Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27

Thread: What is Ideal? Raft or Cataraft

  1. #1
    Member Matt M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    189

    Default What is Ideal? Raft or Cataraft

    Knowing that nothing is ideal when it comes to rods, reels, boats, etc. for all situations in Alaska what would you do?

    I am torn between a cataraft and a raft for fishing lakes, streams, rivers in the Mat Su, Anchorage, and Kenai. I already have a float tube that I hit the small lakes with but what would work well with a load of 2 or 3 adults and a kicker?

    I am NOT trying to stir the pot. I just want opinions, pros and cons. What size, brand, etc.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  2. #2

    Default

    I own a cat, have used some round rafts, however none with motors.

    A cat with a jet is truely an amazing boat. A cat with a prop is about as good as a round raft with a prop however I think the cats are better fishing platforms then rounds.

    Mine is the Aire Jaguarundi 16' single tube. Kinda wished I had gone with a super jag. It's like comparing a ferrari to oh a chevy 2500...both will do the job, one does it in style .

    If I did it again, I'd go with the NRS 14' having pretty much the same load capacity as my 16' aire in a lighter smaller more compact package.

  3. #3

    Default Driftboat!!!!

    Once you fish out of a driftboat or row for that matter you'll never go back. LOL just kidding. Roundboats and Cats are great but I love the Alumaweld with a 20hp. Willies, Clackacrafts, they're all pretty nice.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    26

    Default

    Probably smaller that what you're seeking, but I've owned a few of the 8' cats, and love 'em. Traded up from a float tube - keeps the lower body out of the water, and can move faster. I kept my float tube fins, and use them on the cat to keep it pointed in the direction I want (weather vanes in the wind). Mounted a little Minn Kota electric motor for the bigger lakes.

    Perfect for the lakes around town, and have even floated down the Willow and Kenai. It doubles as a diving-board platform (and taxi to and from the "floating island" they anchor off shore) for the kids when we're camped at a lake. They abuse the heck out of it, but I've never had a problem with them sustaning any damage (the cats, that is - the kids have bonked a few noggins on the oars).

    It fits in my wife's trunk (little Kia Saphia) when fully disassembled, so also fits nicely in the camper... pops togethor and inflated (ready to use) in about 15 minutes. Rides perfectly in the bed of a pickup fully assembled (ready to use instantly) :^). I have hooked up a wheel attachment to push it, wheel-barrow style, if needed, and can also pick it up on my shoulders and walk 50-60 yards at a time.

    I've used several, and have no particular brand affiliation, nor can I really recommend any over the others. I've had a $200 one from Costo that I had for 3 years, and traded up solely for more "built-in cargo" last year. I've borrowed a buddy's $900 rig, and was not any more impressed than my $200 "Costco special". His probably would have made it down harder waters that mine would not, but that's about it.

    Getting back to your question... The only downside of this small of a cat over a raft of similar size (at least, a hard-bottomed raft) is that you can stand much easier in a raft to aid in casting. You can also fit two people into an 8' raft, but would need a larger cat for two. These smaller cats with a standing platform seem a little unsteady - I'd rather stand in a hard-bottomed raft (again, at this smaller 8' range). Standing on a 2-man cat with a standing platform is no problem.

    Again... you're probably asking about something bigger than my experiences, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

  5. #5
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Rifle River MI
    Posts
    1,835

    Default So Many Options so Little Time

    Tradbow's rig is a nice set up and a good option.

    You might also wish to look at a 13ft NRS Otter with a fishing frame 3 people comfortable for a one or two day trip or two people extended camping fishing and hunting.

    You can get a motor mount for the thing and cruise around lakes however being that it will be self bailing your not going to set any speed records.

    If you go none-bailing you can get into the NRS Livery Series and be under 100 lbs at 13 ft which is about the same as a 16ft Cat without frame options.

    You also have the 14ft AIRE Lion which wil lhold three pople and framed out can be a hoot however more of a cargo cataraft than a performance cataraft. We fish with this type of boat on the Upper Gulkana all season.

    FISHCAT 13 Catarafts will meet your needs however you will be limited to two people with the frame that comes with it.

