Small Fishing Raft - Tributary 9.5, MiniMax Neo or Other? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 02-02-2014   #1
 
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Small Fishing Raft - Tributary 9.5, MiniMax Neo or Other?

Hello,

I am in the process of putting together a small lightweight fishing raft rigged out for 2 people. I am looking at the Tributary 9.5, The MiniMax Neo, maybe the RMR 10'6" Storm. I have looked at JPW Fat Cat and Sotar 10 & 11 footers but they are more than I want to spend. This will not be my primary raft but more of a niche boat for difficult put in & take scenarios so I would like to keep the raft under $2500. I already have a Streamtech Salmonfly 13.5' (incredible boat) and 2 water master Kodiaks but need a light boat I can put one angler in. I am leaning toward the Minimax Neo because I think the extra 1.5 feet might come in handy + it weighs the same as the Tributary 9.5. I also like the black "stealth" (although it will get hot in summer) look & the fact that it will roll up fairly small.

For a frame I am looking at the NRS Fishing Frame or Bighorn. I am not sure the raised seat on the fishing frame is necessary and I am thinking a NRS Bighorn with a quality cooler and seat might make better use of limited space + I can always buy the bar for the fishing seat separately. Thoughts?

From what I have read, 7.5 - 8' oars will work well for a 10 - 10.5' boat, any recommendations for good light oars? I am looking at Sawyer SST Camo Oars in either 7.5 or 8', are these "stout" enough for a Minimax or 9.5 Tributary? They have a 1 1/4" shaft and spoon (shoal) blades for shallow water which I really like and they fit in Mini Cobra oarlocks. I would also like to make a custom anchor system.

I would appreciate any feedback & thanks! - Lawrence

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Old 02-02-2014   #2
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Aire Traveller?

I paddled a Mini Me on new years, and while it was fun, I couldn't imagine 2 anglers in one of those fishing. I'd go with a 10.5 boat. I don't think the black boats are worth the price drop, that thing will be miserable in sunlight, even on a cool day. The temperature fluctuations and the real possibility of burning yourself just does not sound fun. Don't get me wrong, I think they look badass, but even here in the gloomy NW, I wouldn't like paddling in it.
I have a wife and 2 kids, the 10.5' Max looks pretty good. I think that the new Storm looks pretty good, but for the difference in cost I'd rather have the Hyside. 600 bucks is 600 bucks, but I'd bet the Hyside will last longer and be lighter. I really like the quality on my buddie's Mini Me, they are cool little boats.
If you are looking at a rig to fish from, an inflatable Canoe like a SOAR or an Aire Traveler might fit your needs better. When you talk about carrying in, if you are talking about inflated or rolled up they would be easier and I know Aire has a row frame for the Traveller. They are in the same price range, and they will haul 2 people and some gear. Still around 2 grand also. They open up the option of no frame and a paddle to pack in on lakes. Something to look into.
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Old 02-03-2014   #3
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 6
Check out FlyCraft www.flycraftusa.com - they're an SLC company that just started making 2 man fishing rafts. They were at the Sportsmans Expo in Denver and look pretty good. My buddy actually put a deposit down at the show - they were offering the full package for $2500 and i think full price is over $3K.

It's small but a sweet 2 man set up or you can add a rear seat for a 3rd.
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Old 02-03-2014   #4
 
denver, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 141
Those flycraft certaily look like a sweet two man rig that would allow you to run some pretty skinny water. Plus with having a bigger boat too....I think it would be sweet for short day trips.

