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Old 05-17-2011   #1
treehugger's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 198
Mini cat recommendations

I am thinking about getting a mini cat to run rivers and fish out of. I want something that is durable and stable enough to run some class 4. And that I can load on the roof rack. I normally boat class 3/4 in an IK and I do fish out of that but it is a pain to cast out of and dealing with the kayak paddle while fishing is annoying. Anyone try running a 8'-9' cat down class 4?

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Old 05-17-2011   #2
treehugger's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 198
Anyone have any experience with Water Master pack rafts?


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Old 05-17-2011   #3
shawnywhitewater's Avatar
creston, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 23
mini cat

Ive been working on a concept all winter and finally nailed it. It is an all aluminum takedown frame that fits 10' to 12' tubes, I run 11' jacks plastics with a 19" diameter, and a set of 10' maxxon 18" diameter. The frame comes apart by pulling 8 pins and fits in a bag 5'x9"x4". I use the 7' mini cataract oars and have both a mesh floor and a solid floor. Its the best combination fish and float boat ive been in. Testing ground has been th Wild Mile in Bigfork and the Middle fork of the Flathead. Ill try to get a photo on this
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Old 05-17-2011   #4
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
I started my whitewater journey running an 8 foot Outcast Pac 800 down Alpine Canyon on the Snake many years ago. After that I was hooked, and now have a 14 X 24 Maravia Cat. I would suggest looking at the Dave Scadden boats (aka Outcast) or an Aire Bobcat or Wildcat. We saw a big group of fly fisherman in 10 ft. fishing Cats on the Middle Fork Salmon two years ago in September. They had a couple larger rafts for support, and looked like they were having a blast. They did tell us that they flipped a number of times in the bigger rapids. A 12-13 foot Cat with a lightweight fishing frame than could convert to a whitewater frame would be pretty sweet.
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Old 05-17-2011   #5
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,933
Baby boats can be some of the best tools for Class III-V rivers. I started with a JP Cuthroat and was hooked. I have both it and 14' Aire now. My friends have done the Selway with the Aire fishing catarafts in the off season. They have durability and maneuverability.

Definitely look further into the options. 8-9 feet should be fine for day trips and light overnighters. 10-12 foot would be better for multi-day (though you can do 5 day trips with one dry bag on a baby boat).

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Old 05-17-2011   #6
arkriverrat's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 113
Picked up a Culebra and couldn't be happier with the R2 experience, allows a fun introduction to WW for a novice companion. Also put together a frame for it, gonna give it a test ride on Browns this weekend, I think it'll be a blast, and I generally kayak! Expensive, but sooo fun! The Culebra is the boat going over the waterfall.
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Old 05-18-2011   #7
Gallatin Gateway, Montana
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 99
You should look at one of those Pack Cats (or Fat Cat) Chip is always talking about from JPW....Just do a search and you can find some info. They look really cool, you can set them up IK style or mini cat style depending on frame and your goals for the day. I would add one to my quiver if I was less responsible/the wife would let me....
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Old 05-18-2011   #8
AIRE Inc.'s Avatar
Meridian, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 61
Hello, just a quick clarification on Outcast boats and Dave Scadden Boats. Back before 2002 Outcast did manufacture Scadden's pontoon boats, but the two companies have since split up. If you are looking at doing class IV and you are SURE you want something smaller the 12', I would recommend the Outcast PAC boats. They are made out of the same Ferrari Brand fabric as AIREs and have a 10 year warranty. You can purchase just the tubes if you want to rig togeather your own frame.
Inflatable fishing pontoon boats and float tubes for anglers | Outcast

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Old 05-18-2011   #9
Evergreen, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 127
I own a 13" North Fork Outdoor (Dave Scadden) (2-man) McKenzie Drifter, and honestly have a love-hate relationship with it. I've floated numerous Colorado rivers, up to Class III+. I love it's light weight and it's surprisingly stable and maneuverable.

My main complaints are that toons on it are just not very bomber-proof, the frame sits you low in the water (compared to most whitewater cats), limited storage capacity (not really a multi-day boat at all but great storage for day floats), and to make it ready for Class III you're going to have to upgrade the oars and oarlocks (Carlyle's in my case), and purchase a spare, which adds close to a grand to the cost of the boat.

I also think your going to have much the same problems trying to fish out of a small cat that you have with an IK. I've found it's pretty hard to fish and be the oarsman. Are you planning on using flippers?..

that said, I'd go with OutCast/Aire.
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Old 05-18-2011   #10
treehugger's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 198
Thanks for all the input everybody! It is really helpful.
Kevdog- I would want the option to use flippers for some of the easier floats. It's nice to have your hands free to fish. Thats why I was thinking one of the smaller cats.
Tim-That cat on the waterfall could not have ended well... unless he used it as a diving platform after the pic. haha

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