on making any quick maneuvers. Most of the FishRites I've rowed were 17 footers and they were a piece of cake to row in the Upper Kenai, Canyon, and Middle River, Kasilof etc. When running a 17 foot FishRite with a kicker, the boat chugged along at a pretty good speed. As mentioned, diamond plate flooring, heaters, composite oars, quality trailer, and a boat cover are other things to look for when purchasing a drift boat. I'm also a fan of the walk around rowers seat. I wish my boat had one
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenaibow fan View Post
    Hey Gary,

    They all pretty much handle more or less the same. What really sets them a part is the bells and whistles. There is something to be said for things that make your day easier. I would add that teflon is also a good idea, and like Dan said pay attention to the oars.
    They really don't all handle the same. Alumaweld, diamondback, and other lesser known manufacturers hull designs, rocker, and general design are very different than say a fishrite or willies. These companies have been making aluminum drift boats in the PNW for a long time. I'd take a stripped down willie or fishrite any day over a pimped out alumaweld.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannerAK View Post
    The only driftboats I've seen at the sportsman show in the last few years is Pavati, and they don't offer any boats for under $14K. Even the floor model.
    Pavati and Clacka. My friend paid $17K for his Pavati
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Thanks for all the info. Very helpful. Saw a Pavati advertised on Craig's List the other day - 14K for one a couple years old. Scared me so bad, I stayed off CL for a day & a half.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannerAK View Post
    The only driftboats I've seen at the sportsman show in the last few years is Pavati, and they don't offer any boats for under $14K. Even the floor model.
    And in my humble opinion they don't handle like a 14k boat should.

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    I lived in Southern Oregon for most of my life.
    I've been through every boat factory there at one time or another.
    I personally believe willie row the easiest, but feel fish-rite hold up better.
    I'm a big fan of a welded gunnel though.
    At the moment I own a fish-rite, which funny enough happens to be the very first boat I got in "94".
    I've been through hell and back in that thing and she's bounced off rocks in 5 different states.
    I would stay away from anything with a 48" bottom (there's still a few out there)
    Up here there isn't much maneuvering that has to be done and no real tight spots to drop into. I would think you would do just fine with a 17x54 or a 17x60.
    The 17's row just a little better with a kicker then the 16's do. But I doubt you'd notice it if you had not owned both.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    I have rowed many and as others have stated. It comes down to bells and whistles. I ended up buying a 16' Clacka a few years ago. I love it. It handles great and is the perfect size for the wife and I. I upgraded my oars at the purchase and with the trailor I paid are 11,500 a few years back. Boats are like woman. No two are alike and no matter what. They cost money. Good luck in your search
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    I have rowed many and as others have stated. It comes down to bells and whistles. I ended up buying a 16' Clacka a few years ago. I love it. It handles great and is the perfect size for the wife and I. I upgraded my oars at the purchase and with the trailor I paid are 11,500 a few years back. Boats are like woman. No two are alike and no matter what. They cost money. Good luck in your search
    Great spot to be anchored up, Chuck!
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    Thanks for the replies. I picked up a 2011 Fish Rite, this week.
    Can spring be far behind? Sure hope not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I picked up a 2011 Fish Rite, this week.
    Can spring be far behind? Sure hope not.
    Good for you! How's the trailer, oars, and other accessories? What size Fish Rite?
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I picked up a 2011 Fish Rite, this week.
    Can spring be far behind? Sure hope not.
    I've seen success in April by both motorized and non motorized drift boats in the lower inlet for halibut. That's next month!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    Good for you! How's the trailer, oars, and other accessories? What size Fish Rite?
    Its a 16 footer (advertised as 17', but I didn't measure it before I got it. No buyer's remorse.) Trailer is in great shape. Came w/2 sets of oars - 1 wood & 1 Sawyer composites. It has the heater, rod holders, 30 lb anchor & 2 seats in front. Looking forward to giving it a work out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kardinal_84 View Post
    I've seen success in April by both motorized and non motorized drift boats in the lower inlet for halibut. That's next month!!!!

    http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-o0..._7084725_n.jpg




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    Thanks for the heads-up. Something to consider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Its a 16 footer (advertised as 17', but I didn't measure it before I got it. No buyer's remorse.) Trailer is in great shape. Came w/2 sets of oars - 1 wood & 1 Sawyer composites. It has the heater, rod holders, 30 lb anchor & 2 seats in front. Looking forward to giving it a work out.
    Drift boats are funny that way.
    A 16' is really a 15'4"
    And a 17' is a 16'4" and I have no clue why they do that!
    Your new boat has a 54" bottom?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishcatcher541 View Post
    Drift boats are funny that way.
    A 16' is really a 15'4"
    And a 17' is a 16'4" and I have no clue why they do that!
    Your new boat has a 54" bottom?
    The reason is because the measurement for advertised length of driftboats is taken along the gunnel. So a boat with a straight line measurement of roughly 16' will have a gunnel length of around 17', thus being called a 17' boat. The bottom measurement should be taken along the bottom at its widest point. I just put a tape straight from the stern to the bow on my 17x60 willie and it is exactly 16'.

    Gary, I'm assuming you got a title or some paperwork with the boat from the manufacturer. Does it state the measurements in the paperwork?
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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