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Thread: Kenai Oar boat fishin - Opinions?

  1. #1
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    Question Kenai Oar boat fishin - Opinions?

    I'm considering purchasing a 16' cataraft for multiple purposes (fishing being one). I am curious how I'd fare king fishing with a couple of buddies on Mondays from this craft - obviously drift boats are best for this as they are the most popular, but does anyone have any experience on the Kenai in both a drift boat and a cataraft?

    How much of an advantage is the hard boat?

    Or put another way could I be purchasing a legit excuse for getting skunked?

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    If king fishing on a DBM is a high priority, get a real drift boat. You'll be glad that you did! Just WAY more versatile.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Talking to the net.

    I have seen catarafts on the river side drifting though holes and on the anchor fishing but never back sliding pulling plugís probably to much drag, that style of boat King fishing has a small hookup rate compared to a drift boat. You know how buddies can be when you dont get one to the net.

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    My last trip on drift boat Monday the Kenai...in a cataraft...boated us four kings. All caught while back trolling/rowing. SOoooo, it can be done with a cataraft, BUT a driftboat is the way to go...much more comfortable and easier to fish effectively out of. The friend that owns that cataraft now has a new Willies db on order! (We've also used his cat a lot fishing for kings on the Kasilof with a fair amount of success)
    If you're backtrolling it takes a fair amount more effort to keep the cataraft moving slowly down the river and to keep it from moving all over the place...especially if there's any wind. Keep in mind, this style of fishing isn't what a cat was designed for.
    If you do decide to go with a cat, the single best modification you can do is to put a hard floor in. This summer we used cedar 2"x6" boards lashed to the frame of my buddys cat and it was wonderful!!! Still not quite on the level of a driftboat, but it was much nicer to fish out of.

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    Default in a slide

    WOW if your friend can put his 16 ft cataraft with 2x6 wood floor in a slide on the Kenai in July & hook #4 Kings while on the sticks ,,, he wont have any problem rowing his new Willie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    If king fishing on a DBM is a high priority, get a real drift boat. You'll be glad that you did! Just WAY more versatile.
    Are you kidding? I can fit rafts into the back of my subaru, airplanes, on ATVs, whatever. Get a raft, unless you plan to only fish the Keani, Gulkana, or Kasilof which isn't that much fun. At least buy a raft first and then a Mckensie Drift boat
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    AKPM is right if its only for mondays and a few days on the upper a raft is the way to go. I have seen many people drift the kenai in cats and do really well. If you float from swift water to pillers or somthing like that there are alot of slow areas and eddies you can back that cat into and stay in the holes for a long time. Two of my favs on that drift are the large rock below collage and the tail of sunken. But there are about 20 good holes with easy cat access on that drift. You can use your cat any where in AK, but with a DB your pretty much stuck with Kenai and Kasilof.

    That being said I loved my DB and wish I could have kept it. But Fairbanks isnt the best for Driftboating.

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    Default Kings and cats

    Lorax-
    I'd say buy the cat. I'm the friend that akfishinguy referred to that owns a 16' Aire cat and just ordered a Willie's DB. I've fished for kings both out of the cat and out of other friends' drift boats on both the Kenai and Kasilof for three seasons now, and can't say that I've had better fishing out of one than another. While the drifter will definitely be easier to backtroll out of than the cat, it's NOT impossible to fish for kings out of the cat, and I think that fish numbers and the "bite being on" will have a greater effect on your success than the boat type. Plus, you'll never get the drift boat in a super cub (;

    My reasons for buying the hard boat were only partially performance related. Here's some thoughts: My crystal ball says we'll ultimately see additional drift days on the lower Kenai. Second, I've got a kid arriving next month, and thought it'd be easier to toss the kid in a drift boat than in a cat. Finally, I also wanted a boat that was going to take the abuse of lots of company better than a cat. (Between fishing and a new grandkid, we're not going to be able to get rid of my mom the next few summers).

