Originally Posted by 802flyfish
I appreciate the feedback. I thought a raft might be more versatile. After going to the Madison a few times this week, it seems 90% of people floating it are on drift boats. I think my limit would be 5-6k for a driftblat and trailer. The super puma by AIRE looks pretty good as well. Any certain brand or models you would reccomend for Montana? Thinking a 14-15ft DB would be plenty. I also see that Hyde sales refurbished DB on their site with trailers and a warranty.
You can successfully fish out of anything, I know that's not what you want to hear but they'll all get you down the river. Sure there are pro's and con's.... I personally would buy an old aluminum boat - why? they are the least cool boats on the river and usually several thousand less than anything else in the bozone. They work fine, are loud and a little colder in the shoulder season but have been the work horse in the pacific northwest for decades. I started out in a 15' wood boat - I loved it but it was a lot of upkeep...bought it for $600 and put a lot of work in it. Rowed it for a dozen years and sold it for $2500. When I moved to bzn, I had it and a 12' bucket boat raft. Both were on the water every weekend for many years (I had lots of friends that didn't have a boat, so both of mine were always used). Over the years I found that I was running the rubber boat 10:1 over the DB, that's when the wife decided we could pay some bills instead of occasionally use the DB. Worst decision I've ever made - I miss that boat. I still wouldn't use it much but I'd love it when I did.
Super puma's are popular here, the most popular are 142 otters (the narrower version) then odyssey rafts...after which it's hard to track. Seriously, anything will work but nothing you do the first time will be perfect. Don't over think it.... If you want to get into overnighters or have lots of people teach to row a raft will be your best bet. If you are going to pound the river and backrow your ass off for every foot of water, the DB is far superior. I've done both over the years and I'd like to have both, but if I can only own one the raft is definitely my choice. I'll take versatility over efficiency any day.