    We fish otters on the Gulkana with Anchor systems they work well and fly in great if you need that option.

    If your looking to save a couple of bucks go with the 13or 14ft AIRE Tributary with a skid plate frame. Same 10 year no fault warranty, same construction methods of any AIRE i.e. PVC with Poly bladder and stich in floor. Only issue is weight which will be about 40 lbs more than the Otter and Livery boats.

    OK I am done yapping.

    Best of luck in your choices.

    Just food for thought.

  6. #6
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Left Angeles
    Posts
    5

    Default

    I've used the 16' and 18' NRS cats, an older double tube cat around 15-16' (may have been Aire), 18' Zambezi oar raft, 14' NRS selfbailer, 14' NRS nonbailer, and a few others.

    I like the 16' and 18' NRS cats best. Very easy to maneuver/spin in rapids and less drag crossing lakes. They will also straddle a certain number of rocks when a river like Lake Creek is low and behaving like a boulder garden.

    My second favorite is the 14' NRS selfbailer. The flotation in the floor tubes makes it sit higher in the water and it is easier to maneuver than a regular raft. I think it is also a bit more efficient rowing on lakes, but the difference is not as great as with a cat.

    DWK

  7. #7

    Default

    the one thing to consider is your draft. Some opinions are that the Cats draft more water than a round raft. This could make a difference if you were weighted down in shallow water.

  8. #8
    Member TruBluTex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    226

    Default

    If you plan on doin' mostly day trips & not hitting heavy rapids, perhaps you may want to consider a Water Master. I have one, the Grizzly model, and suits me just perfect!




    http://www.bigskyinflatables.com/Home_Page.html

  9. #9
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chugiak, AK.
    Posts
    1,526

    Default

    This is a very good question, although "ideal" really depends on the application. This is really a preference question. I prefer an Aire cataraft. The reasons being are: easier to maneuver, will breakdown into smaller packages (although the frame work can be much more extensive and therefore much heavier), gear is stowed above waterline, and generally speaking, will carry a very large payload, better in whitewater situations (that's what they were originally made for). I prefer Aire products because they have the internal bladder system, and should you need to repair a leak while on a remote float, it is much easier with this system. Here is the best picture that I have in regards to weight carrying capability. This boat is an 18 footer that had over 2,000 lbs on it once my partner and I were also in it. In this picture, you can see approx. how much water it was in and it was only about an inch or two away from floating.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P9010049.jpg  

  10. #10
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    2,162

    Default

    Good thread on a popular topic.

    Can't have too many rafts!

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    ANC
    Posts
    26

    Default

    any suggestion on the ideal set up for a fishing rig. looking to get out and do some longer road accessible floats as well. 16footers seem to fit the bill the best.

  12. #12
    Member cod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Ak.
    Posts
    2,213

    Default

    I've flown this raft to the Situk on Alaska airlines on one occasion. Its been great for 10-14 day floats on the Gulkana for the 2 of us. Its perfect for dropping in the upper Kenai (at any location near the road-not just the normal put-ins). The frame allows for 2 seats on the front. It can spin on a dime. Rugged. Ten and a half foot Aire Puma. About 80 pounds for frame and raft if I recall correctly. Had this boat for over 15 yrs and have absolutely loved it.Rows and floats geat. self bailing. Attachment 57287Attachment 57288
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  13. #13
    Member cod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Ak.
    Posts
    2,213

    Default Aire Puma...

    Another try at pics...Attachment 57291
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  14. #14
    Member cod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Ak.
    Posts
    2,213

    Default Aire Puma....

    This was an eleven day float on Gulkana River,..Unmanned boat at 2nd day camp and empty boat nea take out. PS..Mods, feel free to edit or delete empty posts above. thanks.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	loaded Aire Puma.jpg 
Views:	123 
Size:	119.6 KB 
ID:	57294Click image for larger version. 

Name:	disc 1 from dell lptp 350.jpg 
Views:	101 
Size:	99.9 KB 
ID:	57295
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Big Lake
    Posts
    1,593

    Default

    What is Ideal? Raft or Cataraft

    Really - in order to answer this question, we'd have to know whether you drive a Ford or Chevy??

