Looking for Alaskan Boats
I just moved up to Fairbanks a few months ago and I am already having river withdraws. I guided for years down on the Colorado River and am no stranger around boats, but it seems like a different ball game around here. I do own a 16' Jacks Plastic Welding cataraft, which is still in Utah, but the tubes are PVC and not the best condition and the frame is HEAVY steel, upwards of 250 pounds. I was just wondering what the forum thinks about my options because I go back and forth between buying a new raft of the 14' - 16' length with a simple breakdown frame or getting my cat tubes up here and building a simple breakdown frame from NRS components. Last week I got frustrated with not having a boat up here and almost bought a 14' Kenai Drifter from Alaska Inflatables, but talked my self out of it at the last moment. I am currently looking into something even more compact like a SOAR Levitator, or a SOTAR. Again I go back and forth because I do want to do some fishing and hunting from this boat and just wanted to know what you think. I am also very interested in a new or used boat if you are around the Fairbanks area and I would be willing to pay for the right set up. If anyone has any recommendations for people to contact they would be much appreciated.
Thank you for the time and maybe I will get some sleep at night after I get another opinion.
Try doing a search, you won't sleep. Cat/round boat debates happen here every couple of months.
Personally I have a 14' round aire. It's great for my kids. I have used it for hunting, fishing and up to class III. Everyone is going to tell you there is no perfect boat for Alaska. Probably need a different boat for each river
I would talk to Moose at BMR but than again I am bias :-) I am pushing out some of my used boats prior to the April outdoor show.
You will have all kinds of options if you wait a couple of weeks and some deals will be at hand. At the Show at the Carlson Center you will have Larry B and Larry L from SOAR more than likley, Goeaux SOTAR, Mark from Alaska Raft and Kayak, Jim King Alaska Series Boats, and more than likley 6th Ave outfitters up from Anch they are the ones selling the boats in Fairbanks you looked at.
I have a couple fo used Maxxon's Tribs and Otters left I might be willing to part with Frames, oars, repair kits, pump included however as mentioned you will be able to review and ask all sorts of questions and assets at the show if you're willing to wait till April 15th.
Richard "Moose" Mousseau
Blue Moose Rafting
Not many Jacks Plastic boats around here. Not sure why; they work fine. Probably just a dealership issue. In any case there would be nothing wrong with bringing your cat tubes up and fitting a frame to it. Lots of options for that too, and using NRS fittings is popular. I've never really liked fishing from a cat though. You're usually stuck in one seat without much ability to move about. But you could set up your boat differently and have plenty of deck space.
Thanks everyone for the great info I really appreciate it. I think my best bet right now is to go to the outdoor show with cash in hand and get the boat I really want. As of now I have been putting alot of thought into a SOAR Levitator or an Alaska series Kenai Drifter and I am sure after seeing the boats and looking into the construction/denier of the boats that I will find something. Could anyone tell me what to expect from the outdoor show? Are dealers willing to work with you on the price or are they pretty firm? It is just a little hard for me to pay full price after getting pro-deals all these years. Thanks again and any/all information is much appreciated.
On average and that is a very open statement you can expect to find a reasonable deal at the outdoor show. What some do is take orders for boats at special pricing then order your boat. This helps some lower cost by not having to have the inventory on hand to make the sale. 10-20 percent in mnost cases and depending on who your dealing with. Sometimes pricing next to pro deals are given if a vendor does not wish to have pat shipping cost or travel cost back to there shop. Mind you this is a general statement but you should find a reasonable deal at the show.
Best wishes and I hope you find a decent deal.
If you're interested in used stuff you could take a look at what Brian Richardson has available. He posted a bunch of boats in the kayak section.
Kellen, I'll be at the Fairbanks Outdoors Show with a few models for sale. The SOAR Levitator will be there, as will the Magnum and our Pro Pioneer. Feel free to stop by and kick the tubes or just chat.
You can see the Levitator and Magnum on two hunts featured in our new DVD released this week: Float Hunting Alaska Volume 2
This video will also be available on this site sometime this week or next.
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