Inflatable advice requested

Redrock

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Raft prices to a large degree are about materials. Do a search on raft materials and you will see why some are much more expensive than others. I was on a Self guided trip in Alaska when an older raft’s exterior skin ripped and split. Luckily it was a bladder type raft and we had a repair kit. It was still an ugly repair.
 

osseous

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As I look at rafts with an eye towards a possible custom frame (as in NRS), I see lots of ads for used dinghys or inflatable boats, especially when looking at CL in coastal areas or those with bigger water. How do these differ from the type of raft more commonly used for freshwater fishing? Most of these will have a hard transom and an open back in between the pontoons. I wasn't able to find much info on the subtle differences between these types. They seem to be a good bit cheaper but you know how that goes... ;-)
Wondering if these maybe draft deeper and as such aren't appropriate for skinnier water?
Totally different hull design from what you'd want in moving water. You need rocker and a flat floor- small dinghy RIBs have a V hull and no rocker

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AZFalconer

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Follow-up... I pulled the trigger on a used Sea Eagle foldcat 375FC yesterday. $700 included working trolling motor and 5 hp merc outboard. Was really looking for something full raft but given the price and condition, as well as potential first year use, I couldn't pass it up.
 

whiskeymagic

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Follow-up... I pulled the trigger on a used Sea Eagle foldcat 375FC yesterday. $700 included working trolling motor and 5 hp merc outboard. Was really looking for something full raft but given the price and condition, as well as potential first year use, I couldn't pass it up.
@AZFalconer I am in market for a 375 or 285 or fly fishing around my local lakes, rivers, since you've had it for a year, any thoughts? review? Im just looking for something I can toss in the SUV for a 2-3 hours of fishing, but definitely want to stand and cast. Looked at SUPs, but its more paddling than fishing.
 

tcorfey

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Follow-up... I pulled the trigger on a used Sea Eagle foldcat 375FC yesterday. $700 included working trolling motor and 5 hp merc outboard. Was really looking for something full raft but given the price and condition, as well as potential first year use, I couldn't pass it up.
Congratulations! Hope it works out for you!
If it does not you might want to look into a Portabote. It folds up rather than inflates and is pretty easy to store/setup.
 

AZFalconer

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So I've used this boat a half dozen times in the past year. Not as much as I had hoped, but still got a good shakedown... my observations...
I haven't used the outboard. The trolling motor works fine.
I added a higher seat pedestal in the rear as I'm a tall guy. I like it. But.. I bent one of the oars; too much leverage on it and it may have already been weak; need to pick up some replacements.
No issues with the craft itself. Does what it should and it's stable and comfortable.
It's not highly directionally stable though. Hard to keep it going in a straight line, especially if there's a breeze or wind. I did purchase some glue-on/removable skegs but haven't installed them yet. I am optimistic that they will provide a big improvement in directionality...
I bought a battery powered pump, the good one they recommend, and it was a huge win. Made it MUCH easier to inflate at the boat ramp.
My wife and I can now set it up or break it down for transport in 30 minutes or less.
It fits inside the back of my GMC 2500 long-bed with a camper shell, but sticks out a few feet. Just fine for moving it from the boat ramp to a campsite, but I wouldn't want to go for a long drive with it in there.
No issues with leaks.
Seems to be a solid craft and it works well for the two of us. I think it would be overkill for one person. There are smaller and more manageable pontoons/floats for a single individual.

Hope that helps. Feel free to reach out if you have more questions about it.
Charlie
 

whiskeymagic

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Thanks for the quick response. Sounds like that will work fine for trolling the lake inlets solo, hitting docks, or getting one of my kids addicted to the tug. Can't really seem to find anything else with a trolling motor that you can fly fish standing in that price range that is also inflatable. 🍻
 

tcorfey

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Raft prices to a large degree are about materials. Do a search on raft materials and you will see why some are much more expensive than others. I was on a Self guided trip in Alaska when an older raft’s exterior skin ripped and split. Luckily it was a bladder type raft and we had a repair kit. It was still an ugly repair.
Me and a buddy were floating a river in our inflatable pontoon boats a few years ago. We pulled the boats up on the beach while we ate lunch and the heat caused one of his pontoons to swell and rip the cover for the bladder. Luckily I had some duct tape and we wrapped it up good enough to finish the weekend with no leaks but, his one pontoon looked like a silver and orange sausage :ROFLMAO: .
 

Monello

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@AZFalconer I am in market for a 375 or 285 or fly fishing around my local lakes, rivers, since you've had it for a year, any thoughts? review? Im just looking for something I can toss in the SUV for a 2-3 hours of fishing, but definitely want to stand and cast. Looked at SUPs, but its more paddling than fishing.
I've had a 375 for about 2 years now. I've fished it in a few lakes and in salt water lagoons in Texas & Florida. First off, for me, it's a floating chair. I can stand up but I feel more comfortable fishing while sitting. Space for gear is very limited. Behind the seat I have a battery and the anchor. In front of me is a small tackle bag, landing net and maybe a small cooler. I can't move my feet left or right. I can only move my feet forward and back. That may not be a deal breaker for you. But it's uncomfortable when you want to fish to the side. You will have to turn the upper part of your body while your feet are pointing straight ahead.

But it gets me out on the water. It sets up fast. I use the wheels to bring it to the water's edge. So far I've wet waded to launch. At some point I'll use it when the weather turns colder. It's hard to launch and not get your feet wet.

When you assemble the boat for the first time, I had a very difficult time getting the floor board under the rubber edges. Now I cheat by using a thin metal grill spatula when I'm guiding the floor into place. It's hard to explain but it fits so tight that I find being able to grasp the rubber and coax it over the wood works best for me.