    Here are a few things that I've found that might help you. Keep in mind that these points specifically relate to backtrolling.

    1. Keep it light and balanced. Fishing two (one rowing, one riding) is easy. You can go anywhere, do anything. Fishing three (one rowing and two riding) is do-able, but harder. You'll be on the oars almost constantly keeping the boat stalled in the current enough for the divers to work. Don't bother doing anything except side drifting with more than three people. I've caught some good fish side drifting, but typically do better backtrolling.

    2. Anchoring is going to be tough at best. I've gone through several different 'generations' of anchor systems. The most recent was two 35-pound pyramid anchors attached to the stern end of the rowing frame, which is still not perfect. I found the boat tended to swing pretty bad using a single anchor. Also, when I'm anchored, it's not like in a DB, I have to constantly apply pressure to one oar or the other to keep the boat steady and stop the swing. Rarely, it'll balance and you can relax, but if you shift your weight to pour a cup of coffee or something, it'll start again.

    3. Buy good oars. There's nothing wrong with the standard Carlisle shafts, but for backtrolling, you'll appreciate the lighter weight and stiffness, and ultimately better energy transfer, of the glass-wrapped Cataract shafts or the really really nice Sawyers.

    4. akfishinguy's suggestion on the floor is right on. Drop me a pm if you want to take a look at mine, I've also got a few ideas for the next one I build.


    Hope this helps-
    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Are you kidding? I can fit rafts into the back of my subaru, airplanes, on ATVs, whatever. Get a raft, unless you plan to only fish the Keani, Gulkana, or Kasilof which isn't that much fun. At least buy a raft first and then a Mckensie Drift boat
    The point of my original post was "If king fishing on a DBM is a high priority" get it done with the right tools for that application.

    The versatility I was referring to was not meant to encompass all of those other applications. My point was that a driftboat has the versatility to easily employ ALL of the proven techniques for catching Kenai Kings without any of the difficulties mentioned about the pontoon craft. That's a big consideration if you have multiple fishing buddies or kids that you want to bring along.

    Catching Kenai kings from a 'toon is do-able, but you are incrementally decreasing your odds for success, especially on a river that is not known for being terribly generous about giving up her prized kings. Could I do an oil change with a Gerber multi-tool? Sure, with a little effort, I could get 'er done. I'd just prefer to do it with the tools designed for the job.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

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    Default planes, trains, & automobiles.

    Lorax

    I have to side with the fish/doctor because of the fishing versatility not the traveling. I donít own a Plane, Subaru, or ATV but i wish i did. I do own a 20ft drifter that will fish 4 men easy + me makeís 5 with all King gear, all Red gear, some Rainbow stuff, food, Drink, 5 PFD Ect Ect. In July we fish Reds first on Monday so put 15 reds in the box then go King / Rainbow fishing. I just donít see that happening with the 16ft raft,. As far as how you would fare in July well after bait is opened up good, what about late April through June those three months of dbm can be tuff, but its all fun even from the BANK. <*))))))))Z

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    The point of my original post was "If king fishing on a DBM is a high priority" get it done with the right tools for that application.

    The versatility I was referring to was not meant to encompass all of those other applications. My point was that a driftboat has the versatility to easily employ ALL of the proven techniques for catching Kenai Kings without any of the difficulties mentioned about the pontoon craft. That's a big consideration if you have multiple fishing buddies or kids that you want to bring along.

    Catching Kenai kings from a 'toon is do-able, but you are incrementally decreasing your odds for success, especially on a river that is not known for being terribly generous about giving up her prized kings. Could I do an oil change with a Gerber multi-tool? Sure, with a little effort, I could get 'er done. I'd just prefer to do it with the tools designed for the job.
    I don't see why a 14 foot cat will limit someone who is king fishing compared to say a 15 foot DB if anything it the cat will help you get into more king holes (like the rest of the state)
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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