Originally Posted by ob1coby
Yea, I boat mostly smaller rivers, but right here in my backyard is the mighty Mo. My raft is hanging from some rafters in a temp controlled environment for the winter and it wont come out until it can stay out for the 16Summer. Buuuuut a few weeks ago I heard the fishing was really good on the Mo and after looking at it i wish I had a drift boat (or dory) that is always on a trailer ready to go that I can launch in the winter and early spring months when I'm bumping up against sharp Ice. Maybe I'm being paranoid but I don't want to get a rubber boat out in those conditions. Am I being too careful??
Driftboats are nice and one of their primary uses for me is winter fishing, but I do (or should I say used to, BC) get my raft on the water in winter time... particularly jump shooting ducks. I do not think you need to worry about ice hurting the rubber (plastic?) but I'm sure issues are more common in extreme conditions. I've personally have never had a problem running a raft in shitty weather, temps down well below zero several times duck hunting. I even used to "roll" my hyside on the road side at 5 degrees. Not easy and I don't suggest it but it can be done. Anyways, if the river is flowing ice, you won't be fishing so stay off the water. I've never found ice to be that sharp anyways, not sharp enough to leave a permanent mark on a boat. I can't say I've purposely ran into ice though either. I definitely take extra care when it's really cold, mostly because things get brittle and because a getting wet can be a whole different issue at those temps.
Back to DB's in winter, the big plus for winter is the use of a heater. We run a Mr. Heater or two in the boats we use in winter and they make a huge difference. This is not something I've considered in my raft, nor am I likely to any time soon. As for the Mo, think motor, or better yet Jet = quick access, no shuttle great fishing layouts and you can lap productive sections (not that you can't row up the mo in most places, but a motor is a lot easier).
Really Ob1, driftboats are great if you've got that cash, get one. When you use it you'll love it. But to me, it's just another hole in the water to throw money into. When I'm rich and famous I plan on getting (building) another. But that ain't about to happen any time soon.
See you out there!