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Thread: boat size for whittier

  1. #1

    Default boat size for whittier

    was wanting to know if u could get by running around in the protected waters around whittier with a 14 boat and a 25 hp or do i need something bigger i understand the wheather plays the biggest role i m not looking at running hours away from whittier just enough to get away from shore and fish and possible take me to some spots to hunt with less then normal pressure like the roads have

  2. #2
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default No

    Not this time of year and even during the summer it would be iffy.

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  3. #3
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    Common sense would prevail, weather is the key as you said. Since the tunnel opened, there's a lot of pressure out of Whittier for bear and at times felt like the road system. Your plan is ok for fishing not too far from Whittier but for hunting its iffy. We used a 20 foot boat with twin 40 horse motors and at times felt it wasn't enough.

  4. #4

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    MAYBE ok if the boat is an inflatable.

  5. #5
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Having been out of Whittier a 1/2 dozen times this year, most often the roughest water was from the harbor out for the first couple miles.

    I'd be hardpressed to recomend anything smaller than 20' for a solid hull and 16' for an inflatable. You're going to want to run 25-50 miles out to get into decent fishing and hunting. And in the time it takes to get that far out, things can stir up enough to get mighty uncomfortable.

    The boating season is mighty short to have a boat that will only match the water conditions a few times a year. More often then not you'll have spent your $20 to get through the tunnel, $10 to park and $20 to launch and decide well the conditions don't look that bad.

    Seriously, a too small boat out there at best really limits your options, and at worse will get you killed. Just because the waters are protected doesn't mean they can't get really rough. The mountain pass by whitter is lowest point in the chugach, and hence any pressure differential between the sound and sc results in winds whipping right down through there and stirring up the water.

  6. #6

    Default guess i need a bigger boat

    thanks for the info guys i guess i will be looking at getting a bigger boat any recomendations i will be driving back up from georgia as soon as my tour in iraq is over and it looks as though i can get a boat for about half the price in florida or georgia then that of one in alaska would a center console 21 foot proline work my dad is willing to sell me his for dirt cheap and it is fairly new

  7. #7
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    we used to go out in a 21 foot canoe (with9.8 hp) all the way to culross and sometimes to perry but we would allways triple check the weather and bring food and gear for extended stays on beaches. I mean there are a lot of people who Kayak in the sound you just have to watch the weather and use common sense. It all depends on your hull type and boat more than length. If you are using a flat bottom that won't cut waves and will just plow throwing lots of water on deck you could have problems even with a bigger boat, if you are using a v hull that throws water nicely, and has floatation chambers you can get away with a smaller boat, just be ready to get WET.

    The standard commercial fishing boats are 21 foot skiffs for setnetting and
    28 foot bowpickers for drifting, that should tell you a little something about what boats are good for the sound, minding that setnetters stay in one place that is fairly protected at all times and drifters go all over the place in various forms of marginal weather.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  8. #8
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Oh yea and all that dang boat traffic in passage canal makes for some absurdly rough waters on weekends
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  9. #9
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    I wouldn't see any issue using a boat like that in the salt water here. Having said that, after buying a boat with a top I personally would never go back to an open boat again. The weather can be cold and rainy yet the trip to and from is much more comfortable for the family and myself with a top. Once you start exploring the saltwater out of Whittier you will most likely find yourself going further and further. It's so hard to stay in close when there is so much to see. When I bought my boat I thought I would never buy another boat, well at least not for many years. Then I found the saltwater and suddenly my boat works but isn't the best choice for travel out there. I have been contemplating when will I get the new boat and what it will be. Its funny how these things work, buy something now then realize there is something better suited so you end up upgrading later. Of course when I bought my boat the idea was to travel more on the rivers and I have since changed direction.

  10. #10
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    You mention hunting, so you have to figure out how you plan to get to shore. Most beaches (as in almost every single one) in PWS are rocky, so either you need an aluminum skiff, or if you have a fiberglass boat you'll need a small inflatable to get to shore. We have big tides so even if you have a boat you can beach, you'd be better off anchoring your boat and getting to shore in an inflatable that is much easier to move down to the beach with an outgoing tide.

    So now that you have the inflatable, where are you going to store to inflatable? Yes in concept having the inflatable packed up and you iinflate it when you get to your destination sounds good, but sucks in practice.

    As AKbighorn mentioned, a cabin cruiser increases your comfort so much it is unimagineable going out in the sound in an open boat. Even in nice weather, the air temp is cold on the water, and you add 20 knots of wind it's down right chilly. Add some blowing spray and it's out and out nasty. Same conditions with a pilot house and you're wearing a t-shirt.

    A 22-24 foot cabin cruiser to me is the minimum practical boat for the sound for hunting and fishing. It's big enough to be out in average conditions and has the room the carry the gear you'll want to carry.

  11. #11
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    ahhh but with cabins you don't get the experiance of huge waves crashing over your bow and salt spray in your face! Fear can keep you out of trouble :P plus that salt spray makes you feel SO ALIVE
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  12. #12
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Personally I like the feel of an open boat. But, I did rent a 20' open skiff and ran out to Wells passage with my wife and a friend. This was the rare perfect summer day in the sound, completely clear sky, 70 degrees, glass calm water. Cruising at 22 knots my wife was bundled up with every piece of clothing she had.

    At that point I relized how much use I'd have for an open boat with the family, and how one typical trip with 2-4 footers and blowing spray would end my boating career post haste.

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