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Thread: looking for the best drift boat

  1. #1
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    Default looking for the best drift boat

    I am searching for a drift boat for the Kenai. There are a couple of options out there. I am curious what the best boat is for usage, build, warranty, ease to row, and cost. I am looking for the best bang for the buck.

    My current options are the fish rite, the koffler, and the klackercraft, and whatever else is comes up for sale.

    I am open to all input on what the best is.

    Thanks
    Kdog

  2. #2

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    I have a willie that I have enjoyed. The fish rites are nice boats. No experience with the other brands.

    The one major thing to consider is the size, how many people will you be taking out? If you are only going to be fishing with 1 or 2 others, a 16-17' would be ideal. If you are looking at more than 2 I would consider a 20-21' boat. Look into the wider boats as tehy are a little more stable than the normal size.

    Good luck in the search.

  3. #3
    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    Default

    http://www.clacka.com/ Has a pretty cool promotional DVD. I don't have one of their boats, but "One of these days..."

  4. #4
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    if you don't have a raft yet get a raft first...

    If you do have a raft

    Check out hyde boats they look pretty slick
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default Raft vs. Drift Boat

    Sorry, but I've got to agree with monkey. Get a raft or cataraft. They're tough as hell, versatile and many have a great warranty. Aire's rafts and cats have a 10-year warranty. Even if you buy one used, the warranty follows it (by serial #). And when you're tired of floating the Kenai (although I'll never get sick of it), you can break it down, stick it in a plane and do a remote float. Let's see ya do that with a conventional drift boat. And no, I don't sell rafts, I'm just a fan.

  6. #6

    Default What

    With all due respect the person is looking for a drift boat for the Kenai. Which is clearly THE boat for that river. If I were looking for a drift boat I would try to find a 18-20' Willie or FishRite. Since your already limited to the rivers you can use it on might as well go big once and be done with it, I see lots of guys end up selling their smaller drifters to upgrade bigger. Good luck.
    Last edited by whitepalm; 05-01-2008 at 23:49. Reason: more

  7. #7
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Why limit yourself to one fishery by your choice of watercraft though? A raft is fine for the kenai and can be used in like more than 3 places in this state... Just saying get a raft before you get a drifter...
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  8. #8

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    This is the one I want. I have spent some time in aluminum, wood and fiberglass boats, and think this might be the perfect material. Basically, the same stuff whitewater kayaks are made of, and they are as near to indestructible as you can get.

    I like wood except for the upkeep. I like the little up-keep on aluminum boats, except they are noisy as a heavy metal band and weigh a ton and seem to magnify the heat or the cold. As for fiberglass, I just can't convince myself they can take a beating without getting into that gelcoat. Hyde and Clackacraft do seem to offer pretty good warranties, though.


    http://www.boulderboatworks.com/

    The drawback to this one is the cost and getting it up here.

    I agree with the driftboat over the raft- rafts are fine, but for a hardcore fishing boat driftboats stay dry, are easier to land fish from, have alot less stuff to grab flyline and row better.

    Doug

  9. #9
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    Default River Wolf.

    The Alaskan Sidedrifter made by River Wolf should be at the top of the list lots and lots of options. The 18.6 X 60 would make a great Kenai Boat.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2004_0820ALASKANSIDEDRIFTER0037.jpg  

  10. #10

    Default Raft vs. Drift Boat.

    I had a Koffler Drift boat for many years and loved it very much. But that was in the lower 48 and had endless streams to take it. Up here we are able to take our raft so many more places than we could our D. boat. If you plan only going to the Kenai/Kasilof then the Drift boat may be a good choice.

  11. #11

    Default Riverwolf

    Them River Wolves do look good, never been in one but would like to.

  12. #12
    Member wildwill's Avatar
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    Default Willie all the Way!

