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Thread: fiberglass drift boats

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    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default fiberglass drift boats

    Anyone running one? I am going to be purchasing a boat of some kind in the spring, and getting started on the research now. It will be used pretty much just for the upper Kenai. I see a lot of aluminum boats on the river, but the glass boats seem more appealing to me. they seem to have more storage, a better seating arrangement, and are just more visually appealing. Thanks.


    Jake
    All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    I have seen more and more of them on the kenai. As far as performance and durability I cannot say as I am a cataraft guy. I dont think you would have any issues with them on the upper as you wont be ramming rocks or things. Id like to see what the drift boat owners on here have to say
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    I have seen more and more of them on the kenai. As far as performance and durability I cannot say as I am a cataraft guy. I dont think you would have any issues with them on the upper as you wont be ramming rocks or things. Id like to see what the drift boat owners on here have to say
    A lot of help you were! LOL!

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSWA View Post
    A lot of help you were! LOL!


    Yeah, no kidding John. As for fiberglass drift boats, I read about one on a forum once. Seems I saw one being trailered once or twice. Not sure. I am a raft and canoe guy
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSWA View Post
    A lot of help you were! LOL!

    I see you producing a wealth of information on it too.
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Fiberglass driftboats are a little heavier which might make a difference at times such as with portages or trailering the boat. At the same time the fiberglass boats seem to glide over the shallow water areas easier than a aluminum boat. In a fiberglass in these shallow areas when the boat is rubbing gravel going downstream you hardly hear anything were as the aluminum boat sounds like a drum going off. Even though they are very durable and can stand a pounding but at the same time fiberglass is not made for banging into rocks as something has to give at some point in the life of the boat. The aluminum boat simply gets a few dents or beauty marks. Fiberglass seemed to be less apt to be influenced by the wind as they track in the water a little different. The wear and tear around the oar locks was one thing I always had to keep a eye on as that seemed to be the weak point of the fiberglass boat that I rowed. On the other hand I have seen the new clackacraft drift boats and really like the door feature that they have in the front to make it easier to get into and out of and they also have a lifetime warranty so... A good aluminum Willie boat is hard to beat (and easier to sell) but still I would not hesitate to purchase a fiberglass if the price was right.

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    Member Mark Collett's Avatar
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    Talking Fiberglass vs Aluminum

    Iceblue made a lot of good observations.I'd like to add a few...
    Both materials have good and not so good features.Aluminum can take more of a beating than glass,a consideration if you don't take care of your gear.Of course we all know "stuff happens".Glass boats are quieter than aluminum when dragging thru shallow water.Plus a glass bottom does not hang up like metal will.
    One major consideration (and reason I prefer fiberglass)is that a glass boat is warmer than a metal boat.A Willie gets awful cold rowing in a freezing rain or snowfall.However a portable heater can be a part of your boat set-up.
    Having made fiberglass mini-drifters for 10 years I can also repair a glass boat if I happen to crunch a rock or a tree.I can't fix an aluminum boat.
    jakec5253 do your homework,try a couple of different boats if you can,then go for it .Time in a drift boat of any style or material is a good time.Make it happen

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    Member muzzyman87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSWA View Post
    A lot of help you were! LOL!
    John, do they even have fish in Arizona?
    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~

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Fish in Arizona??

    Quote Originally Posted by muzzyman87 View Post
    John, do they even have fish in Arizona?

    Of course they do. Here is John with a big desert tarpon....







































    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  10. #10

    Default Fiberglass / aluminum

    This topic has been debated numerous times on the ifish site and if you look through those forums you can find a lot of good arguments from both camps.

    I would debate Iceblues statement that fiberglass boats are a bit heavier. I tend to find them lighter than a comprable aluminum boat. Another nice thing about fiberglass (particularly clackacrafts) is the bottom of the boat flex's some. So if you do hit that big rock just under the surface the bottom has a little "give" rather than the whole boat tipping up and over it. Think of it as a flexible tree bending in the wind and a solid tree being blown over.

    Clackacrafts also have a "lip" along the gunnel of the boat. It's a necessary function to strengthen the sides of the boat and it's advertised as returning water to the river, rather than letting it splash into the boat. I find that is true, but I also think it catches more wind than an aluminum boat would. The way fiberglass boats are made also allows them to design things making the boat easier to row and quieter on the water (namely the tunnel hull and the dimple bottom).

