Rafts, rafts, and rafts... (fishing) - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-03-2012   #1
 
Boulder, CO, Colorado
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Rafts, rafts, and rafts... (fishing)

I found mountain buzz after doing some research for my first "fishing boat" aka raft. I've been looking at Streamtech which uses some Maravia rafts, NRS frames in
Which we can use different rafts and down river frames as well.

With a raft holding 700-800lbs (2 anglers, oarsman, frames and gear) what rafts would you suggest for maneuverability and won't blow around vs other rafts.

I understand they're rafts and will blow around, and the maneuverability thing, but some should have advantages over others, right?

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Old 01-03-2012   #2
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There's a good deal on a use Avon Pioneer self-bailer with frame and oars, etc. on West Slope Craigslist. The boat is about a 13' I think. The frame is not really a fishing frame, but you can change that. Good used Avons are hard to come by. This one has the old Avon-gray original fabric too. Wish I could afford to put it in my fleet.
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Old 01-03-2012   #3
 
Boulder, CO, Colorado
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Does Avon still make quality rafts?
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Old 01-03-2012   #4
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Well, I don't like to dis' anybody's gear, and there are a lot of good boats out there, so here's what I know/think from my own experience: I started running rivers in the late 70's. At the time, Avon was the best out there. Campways came along with some pretty good rubber, but Avon still had that double-sided hypalon that no-one else had, and it was durable. (Still is). Along came maravia. As it progressed, I think Maravia makes good boats. Then came Sotar. Again, solid boats. Maravia and Sotar are, however, a different kind of fabric, more PVC or similar, whereas Avon, Achilles and Hyside all continued with hypalon. NRS, by the way, uses hypalon (or it's equivalent, since DuPont stopped making it a few years back), so that may say something. Hyside came along with a double-sided hypalon boat too, and those are holding up really, really well. Sometime in the mid-80's, Avon did lighten it's fabric, i.e., it went from a roughly 9 mil thick double-sided hypalon to a 7 mil, built the same way. Still seemed to hold up very nicely. In the mid-90's, Avon continued with that same fabric, but changed the color to a lighter gray. Sometime between then and now, Avon, apparently, has gone to a different fabric, that is still perhaps calendered hypalon on the exterior, but neoprene on the interior. The key to this is knowing whether the fabric is calendered (pressed between rollers at high pressure) or laminated. The laminated variety of boats (Campways, which became Riken, and Achilles, although I would say Achilles are among the best of the best, calendered or not) had more of a tendancy to de-laminate over time, as well as, depending on the specs, become porous over time. This is not true of all, but of some. Avon, on the other hand, still do not seem to accumulate any of these problems, in my experience. I currently own a 1993 model year Avon, and it is solid as a rock, despite being almost 20 years old. I have not seen that many other brands around that last that long. It is quite hard to dispute that fact. BUT, I have not seen the later model year Avon's in service for that long either, so I don't know if the new Avon fabric will have the same longevity. I suspect, however, that you will still find Avon to be one of the longest lasting, best made inflatables out there. (PS I forgot to mention AIRE. Some friends I know have them, especially the catarafts, and they are quite durable. My problem with the AIRE rafts is, to me, they're flippy. I don't like the hull shape.)

More recently I've heard good things about Rocky Mountain Rafts, which are PVC.

I'm a brand-loyal person (been driving Volvo's about as long as rowing Avon's, 32+ years) so all this is just my experience and I could be wrong on any number of points.

But you can't go wrong with an Avon. And if I had the bucks and needed a small fishing boat, I'd grab that Pioneer on Craiglist. It's the old Avon fabric (proven for nearly 30 years) and looks pristine.
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Old 01-04-2012   #5
 
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The whole streamtech thing is odd to me as to why people would buy these. Maravia makes the raft,Cambridge welding makes the frames . Essentialy you are paying the middle man who doesn't build squat. I find it hard for these guys to brag about something that they don't even make. Part of the pride of calling it your boat brand would be building it. This guy writes a check to everyone slaps it together with minimal mechanical skills and takes someones money. Couldn't we all just order our own raft and slap a frame on it??? Just my thoughts on streamtech
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Old 01-04-2012   #6
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Though I'm an Avon fan (no kidding?), for fishing, the Maravia or Sotar boats, with that flat drop-stitch floor, may be the better bet. Avon has a ribbed floor. My uses are largely big whitewater. Actually, a real drift-boat may even be better. We picked up a used Smokercraft 14' a couple years ago and it's been a great boat. My buddies row it. Lots of opinions and things to learn. Buena suerte.
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Old 01-04-2012   #7
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I think your original question was about wind? Here's my take on that - - lighter, slicker, stiffer boats that sit higher in the water will be more manueverable, but also more susceptible to the wind. Frankly, when it blows hard I don't think it makes much difference. My dory gets blown around pretty good too when it's real windy. That said, I've heard it been said, that hypalon boats, which are generally not as stiff as PVC or the Sotar fabric, don't surf as much. Who knows. I would comment, tho, that the AIRE boats seem to sit pretty high in the water and be, for that reason, a tad flippy. If dumping headlong into a big hole, I'd rather be in the rubber than the PVC, but I like cavier too.
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Old 01-04-2012   #8
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I love Avons, I have and love a Maravia. And have several hundred days in each. For fishing the stiffness of the floor is preferable in the Maravia. For a raft it is my favorite fishing platform. A buddy has an Aire Puma which looks to be a great fishing floor as well. Haven't run that one but it looks good.
If you get a frame with the decked fishing floor the boat material would be less important.
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Old 01-04-2012   #9
 
Conifer, Colorado
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I do a bit of fishing as well as white water rafting. I would suggest not buying a raft, get a CATARAFT! A well built cataraft will have much less drag on the water compared to a raft which will allow you to make one more time to cast into those favorite holes. Catarafts are a much more stable platform to cast from than a Drift boat (dory). If you go with a PVC it may shave a few pounds off and may be a little bit slicker for sliding over rocks during low flow floats. You would most likely want to look into something over 14’ with 3 people If your rivers have enough flow to accommodate it. Just my two cents.
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Old 01-04-2012   #10
 
Boulder, CO, Colorado
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Please keep the info coming guys, I'm loving it. Thanks so much.
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