    Go for a Willie drifter. For the Kenai none better for several reasons. First, the aluminum drifters are what the vast, vast majority of folks use, guides and sportsman alike. They do not rust, break down and are easy to fix if you actually damage one. There are a number of quality aluminum welders on the KPen. Should you ever actually ever tear one up, they can easily fix it--and quick. If you tear up a fiberglass boat--what are you going to do. I know a couple of the mfg.s out there have great warranties, and if I lived down the road from one, that would be perfect. But shipping is what counts here, and down time. If my boat needs repair, I want it fixed yesteryday if its fishing season, which is 9-10 mo's out fo the year with a drifter on the Kenai.

    I say Willie as I am prejudiced. I have one, a 2003 18'. Its my second one, the first was a 1992 16' which I just sold in December after getting the the newer boat. Willie is what most folks fish on the Kenai and most folks in the boat market are looking for. I sold the 1992 16' in four days on craigslist---in December. It is worth paying a bit more for a willie, because when the day comes that you want to get rid of it, whether to get another bigger one, or something different, you can sell it quickly and they hold their value very well. If/when the day comes to get rid of my 18'. I will buy another Willie without a doubt.

    As for the raft discussion, noting you asked specifically for teh Kenai, the rafts are great for the upper and middle, but if you are going to fish the lower river for Kings and silvers, stick with a drift boat. For the Kenai, drifters are king. The rafts/catas are great and much more versatile if looking to fish elsewhere, but for the K-pen, Kenai and Kasilof, stick with a drifter. I must admit, however, I have not tried to backtroll multiple rods with a raft, it might work.

    Will
    Since the World is 2/3 Water and Only 1/3 Land, Figures the Good Lord Intended I Fish More Than I Plow.

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    Default amen brother

    Quote Originally Posted by whitepalm View Post
    With all due respect the person is looking for a drift boat for the Kenai. Which is clearly THE boat for that river. If I were looking for a drift boat I would try to find a 18-20' Willie or FishRite. Since your already limited to the rivers you can use it on might as well go big once and be done with it, I see lots of guys end up selling their smaller drifters to upgrade bigger. Good luck.

    i long for the days of old wen you had to spend $5,000 on a drift boat. Now there are 10,000 one man cats (299.00) and rafts and no respect to other anglers they come right in your face and combat fish!!

  14. #14

    Default Willie

    Willie is the best. He was the innovator. My favorite, I have owned two.
    Consider the size and number of seats, because my family outgrew ours. Also consider width, the wider model, 60 inch?, instead of the 54 inch is the best for stablilty.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  15. #15

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    I have to agree that Willie's are the most popular and I have been in several. They are very nice. However I have owned an Alumaweld drifter for 10 years of so and absolutly love it. It has a little higher sides then most of the Willie's which was good when the kids were smaller but they are a little harder to get in and out of with 6" higher sides, and the higher sides do catch the wind on those windy days more then the shorter sided Willie's. Drift boats are a joy to row on the Kenai.

  16. #16
    Member akflytrout's Avatar
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    Default

    You need to get a willie. The make the best metal drift boat. I have rowed most major drifters and I would never give up my willie. If you need to row one let me know.
    Jake Zirkle
    Alaska Fly Water Guides
    907.952.2474
    www.alaskaflywater.com

  17. #17
    Member Tight Lines's Avatar
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    Wink

    I've had a 16' FishRite for the last 8 years and love it. Still looks new.

    Jst my 2 cents worth!
    TL

  18. #18
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    Default

    i've got a 20' fish rite that i'll sell ya.
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

  19. #19
    Member TYNMON's Avatar
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    Default Rafts are fine for drifting... but...

    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Why limit yourself to one fishery by your choice of watercraft though? A raft is fine for the kenai and can be used in like more than 3 places in this state... Just saying get a raft before you get a drifter...
    Rafts are less then ideal for fishing out of and fine for drifting... Drift boats are much more for the serious anlger to fish out of....

    Top choices:
    Willie Boats
    Koffler Boats
    R & B Boats
    Fish Rite Boats
    River Wild Boats

  20. #20
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    Default Willie

    I've owned a dozen or so driftboats and Willie is the best I've guided since 1991 in Ak, Or, and Ca. I have a 19x66 for sale if anyone is interested. Boat is brand new never been in water. It's a sweet boat designed for the Kenai and Kasilof.

    fishslayer@charter.net

    for details.

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