Congratulations! Hope it works out for you!
If it does not you might want to look into a Portabote. It folds up rather than inflates and is pretty easy to store/setup.
I had a port bote prior to getting the inflatable. Over 10 years. I lived in an RV. My tow vehicle was a Ford Explorer SportTrak. When disassembled, I ratchet strapped the boat to my truck's roof rack. When I got to my destination, I assembled the boat, then stored it in the truck bed. At the water it was easy to launch and recover. My boat stay assembled most of the time.

Then I got to the point where I needed to upgrade my vehicle. Towing behind an RV, the vehicle weight matters. They no longer make the Explorer. An F 150 was more weight to tow. My gasoline powered RV struggled when going over mountains. So I bought a Jeep Cherokee as a replacement. But now I had to assemble and disassemble the boat every time I used it. That got to be more work than what I was willing to do each time I wanted to fish. Plus my bote got the dreaded transom hole. I'd fix the hole but each time I folded it, the patch weakened. I was getting 3-4 trips per patch job. I finally donated it to Goodwill and bought the inflatable.

In May I sold the motorhome. Got me a proper home to live in. I'm thinking of selling my Jeep, getting a truck and buying a new portabote.

FWIW, I've had my PB in a lot of different waters. Lake Ontario, ICW, Lake Yellowstone, Kenai River, Gulf of Mexico to name a few. Using the wheels, I pulled it 1.5 miles up to a lake just outside of Seward, Alaska in the Chugach Mountains. It's a great little fish catching machine. I can take another person and a whole bunch of tackle with me. There is room to stand up and move around. A 4 stroke 6 hp engine is plenty power to push a 12 foot boat around.

Kenai River, Alaska
eagle rock.jpg

meridian lake.jpg
 
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NWADrew

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Hi all. Relatively new here, learning a lot by reading instead of writing... I'm in northern AZ, relative novice to fly fishing, but thoroughly bitten... I'm considering a boat given that most of the fishing within 3 hours of here would be much better served with one. Small river/stream, medium lakes. Near shore, slow drift, nothing hard-core. Might want to take a once-a-year trip to WY/MT/UT and fish some rivers but I am NOT a whitewater guy. I'll hire a guide for that.

Here's my criteria and some thoughts...
- Inflatable. Gotta be able to break it down and carry in the back of the long-bed pickup as we'll often be towing the travel trailer. Ideal will be break down into small segments, assemble at a campsite, slide in the bed of the truck (maybe partially deflated if needed), and drive short distance to lake/river and complete the setup. Would probably have a trailer for around home use though. Just tow it down to Bullhead or lake Mohave and launch it.
- Two people can fish. Just me and the wife. But don't want to bang rods...
- Raised seats, 360 swivel. We are both older and have back issues and don't want to do the kayak-type thing.
- Able to handle an outboard up to 5-10 HP.
- Floor we can stand on for casting.
- Durable
- Lightweight. Something the two of us old folks can carry.
- Setup in an hour or less.
- Anchor system.

I'm thinking something in the 10-12 ft range, probably with a frame so we can mount seats, motor, and anchor system, and still break it down easily. Prob needs to be under 5 ft wide to ft in the truck. Don't want to carry a 250-lb boat from the truck to the water. So lightweight and high-tech is good. Pricing is a secondary concern but I don't want to pay insane amounts, either.
Saw the Flycraft Stealth and was intrigued. Looks a bit narrow, though. Ideally I'd have something just a little wider that would allow for movement around the seats but it's pretty close. With the honda outboard package, it looks good. Still want to actually see one.
Was also looking at the Saturn whitewater rafts. Looks like I can add a frame which would allow mounting a motor and anchor system.
Looked at the NRS systems too... find a raft, outfit it with the frame with the features I want.
Saw the Sea Eagle STS 10 which looks interesting, but don't see any way to add an anchor system. I've had enough experience tossing anchors overboard to not want to do that. Worth it to me to have one of the "auto" systems.

So I"m looking for advice, ideas, anything. Not needing to buy now, just doing my research, watching craigslist, forums, etc... Not finding anyplace within a reasonable drive to go and kick the tires on one yet, either.

Thanks!

Charlie
Kingman, AZ
If you haven't made a decision yet, I recommend you check the Stealthcraft Hooligan Owners group on Facebook. We have a ton of information with images and videos that will help answer a lot of your questions about rafts in general. And the Hooligan in particular. I've had the standard Hooligan for 3 plus years now and fish 12 months out of the year on small streams to big tailwater cranking 17,000 CFS, plus farm ponds and the arms of reservoirs. Love my boat with the Suzuki 2.5 hp outboard. And deflate / haul in the bed of my F-150, as well as tandem tow behind my RV since boar and trailer are only 325 Lbs.
 

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AZFalconer

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If you haven't made a decision yet, I recommend you check the Stealthcraft Hooligan Owners group on Facebook. We have a ton of information with images and videos that will help answer a lot of your questions about rafts in general. And the Hooligan in particular. I've had the standard Hooligan for 3 plus years now and fish 12 months out of the year on small streams to big tailwater cranking 17,000 CFS, plus farm ponds and the arms of reservoirs. Love my boat with the Suzuki 2.5 hp outboard. And deflate / haul in the bed of my F-150, as well as tandem tow behind my RV since boar and trailer are only 325 Lbs.
Really like the hooligan. But I ended up with a foldcat 375 that was under $1k with working trolling and outboard motors included. Been pretty good so far. But that hooligan... :)
 
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