    I know there is a company offering a boat with a door in the hull, but I don't think it's Clackacraft. I saw it advertised in a couple of magazines but can't re-call who it was. All boats have their pluses and minuses. One of the great things about Clackacraft is their warranty, but living in Alaska makes it sort of unpractical.

    I would encourage you to try and row both types of boats, and row them into conditions that will show you the difference. What I mean by that is you wont really see how a boat shines or falters by rowing it across a pond. As you can probably tell, I'm a fiberglass guy, but I've also rowed a number of aluminum boats and there are some things that I really like about them. . .I just seem to keep coming back to fiberglass though.

    Good luck

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    Member liv2fish87's Avatar
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    Default lol

    im sure a new bayliner would take the river and rocks really well man. check that out. Its fiberglass! Ive taken a ride in a fiberglass boat one time. man they sure are nice to look at and they handle well in the water.. except for wind... now im no expert or anything, but the fiberglass i work with everyday at work....dont think that would handle a rock too well or a pin up in between such rocks. 1 thing you must consider is actually hitting a rock. Pretty devastating in an aluminum.... but it will take it... as for your fiberglass..... might handle a couple bumps on light gravel without making a loud noise... But what happens when there's a knarly hole in the boat? One more thing Id like to say is that i have never noticed a direct temp change because of the aluminum, usually, if its hot out im shirtless. Whether im in my cataraft or my drifter... And if its cold... well..... Im bundled up. Complicated concept and all but whatever.

    Just had to put my dibs in for the aluminum idea/side
    Go Fish

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    Member Scottsum's Avatar
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    Default Fiberglass vs...everything else!

    I have a bit of experience rowing both fiberglass and aluminum boats, as well as single cats and the last two seasons, a 14 ft raft. Of all of these, I can honestly say I prefer the raft. It is the most stable, handles the bumbs and rocks the best (rafts slow down, rather than stop dead when hitting rocks...usually) lower sides make getting into/ out-of the boat easier, and they have a nice platform around the entire perimeter upon which one can lounge, nap, whatever, when the fishing is slow. They are even quieter than fiberglass boats, and the right raft will track darn near as good as the best drift boat out there. Now, add to the equation that I can pack my boat in a beaver and fly it to Bristol Bay, and the decision is made!

    If the decision is ultimately between fiberglass and alumininum, I'd say row demos of both before making your decision. Fiberglass is much warmer and quieter, but aluminum does give you the option of running a mr. heater in the bow to warm things-up on cold days. Aluminum is certainly the most "bullet-proof," but I wouldn't worry too much about durability with the newer boats, as most of the top fiberglass brands have looong waranties on their hulls. I think Clackacraft actually offers a lifetime warranty; "fear no rock," right? One thing I've noticed with my buddy's glass boat (and keep in mind it's an old beater) is that the oar locks have loosened in the glass over time. If I were going to buy a new drift boat, I think I would look at Hyde's fiberglass/aluminum composite boats. All the attachment sites are aluminum, but the boat has all the advantages of fiberglass.

    In the end, you'll learn to love whatever boat you choose and all other boats will be forever compared with it.

    Happy shopping.

  13. #13

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    Trying to backtroll with a glass boat can take some practice. The bottom flexs with the oar stroke when you use your legs. Takes some change in rowing technique. The bottom flex tends to change how the boat tracks. I did not like that in early fiberglass DB,s I rowed.

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    if you don't have a raft yet, get a raft first, rafts you can use in a million different places, put them in airplanes and float remote rivers in them, pack them up and portage them easy, etc etc drift boats you can use on the kenai, kasilof, gulkana and thats about it...

    Now if you have a raft, I would rather have something I can hit rocks with than not.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default boats

    Thank you all for the input. It seems that either boat will do the job, and since I am looking for a boat for the upper Kenai only, I am not too worried about hitting rocks. I am still undecided on which material to go with, but it sounds like both will be more the capable of what I want. I have not got the chance to row an aluminum boat yet, so can't compare them yet, but I did row a glass boat a few times this past summer, and have more experience rowing a raft. The glass boat was much easier to row, especially with 3 people in the boat. I know the raft is a better all around choice for Alaska, but I am looking for a boat just for the upper Kenai, so it will be a drift boat.
    All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.

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    Pavati is a very cool looking drift boat made in Oregon out of aluminum with two side door’s. It also has an advanced Kevlar bottom with dimples as air holds in the dimples it will raises the boat up off the water more for less drag. The paint job this company is putting on there boat’s are bar none. I would like to row one. Maybe my next boat.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Drift%20Boat%20for%20Sale.1.jpg   sparkle---2.jpg  

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