The only thing that stinks is it is PVC, and with a portable small boat, it would be nice to have hypalon that you could roll easily and not ever worry about. Especially for horse packing in. I also wonder how the frame packs down, their site doesn't really show you.
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Old 02-03-2014   #5
 
elkhaven's Avatar
 
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence S View Post
Hello,

I am in the process of putting together a small lightweight fishing raft rigged out for 2 people. I am looking at the Tributary 9.5, The MiniMax Neo, maybe the RMR 10'6" Storm. I have looked at JPW Fat Cat and Sotar 10 & 11 footers but they are more than I want to spend. This will not be my primary raft but more of a niche boat for difficult put in & take scenarios so I would like to keep the raft under $2500. I already have a Streamtech Salmonfly 13.5' (incredible boat) and 2 water master Kodiaks but need a light boat I can put one angler in. I am leaning toward the Minimax Neo because I think the extra 1.5 feet might come in handy + it weighs the same as the Tributary 9.5. I also like the black "stealth" (although it will get hot in summer) look & the fact that it will roll up fairly small.

For a frame I am looking at the NRS Fishing Frame or Bighorn. I am not sure the raised seat on the fishing frame is necessary and I am thinking a NRS Bighorn with a quality cooler and seat might make better use of limited space + I can always buy the bar for the fishing seat separately. Thoughts?

From what I have read, 7.5 - 8' oars will work well for a 10 - 10.5' boat, any recommendations for good light oars? I am looking at Sawyer SST Camo Oars in either 7.5 or 8', are these "stout" enough for a Minimax or 9.5 Tributary? They have a 1 1/4" shaft and spoon (shoal) blades for shallow water which I really like and they fit in Mini Cobra oarlocks. I would also like to make a custom anchor system.

I would appreciate any feedback & thanks! - Lawrence
I've thought about doing something like that as well, infact I took the first step this year which was to replace my 13' boat with a 15'er. Thus opening the door to an 11'+/- boat in a few years for small river fishing and jump shooting ducks...

I would steer away from the neoprene as well, it's much less stiff than the other materials, couple that with something that will see massive temperature swings and I see it as a royal PIA to keep stiff enough to fish out of.

Regardless of how you accomplish it, fishing from a raised seat in a raft is as good as you can get IMHOP. It is a really effective way to fish out of boat, much better I think than standing in front of a driftboat. Usually this set up is such that the seat places your upper body at nearly the same position as if you were standing but if you keep it close enough that the fisherman can put his feet on the bow then you have great height plus and extrememly stabile and mobile "stance". I'd personally guess that the NRS bent bar seat would probably be the lightest and simplest to have set up, but you could go off a bench with a bolt on post (I've done both over the years). The bent bar placed in front of a drop bag while rowing from a cooler would be a pretty simple and effective set up...

As far as oars, I'm sure the SST's would be fine but I personally would get something that was interchangeable with your big boat. You may need shorter shafts but having the same blade size, oar locks and such be interchangeable is really nice. The SST's look nice and if that were to be my only use for oars I'd probably go that route, but as you have another boat, having duplicate parts that can work on either would be impossible for me to pass up on. I've pretty much always had at least two river boats, usually a drift boat and a raft and I've definitely benefited more than once having parts that could be used on either. Plus, since your from Bozeman and have two boats it's my prediction that you will be hauling both around more than you think right now. You'll always have some buddy that want's to tag a long now that you have two boats...

I would sooner float without a floor than without an anchor, but I'm not sure how you'd effectively do that on a little boat. Of course you could always buy a stern frame (either NRS, or the little strap on types) but I'd guess once you did, you'd have a place for a third seat thus defeating the purpose of a little boat. I have lots of ideas for DIY anchor systems but they vary a bit based on what you have to attach them to. I know it sounds ghetto but a simple anchor and rope that you toss over the side might serve the purpose of your mini fish slayer, at least until you figure out a better way that isn't too complicated. The anchor I think will simply be limited by how simple (and light) you want to keep your set up. My first was simply the legs from an "old folks shower stool" (sorry don't know what else to call them)
Attachment 7632

with a sheet of ply wood bolted too it. off the back was one of the little anchor brackets:
Attachment 7631

It's a simple set up and you can almost always find one of the shower stools at a thrift store. This style system might hold another seat but you could probably convince your buddies it wouldn't be safe and keep your boat a two seater...
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Old 02-03-2014   #6
 
