Hi-After a 30 year hiatus, as an older and disabled man, I want to try the fly fishing learned in my youth from an old fly shop owner in Santa Rosa, Ca. once again. I really don't care about the fish per se, I just love the experience. I still have most of my old equipment-Sage rods, and Perfect and a not so old Ross reel (& fly tying equip.).
My question: I live in the woods not 1/2 mile from the Russian River and not far from other coastal streams. Because of my disability I have balance issues and can no longer safely wade. I'm a poor man now but would like to buy a small raft just big enough for me and my idiot Beagle. I want one for slow moving streams, and a pond if I can locate one, and also would require a small electric motor.
I'll, hopefully, fish once a week or so but can spend no more than $500.00 maximum. And yet, I want something that need not be fancy but will hold up (it can even be used if in good shape). I have no idea where to start looking, what manufacturers to trust, etc.. Any advice would be very, very welcome-Thanks
Have you thought about a pontoon boat with a casting platform?
I know nothing about them-I'll do a search. But they don't have a place for my dog or motor capability do they? And, if so and company references are allowed here, do you have a manufacturer, or two, I can check out? Thanks for the quick response BTW
The best bet for a bargain is to watch for used rafts in the area. Many people buy them only to find that they see little use. When extra money is needed the rafts sometimes are among the first items to be sold off. I am pasting a link to FishCat rafts here because we own two and I have no other product experience.
We first bought the big blue two man boat and were happy with it. Then I ran across a fella who was dumping a 'Cougar' model that had been used twice for $300 so I bought it also. The Cougar has changed name and color and is now the Panther Same design and they have a motor mount for what you want to be able to use. the raft is very stable and has become part of every float trip we take. Most often it is the loner boat and the person using it has never rowed on a river. They are easy to learn when you float any moving water.
Thanks Ard, that does help! I went to their site and I still find no place for my dog to lie, which is a must as it's just the 2 of us.. Plus, living on Soc. Sec. Disability makes even their least expensive model too much for me once I have to buy a motor. I have to have a motor as I don't trust my stamina any longer.
A used one is probably going to be the answer, as you suggested, I just am leery about what abuse they've gone through.
Just about all one man pontoon boats have a platform on the back. A perfect spot for a dog to lay. Most pontoon boats are going to be out of your price range when you throw in an electric motor and battery. Will you be able to handle a heavy battery along with the boat and motor. You might be better off with a canoe that you can paddle. You will still have the problem of loading and unloading a canoe.
I think used is the only way you can swing it. Go to a Flea Market and look for an electric motor. I see them every once in a while. An old used Jon boat might work in a 10' or 12' size. It is hard to recommend anything not knowing your physical abilities.
Cabela's has some new pontoon boats in your price range but they will have cheaper bladders with potential problems. I don't know of any under $400 that I could recommend. They may not have a platform behind the seat but you can make one pretty easy. It would sit on top of the pontoons like the frame.
Frank raised some good points and as for determining the abuse level they are pretty strait forward. You can see when you look at a pontoon raft whether the exterior casings for the air bladders are scuffed, punctured, or dirty. If the boat is inflated I would get the seller to give me a written receipt stating that the boat has no known leaks and how long it has been holding air prior to the sale.
If you could find a deal like I got on the Cougar you would be golden. What do you drive? This is important when considerinng transport of any type watercraft.
Thanks Frank and Ard. I have a Ford Ranger so that should be fine. I'm just at a loss even with all of your good help. My nervous system is affected so once a fine athlete, a canoe is out as my legs probably will have me drowning within 200'. I want something small, durable and maneuverable, that I can row 90% of the time but if I tire I want the motor back up-and yes, I can handle the weight of the battery-I'm not a total gimp, lol, and can split wood, etc..
Maybe I should just start out with a small raft, with motor mounts, and give it a whirl. The motor, if I find it really necessary, can be purchased at a later date. Many new rafts I've seen online I can swing financially but a company like Intex-or something like that-is affordable but I don't want something that will leak if it hits a pebble. I don't know if their quality is Ok, or not.
If you guys, regardless of cost for the moment within reason (say $700.00 limit) wanted a small raft for occasional use what web shops should you go to? When younger, and my brother and I camped for weeks at a time in the high Sierra we bought just about everything from Cabelas. But they are too pricey for me now and I have political differences with them now. We can let that go. Thanks-and who carries Cougars?
I believe your price limit was $300 and I really don't know of anything new that you will be able to find in that range. You will have to look for used models. I would go with a pontoon for the reason that they row easier than a raft. I don't quite understand your issue with your legs as to why a canoe would not work but a raft will? Not trying to be insulting so please don't take it the wrong way. But if a raft will work why wont a canoe?