Raft vs Cat



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  • Raft vs Cat

    New to the non-motorized world of fishing. While I have virtually no experience to draw on I have been motorized most of my life. I did do a drift from the bridge down on the Willow in a two peeps cat with the wife. Most of my looking have been for a Cataraft but reading some of the threads here got me re-thinking.

    Here is what a wish to do:
    -Wife and I doing day drifts maybe an overnighter.
    -Time frame would be last two weeks in July or mid October.
    -Maybe a single in the Oct. time frame.
    -Fish from the craft while drifting (second fisher)

    So, with all the experience hear what would be the pros and cons of each. Because of the limit use I would be looking for used equipmtent if that helps.

    IF this has been done before would someone give me a link.


  • #2

    I'm not one of the more experienced rafters on this site, but I have one sinlgle 10ft pontoon and a 14 ft SB. I can tell you that the 14 ft boat is easier to control with 3 people in it than the 10 ft cat with just myself. That being said, they both work just fine for day trips or an overnight. If I were you, I'd just look around for whichever style I could get for a better deal. Check AR&K for the demo boats they've mentioned.

    For what it's worth, I like being able to just throw gear in the bottom of the boat with the self bailer. With cats you have to be a bit more careful packing so things don't roll-off the floor (if it has a floor) or drag in the water between the pontoons. I also have two little kids, so I like the small measure of protection provided by the air cells around the perimeter of the boat.

    There are many others on this site with waaayyy more experience than me though, so we'll see what they have to say.


    • #3
      Here are a few previous threads that are related to your questions.


      There is a lot of personal preference involved, with some of us choosing one type and others preferring another. Round boats can pack more weight in the same space, but cats move faster when loaded. Round boats turn quicker, but cats get across the river sooner. Cats can be wetter to ride in, but they are often superior for large white water. Cats pack up smaller, but round boats usually weigh less when the frame is added in. Round boats are easier to setup, but cats can handle larger motors and go faster. Generally cats cost a little more because of the extensive frames. There are ways to reduce that cost a little though.

      Both can be setup well for fishing, but if that is a primary goal I think I would go for a cat. Cats are easy to overload, so make sure you get one big enough to do what you want. And keep in mind that different manufacturer's weight recommendations are not using equal scales.


      • #4
        become an expert!


        Just read all this stuff and purchase the boat you want. Our rubber boats are kind of like our spouses. The spouse one rafter loves is not the spouse another rafter loves, usually. No one, single boat type is perfect. But if you get one, it will probably do most everything absolutely great, and a few things very fine.

        Just remember to get a color you like. Your gonna pretend that your showing it off all summer. Then your gonna look at it all winter in your garage. So you better be happy with the color.

        Cats work fine with a motor. Round boats do not work fine with a motor.

        Get the boat, whatever type...and your gonna fall in love with it. Give it a cute name. My boats are Big Red (18 foot AIRE Leapard), AK Baby Blue (13 foot AIRE Super Puma) and Ol Bear Bait (15'6" yellow AIRE "D" modle that keeps gettin chomped on by bears).
        And note that AIRE boats repair easily.

        So get a colorful boat (or three), fall in love with your boat(s), give it a name,
        spend a summer or ten rafting and you too will become an expert like me, or like us, or like everybody who rafts. You are going to have alot of fun with whatever type of boat you get....

        My greatest days every year have always been my rafting days (and my ram hunting days and my guiding days)...which is why I conduct guided float hunts.
        ...oh yes, IMHO...

        Alaska True Adventure Guide Service
        Imagine (It's easy if you try)
        …miles and miles of mountains…wide expanses of tundra...remote wild waters…
        (Whisper words of wisdom) Let It Be


        • #5
          Man did you ask a question

          I went through this a few months back when trying to pick out a raft for extended float trips. Everyone seems to love the cats, but for my intended usage, they were of little use. One of the main reasons is that I have to fly my gear up from NC. The cat frames are much more to deal with in that regard. With the rafts, self bailers are ideal, but for me, the weight was too high. 100 lbs is max weight for a checked bag. I got a 14'4" Sotar bucket from Goo Vogt of Alaska Wildwater in Anchorage. Love it! Best thing, it only weighs 93 lbs in its carry bag with the thwart. Goo hooked me up in a big way. Amazed with the toughness of the material they made this thing with. Got a custom 22 lb frame that I designed coming in the next week or two. Three piece Sawyer Pole Cat oars and a all the other accessories coming from Sotar. The folks at Sotar went out of there way helping me get all the things I needed for this raft. Free this, extra this, spare that, typed instructions for repair, valve replacement, etc... But I doubt I will ever need to repair this thing. So you can see that I am new (brand new) to rafting. Everyone's needs vary. Perhaps you are driving to a location. If that is the case, you have many more options than I did. Reading over the old post that Jim offered should help. Many things to consider, but at the end of the day, they both do basically the same thing. I am sure you could find either suiting to your needs for day trips or overnighters. Good time of year to do some research. Read everything you can and see some boats in person. By spring, you will be in good shape. There is some good general insights in Karen's book "Alaska River Guide" and in Mike's Floathunting Alaska book. Great reads if you don't already have them.

          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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