Things you wouldn't to in a 17' Inflatable?
There are a number of things I'd like to do with my next boat, some I have done before, some I haven't. I've never owned an inflatable boat, but I understand that they are very capable and the price is very attractive to me. I'm considering getting a 17' inflatable with an aluminum floor and a 50 HP tiller, but I haven't decided yet. These are the things I'd like to do, and I'm looking for any input from experiences.
- Fish the Kenai, I've done this a hundred times and I think this will be no problem.
- Moose and bear hunt Tustamena and Skilak Lakes. I've been on Skilak numerous times and Tust a couple of times. I respect these lakes, but think I could get it done with this type of boat if I'm careful.
- Float the upper Kenai. I've done this a few times, but never in an inflatable.
- Halibut and king fish out of Deep Creek. My experience with this has been in a 38' commercial fishing vessel.
- Black bear hunt and camp out of Homer. Never done it.
- Black bear hung and camp out of Whittier. Never done it.
- Fish for silvers and explore out of Seward. Never done it.
- Moose hunt the Big Su. Never done it.
So, might it be possible to do all of these activities out of one boat? Am I headed in the right direction as far as the boat goes or is there something else I should consider?
Go for it
I've done all those things except for the Kenai. I've never had my boat there. Mine is a 16 footer with a 40 Yami jet and it's probably the best all around boat out there. Although, I'm seriously in the market for a 20-22 footer aluminum IB Jet so I an get farther out for fishing and hunting. I think inflatables are the way to go if you don't have to worry about being comfortable. 7 or 8 miles out of deep creek on a decent day is very possible and I do it all the time. The only thing I would recommend is a prop and jet combination. Jets are a little slow once the waves kick up.
Thanks for the input, any problems with water coming over the sides out in the inlet?
Does anybody make a 50 tiller with pull start anymore?
Not sure about a 50, but last summer I bought a 40 Yamaha pull start.
Originally Posted by tyrex13
i would feel comfortable doing all those but the float trip on the upper kenai only because ive never floated a river with an inflatable before. i understand the concept but would have to start out on a slower river to start. ive heard zodiacs called good for nothing but good at everything because they can accomplish just about anything but not usually in any kind of style. all trips would have to be planned accordingly of course and mother nature always dictates the final decision. there are many things id do in a 17 foot inflatable with maximum horespower that i wouldnt do in my current boat.
any of the above
Your 17' raft will do all that, but none as nice as a specialized boat. Just watch the head winds. It is not uncommon to have a raft lifted right over. I never did, but a friend did, and he said it was quick, as you have a huge surface area and little weight. Build/buy a rowing frame and float all you want; it will be very, very stable. Just be careful gaffing/harpooning halibut, and take along at least one pump, repair tape, and repair patches/glue. Bears will apparently chew the hell out of them, so watch that. I stayed in mine all night once when we got dry docked by a receding tide. Have fun.
I have an 11 foot zodiac that I two behind my boat. I fill it full of fuel tanks, sometimes the dog, and use it for a dink. It is setup with a 30hp johnson jet pump. I personally love it as it will go around 30 mph with a couple of guys pretty easily, is an ok riverboat, is an ok ocean boat, and like it is has been seen said, a good for nothing, but pretty good at everything all around type of boat. It does tow just fine even at speed which surprised me a bit. I personally love having the big boat on the hook and taking the little jet zodiac out to explore. Unlike other folks with inflatables, I just about go wherever I want as I will have be able to get back in just about any conditions. One thing for sure, you will want some really good rain gear as these boats are a wet ride.
Just bring a lot of gear
your boat won't be too light:-) with my 16' Achilles and my borrowed 18 Zodiac 2 kids, wife, 110lb lab , & gear for a week, it is very stable. As mentioned, float coats or rain gear. We wear neoprene waders as well. Quarter those big waves and keep weight up front if it is windy. Better yet, beach it if the waves are big and wind is blowing.
What do you mean by "big waves"? I am asking quite respectfully as I have little (read 50-60hrs logged) prior ocean experience and have a 15ft Zodiac Mk III HD on the way...my idea was to be an old captain some day by NOT being foolhardy with weather. I don't have much that is so important that it won't wait until the weather clears up. I'm interested in living and telling stories later on!
When you consider that the NAVY uses zodiac boats for rescue boats in the worst of crap, I would say that they will take some really big waves. Probably way bigger than you would want to be in. I don't know how big they will take exactly, but I did run Lochsa Falls that has a 15 foot drop witha 20 foot wave on the bottom of it several times in a 12 foot ryken river raft. That never did toss it over. You bet being a good captain has something to do with it. The things that these "pool" toys will do is shocking.
17' inflatable sport boat
I think the only thing I'd add to what's said here is if you plan to use this boat for drifting rivers or use in rivers in general make sure you have a heavy duty oar lock system or rowing frame and whitewater river rafting oars. The oars that come standard on most inflatable sport boats are not heavy duty enough for use in river currents.
Originally Posted by tyrex13
Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
The Toughest Bottoms in the Business,
River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks,
Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable Sport Boats,
Inflatable Jet Boats, Tenders and Dinghies.
Your inflatable choice is a great do it all boat for most of Alaska.
You just will not be comfortable doing it. These boats were all the rage 20 years ago and I used to own one as well. Maybe one of the safest boats to be in during bad weather. But they seriously lack fishing and storage space of any kind, most do not have any wind protection, and even fewer have any type of top installed. It can also be challenging pulling up an anchor off Deep Creek when the currents are ripping.
Great choice for a macho guy who can brave the elements. But if you have a family and want them to like what you do forget about it!
I had a 16' avon for my second boat. It was a nice change from my first boat being a 12' achillies. Both of them were in no means new but the 16' Avon was definately more comfortable and seemed very sturdy to me. The boat came with a 40hp motor that was propped and detuned to 35hp. I have never taken it in the salt but if i did im sure it would'nt seem unsafe. There are a few downsides to it that i learned i can live with out when i bought a 16' Lund (first aluminum boat).
1- Wet ride in windy weather.
2- Shrinkage when put in cold water.
3- Pumping up the boat after sitting for a while.
4- Air valves leaking slowly (some).
5- Amount of usable room for size of boat.
If these are things that you can live with to say a few, from my experience, you should be heading in the right direction on your choice.
Maybe the one you get does'nt have the air leakage issues (hope so) but there is always that possibility in the future.