Greetings! I am looking at getting an entry level boat, say a 14-16 foot Alweld or some variant of that. What is the smallest boat you would safely take out of say Whittier or Deep Creek? I have never been to Whittier but hear it is one of the calmer places to take a smaller boat out, I have seen some people i would consider crazy out at Deep Creek in 12ft Zodiacs, but they seem to do just fine. Any opinions help is greated appreciated.
I would say that size of your boat wont limit you as much as weather will. Its not fun to fish in rollers whether you have a 12 foot skiff or a 30 foot cabin cruiser even though the 30 footer is a lot safer. For safeties sake of course get the biggest, safest boat you can. Also, for comforts sake you want a bigger boat. In a small boat a king salmon or halibut will beat you up pretty good and you will be sitting in fish. And the tides in some areas are very powerful (Cook Inlet) and I would be careful about putting down an anchor in a small boat. Whatever size boat you get have life preservers and a radio. Also Whittier can really get rough as the sound is surrounded by glaciers and the winds howl between islands so I wouldn’t consider it a calm place. I would get a 16’ or bigger as smaller than that the boats really get tippy when you are trying to pull something out of the water. Good Luck
I have only had two boats.....first was a 16-ft inflatable, second was (is) a 24-ft cabin cruiser. So I can't give an opinion on the size boat you would need. BUT, let me just say that the water out of Whittier can get ugly just like it can elsewhere. It was gusting over 30 mph yesterday morning when I came into Whittier harbor to take out my boat. Yep, lots of fun trying to dock a boat with lots of freeboard.
Personally the minimum I'd want would be a 20' skiff w/ 50 horse. Certainly a 14-16 foot skiff could be taken out in perfect conditions, but how many times do you expect to have conditions? With such a small boat, how often would you be tempted to take out the small boat when you really shouldn't? It would be a bit frustrating to trailer your 14' boat to whittier, cough up the $20 to go through the tunnel, and find that conditions are such that you won't be launching.
While on a map Whittier looks protected, the mountains are the point in the range, and the wind tends to come ripping down the valley and whip up the water, so the waves can and often are bigger and choppier coming into Whitter than in the sound proper.
Zodiaks in the 14-16 foot range can take some impressive weather compared to similar sized skiffs, but they have such limited storage and are so low to the water that they are dificult to fish from, not to mention in a head wind they want to flip their nose up.
Thanks for the replies guys, definetly food for thought
I watched 3 different 16-18' Bayrunner and Lund type skiffs take breakers over the stern while trying to get on the trailer at deep creek this weekend. It was not even a particularly rough day. Do what you want but I would go with bigger and still watch the weather.
I took a 10.5' Zodiak out of Deep Creek with 3 guys that were 250 lbs average for each and with a 35 HP Merc 2 Stroke and all the Halibut gear for the day and we did fine even after bringing in a 5' Halibut. So Zodiaks rock IMO and yes we were crazy...... Long week at work I would say
As for Whittier I can tell you from what I have heard from others and they have taken 18 river boats out of there but you still have to pick your days like anything else.
just my .02 cent
Whiskey Gulch and Anchor Point used to be the every-weekend destination for three or four families including mine, where we'd fish in our Mark II Zodiacs or the Achilles equivalent. All of us used 15 hp motors. There's nothing "crazy" about it. We had a blast, were very safe, and the boats were light enough with the small motors that we could surf a wave into the beach, jump out, and two people could drag the boat out of the way of the next wave. We did it for years. 15 hp would plane the boats just fine with three real-sized people in them. The only factor that limited where we'd go was time. If I had the time, I'd have gone to the Barrons in my Zodiac, no problem. My other buddies used to take a trip from Whittier to Montague a couple of times a year in theirs. I caught lots of fish in the Kenai from that boat as well. My wife, my kid, a cooler, and me. No problem with 15 hp.
Originally Posted by Alaskan4life
I've been out in rollers and chop that ran the 20' and under crowd off the water. I later took my 18' Wooldridge jet boat out a few times and it was less fun than the Zody unless the water happened to be glass flat. When the tide's coming from one direction and the wind from the other, I'll take a Zody over a 16' or 18' hard boat every time.
Hard boats are more comfortable to fish from. Zodiacs take less room, less money, and are easier to launch and beach without utilizing the tractors. Pros and cons.
Were you out last weekend ? I am learing this area with my 16' achilles.
Went out Sat but didn't catch much cuz we didn't have an anchor & were drifting to fast. ( fixed that now ) Anyway went out Sat morning & night had no problems with the morning but on the evening return I filled my waders when the wave I was riding in to shore stopped & the next one broke over the transom & me. Need a bit more work on those beach landings in the heavy breaking surf.
Like Mr Pid said, in rollers & when the wind & tide are going opposite you still are very safe in the inflatables as you ride on top of the water.
If you are on a budget yet want to acess fishable waters & carry a fair amount of weight with saftey these type boats are the way to go until you can afford to go bigger boat.
(Yaggle if you wouldnn' mind could you pm with some more details on locations)
Observe and learn from others
Sounds like you half answered your question already about your seeing under-sized boats out at Deep Creek. I gained a lot of insight on what boat I wanted based upon watching boats coming into the harbor with afternoon chop on the water at Resurrection Bay. There's a big difference on how a hull performs on flat seas versus the uglier stuff. As you narrow the field of boats you're interested in (and can afford), asking questions of owners at the launch ramps and staging areas can be worth the time. I've never run into a boat owner that didn't want to talk about their boat. Some will actually admit to their boat's limitations and drawbacks (all boats have them BTW). By process of elimination you should feel a lot better about making the right purchase...but 2-foot-itus could eventually get you!
There have been times when I was in my 24 ft. cabin cruiser and wished I was in the 16 ft. inflatable that I used to have! It had oversized tubes (hypalon), a wood floor and a wood keel that would really give it rigidity and would let it cut through the waves. Inflatables are cold and wet, but sure are fun, easy to transport, and safe (if the pilot is safe).
Originally Posted by AKMarmot
It was a while ago when I went out. Most of the information I would have would be outdated for today. I believe it was in 1992 when I went out in that boat. We went right out from the boat launch area where they take you out with those tractors. I would say about 7 - 9 miles and then we went down south for about 3 miles. We anchored and then dropped the lines in the water.
If I was to go out again I would take atleast a 16'+ out there and with a 50HP. At the very least IMO but you can stil have loads of fun with a 10.5'.
I have ran a 14 foot inflatable and found it even in 8 foot rollers to be safe and sea worthy. But now I have a 19 foot zodiac hurricane with twin 70's and have been at speeds of 30 mph in a small craft advisiory with the feeling of excellent safety and handeling!!! I'de put it anywhere that a 30 foot standard aluminum boat would go. The only thing better is an ACB.