Haven't been on the site for a long time. I used to visit the site alot, and Mike, if you see this post, I used to talk with you alot as well. By the way, I just ordered your book online. My understanding is that "it is the bible". I'm looking forward to "the read". The end of the season has given me time to reflect on my "position" on our Alaskan waters. A little background: I'm off to Iraq (again) shortly, and will likely pick up the "forum habit" again, LOL. My current (no pun intended) holdings are a 16' Aire Traveler canoe and a 21' Phantom Sport Jon. I am VERY happy with both. The Phantom is warm, dry, runs shallow, seats six comfortably, turns on a dime, and is FAST. The Phantom will also get me into the ocean (Valdez, etc.) for Salmon with REASONABLE safety. The Aire Traveler is light (50#), compact, easily trasported, and has plenty of weight capacity. The Traveler will get me into some thin water and remote places, including fly-in's with ease. I'd honestly hate to give up either.
So here's my dilema. When I return from Iraq, we're moving the family to our home in Eagle River (we've been in Fairbanks for seven years). I want to continue "unlimited access" hunting and fishing from my watercraft. I see a couple issues in this endeavor. First, I want to fish on the Kenai. With the 50 horsepower limitation on the river, I'll never get the Phantom in there. However, I see the Phantom as a great rig in any other waterway! The Traveler will get me on the Kenai, but I think it will be a "stop and fish" rig. With the canoe, there will be no back-trolling, nor will I be able to motor back up river. It will be a one-way float, and I'll have to pre-position a vehicle down river to take out and travel home.
So, here's what I see as a possible "solution": Buy a cataraft and equip with a motor big enough to back-troll AND big enough to motor the family back up the river. If I go this route, I've already got a floor system I built a few years ago (42"w x 88"l - in four 22" long sections - cedar covered in bed liner coating w/ fastex clips). The other option I see is to buy another Aire Traveler and with a rowing frame and using the floor system, attach the two together. Whichever way I go, I want to have a large, flat platform to stand/fish/work on. With the Traveler/rowing frame option, I can still pull the canoes off seperately and use to access thin waterways, in seperate rigs. I also see benefit in having the cataraft set-up to access whitewater and do purely recreational whitewater trips with friends and family. In contrast to the Phantom, the cataraft or cata-canoe will not be weathered-in or heated (a big deal on the fall hunts, and some Valdez trips!!!!).
Any thoughts on these options are greatly welcomed. Pictures of set-ups like this would assist greatly as well. I'm particularly interested in seeing cata-canoe set-ups (especially with floor systems or frames attached). However, any ideas/pics/or references would help. I'm not firmly attached to any option, but want to make the "right" choice the first time.