  16. #16
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Delta Junction
    Posts
    4,078

    Default

    Esquif is making a royalex constructed rangely canoe. We called them Rowing canoes back home and they were real popular with the river guides. It's got a wine glass stern so will row or paddle real well. It's about a foot wider than any average canoe that would come to mind. If you put a 9.8 tohatsu four stroke motor on this, You could actually go against the current of rivers like the Yukon and the Kenai. And because of the wine glass stern......it will paddle or row extremely well. This type of boat would open up a lot of opportunities both hunting and fishing. In a freighter canoe only slightly larger I did in one season: Dipnetted my limit, fly fished for many grayling in a remote location, shot a caribou, moose hunted, trolled for lakers, and hauled an 1,800 lb. load on the Yukon, while going back up the Yukon on the return trip. This boat is about $2000

    They can be car-topped too.

    With this style of boat you can:
    duck hunt
    moose,caribou, and bear hunt
    access remote grayling infested rivers
    dipnet salmon
    stand while flyfishing
    navigate through class ll whitewater (I do class lll)
    haul large loads of gear
    pay zero dollars for flight services
    troll for lakers. I know because I've done all this from similar boats over the years. The ideal fly fishing boat (for me) is neither a raft or a cataraft. For some fly-only trips though, I LOVE the super Puma. I'll have me one of these after I build enough freighter canoes this spring.

    http://www.esquif.com/2008/canot_en.php?id=39

    Here's my hunting partner (my Malamute) and I playing on some skinny water in a similar sized boat after rolling a caribou into the boat. You can paddle them too when they are loaded light.

  17. #17
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Delta Junction
    Posts
    4,078

    Default

    Here's a small "unnamed" creek that flows into the Yukon. I think this Grayling measured 17 3/4". He was so powerful, that I couldn't hold him up for a better photo because I didn't want to lose him. I've owned four different square stern and freighter canoes over the last 10 years. This was in one of my older canoes which was 6" skinnier than the Rangley boat. Had a lift system so I could go up the shallows:

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 037.jpg  

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt M View Post
    Knowing that nothing is ideal when it comes to rods, reels, boats, etc. for all situations in Alaska what would you do?

    I am torn between a cataraft and a raft for fishing lakes, streams, rivers in the Mat Su, Anchorage, and Kenai. I already have a float tube that I hit the small lakes with but what would work well with a load of 2 or 3 adults and a kicker?

    I am NOT trying to stir the pot. I just want opinions, pros and cons. What size, brand, etc.

    Cheers,

    Matt
    Well, like others have said, it depends on a lot of factors including the most important factor which is personal preference. But basically, IMO with the criteria you listed (2-3 adults with a kicker motor), I would go with a 14-16 Cataraft. You could go with a standard round raft with an outboard extension frame, but they are not ideal IMO. A Cataraft is made for a small motor. Some other advantages of a Cat are that they are generally easier to portage, they are very stable, and you can pack a lot of gear on them. If they are not loaded down, you usually can go right over the tops of rocks etc. Myself, I have a round raft, and I have my own personal reasons why I like them. But they are not for the same reasons you listed. But, if I was looking for an inflatable watercraft to meet the criteria you listed, I would choose a Cat.

  19. #19
    Member muzzyman87's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    AK
    Posts
    311

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aktrouttamer View Post
    Once you fish out of a driftboat or row for that matter you'll never go back. LOL just kidding. Roundboats and Cats are great but I love the Alumaweld with a 20hp. Willies, Clackacrafts, they're all pretty nice.
    Maybe for down south...
    I am not against the flippin kenai, since I cannot but suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering every other stream... ~Paul O'Neil~/~Wyo2AK~

  20. #20
    Member CTobias's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Here and there.....
    Posts
    237

    Default

    Not sure what you're looking to spend, but make sure you get welded seams. Sotar, Aire, and a few asian companies have welded seams. The cheaper maxxon tubes and other imported tubes are glued seams and will come apart after a while. Regardless of what you go with, as with anything there will be some maintenance involved as well as learning what the proper psi is for storage.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •