Fishing Raft for Montana? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-25-2017   #1
 
Bozeman, Montana
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 216
Fishing Raft for Montana?

In the process of buying my first raft. I've just relocated to Bozeman, MT and I am looking to purchase a raft for mostly fishing purposes. I've done a decent amount of research so far on rafts. So far I've narrowed it down to the AIRE Super Puma and 130D. The majority of the time I'll just be using the raft with my girlfriend. I haven't floated any rivers in the area yet. For just two people, will I be better off with the Super Puma? I know the flows get fairly low towards the end of summer/ fall so I would like to have the ability to float in low flows and be able to access the small channels and so forth. I appreciate all the help !

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Old 01-25-2017   #2
 
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ChroniclesofGnarnia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 4/20
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 211
Fishing Raft for Montana

I have the 130D with a sealed floor. Fly Guide off and on past 10years and hit a lot of IV+ whitewater and over nights. My opinion the aire d and dd are one of the best boats out there, stable, smash whitewater, agile, track great, enough room for 2 and a dog for multidays. I run a cooler under captain and drybox in front with two captain boxes. Run the boat from runoff down to scrape flows in fall.


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Old 01-25-2017   #3
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 82
I think you should look at Rocky Mountain Rafts and a drop stitch floor.
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Old 01-25-2017   #4
 
Bozeman, Montana
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 216
why do you suggest RMR? Someone also mentioned a Sotar Strike. It looks great for fly fishing, just slightly out of budget.
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Old 01-25-2017   #5
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 4
Hey WalterWhite - I'm selling my fishing cat / trailer - its served me well for three years here in Wyo / ID / UT - it would kick ass in MT!

14' RMR / Cacthercraft Cat w/ Trailer! - Mountain Buzz Gear Swap
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Old 01-25-2017   #6
 
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 16
If you think you may want to do longer fishing trips like the Smith River or North Fork of the Flathead, you will find that the SP may not hold enough gear, even for 2 people. The 130D would be good if you plan on doing these type of trips, which you WILL end up doing. But even at that a 13' raft will feel small once you start loading up 2 people and 4-5 nights worth of gear. If you plan on going backpack-style (minimum gear) a 13' will be just fine. If you go for a 13' raft and an NRS frame, you can always upgrade to a 14' or 15' raft and still use your frame by converting it into a double rail. Remember, the rubber is only part of the cost. Once you start building a frame, buying dry boxes, coolers, tables, etc. it will add up fast. And being able to re-purpose your entire setup to a larger raft may have some appeal if you plan on doing so.

No question Aire builds good rafts and you couldn't ask for a better warranty. If you want to buy one set-up and be done, buy the Aire, and my suggestion would be the 130D based on the two you mentioned in your original post.

RMR makes very good rafts for being made out of PVC, and the fact that they are welded and not glued is plus. They have come a long way since their floor height issues in their early days, and the dropstitch floor option is hands down the way to go since you will be fishing out of it. The geometry isn't as sophisticated as the top tier rafts (Sotar, Maravia, Aire, etc.) but they are bomber, and will take tons of abuse for less than 1/2 the price. They were going for 15% off a few months ago for an end-of-season sale, and you still might be able to find that price if you look around (or call up RMR and ask if they still have any left at that price). The RMR isn't the same as an Aire, but they are trying their hardest to get close that that level of a raft while working with PVC, an inferior material.

To sum it up, if your budget allows, go with the Aire. And the advantages of the SP do not outweigh the lack of gear capacity, in my opinion. In the end, buy the set-up that will allow you to get out on the water as much as possible, because that's the main point to all of this!
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Old 01-25-2017   #7
 
Bozeman, Montana
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 216
Thanks for the reply. The RMR 13 with a drop stitch is only 500 less then an AIRE 130D. For me, it seems that there not enough of a price difference to snag the RMR. I will probable go on a few over nighters here and there, but this raft will be mainly used for day fishing trips. My only concern is the 13D being to bulky and not fitting into the the SP could. Thoughts?
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Old 01-25-2017   #8
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 4
I'm shamelessly plugging my boat here But for mostly day trips for two, with the occasional overnight or third party, nothing rows like a cat!
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Old 01-25-2017   #9
 
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Hampden, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 347
In my opinion the 130D will work just as good as a super puma. Both boats are 13 feet long. 130D is 6'4" wide, the super puma is 5'8" wide. That's only 8" difference. You'll be able to squeeze into a lot of tight spots with both boats.

The retail price for the super puma is less than the 130D, so that is something to consider.

I have a green super puma and absolutely love it. But there are times I wish I went with the 130D for some more interior space and elbow room when I run it as a paddle setup with 6 people. But for fishing and running steep technical whitewater the super puma is the bomb. Last summer my wife and I did a self support 8 day Middlefork of the Salmon trip. Everything fit nicely super puma.
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Old 01-25-2017   #10
 
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 16
For $500, absolutely go for the Aire, that's a no brainer! I'd go for the Aire even if it was $1000 more. If the 13' RMR dropstitch is still 15% off, that would make it $2600 for the rubber. I'm seeing the 130D for $4200, but maybe you have a better deal somewhere. If the difference is $1600, that may be worth some consideration, but if the RMR is full price, and it's only $500 less than the Aire, then the Aire is the way to go, hands down.

If you are concerned about portability, the SP is only 20 lbs lighter than the 130D. That's not much of a difference for loading/unloading. If you want to make your life much easier, and make it easier to get out on the water, definitely get a trailer. You will find yourself much more willing to hit the river if all you have to do is hitch up the trailer and take off.

If you are worried about being able to squeeze between rocks on the river, and run lower water... I'm not sure how many instances you will encounter each year where 8-inches (difference in width between SP and 130D) will be the difference between life or death. In low water scenarios, the 130D should float higher in the water for a given payload.

I don't want to make up the decision for you, and my intention isn't to push you one way or the other. I'm just sharing my experiences. I've been in a SP and it is a fishing machine on day-trips! I once heard a good piece of advice regarding buying a car: go to a rental company and rent, for several days, the car you want to buy. If you still like it just as much after several days of normal use, then buy it. It's a cheap way to test the vehicle before you drop 20k on it. See if anywhere in Bozeman rents SP's, or see if there are any Buzzards here that would be willing to take you out on their SP (The people on this forum are great, just put up a post asking if anyone will take you out on their SP. People are usually happy to showcase their rigs and tell you exactly what they like about them)!
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