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Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
Here's my Hyside Outfitter 12 with a stern anchor set up. I didn't want the stern seat, so I ordered the NRS stern motor mount & a plain bar to got across the back. Cheaper than their stern fishing seat set up. The bar in this picture is a bit short & I have a longer one that worked better with the anchor system.
NRS Motor Mount Stern Side Rails at nrs.com

Too bad you are in Montana, as I'm selling this raft, frame, & oars. It would be a great little boat for 2 to fish from, and I did a weeklong trip with it last spring.
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Old 02-04-2014   #7
 
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Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 206
Given your constraints, another vote for the Minimax. If you don't think you'll be carrying the boat in, you should consider a Puma. I don't know if the NEO would really get much hotter than than a dark blue or green boat in the sun. NEO rolls up tighter and is lighter weight than Hypalon. Call Brandon at Hyside and see what he has to say and weigh your options.

The Mini Max I've used rows like a dream with a 48" wide NRS frame and a set of 8' SGG Cataracts. Just get a set of 65" side rails that you can cut to fitt, two straight 48" crossbars, and then make a couple of seat boards out of 1x pine that sit on the side rails (with a cut out for the LowPro and lay across the cross bars. A few strap holes to hold it in place and an ensolite pad strapped under your butt is the only other thing you need and you have a solid, light set up.
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Old 02-04-2014   #8
 
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Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 121
haters are going to hate

Hey there, I rock a 9'5" saturn that i picked up for 899$. I know people hate on saturn on this site but my little boat is rad. I can throw it on top of my van with no help its only 80 lbs without the frame. I built a frame with NRS piping but would prob go with a bighorn? from nrs if i did it again. I saved a couple bucks but i was a bitch to drill all the holes and cut the pipe to length...etc. I put the 10" nrs oarlocks on and angle them out a bit to get more leverage on the oars. I'm using 8' carlile oars which give me plenty of power to move my little boat. I also have 7 footers that i use for bigger whitewater or tight spots, they are not great for flat water or windy days. This is also a fun boat to R2 or stick two friends up front and guide from the back. I 'm in steamboat so the yampa town run and upper C is mostly where I played. I did take it on two overnight this past summer and had room for a cooler, grill, 2 dry bags, small groover, 7 gal water jug, my homie and his small dog! it was tight but we did it. I also ran the blue, shoshone @4000, and the eagle @ 3500 last summer and it handled well. I really beat up my gear and this raft held up well. I took it out 60+ days and have had no problems with it. Its a great boat for the cost. Good luck
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Old 02-04-2014   #9
 
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5
Thanks for the good input and interesting ideas! Specifically, my idea is to use this boat for areas where there are no boat ramps so I can hike it in on a wheeled cart short distances. I am really leaning toward the MiniMax and this size and weight are exactly what I am looking for. I have an new NRS Bighorn 1 48" x 65" frame and a NRS angler seat bar, just need a boat! I want this boat to be totally configurable, 75% o f the time I will be using this boat for access and do my fishing out of the boat.

There are some really nice photos on line of Triibutary 9.5 with the rowing seat basically on the stern & it seems to have enough room for 2 anglers if set up right. I'm still waiting for someone to chime in in the Trib 9.5.

I am really pulled toward the MiniMax NEO, I like the retro-ness,color, price, durability, urethane bottom chafers, and packability. The color seems to have potential +'s and -'s. I fish enough in cold weather that the heat of the boat might be welcomed at times. I have a dark green maraca, will a black boat be that much different? . It is primarily going to be set up with a fishing frame (90%) and a paddle boat (10%). I live in Montana and it does get hot in August/Sept but is that a good reason not to buy a black boat???

The Hyside Crew says: "One more thing to keep in mind with our NEO line is it's not the Neoprene you're probably used to, with the "baby powdered" look. Our Neoprene fabric has been rotocured and has a nice sheen to it, as you can probably tell from the pics".

Making decisions on items you have not seen first hand is difficult! I'm just imagining a unique, stealthy, two person fishing access machine!

- Lawrence
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Old 02-05-2014   #10
 
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Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
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I think you'll be happy with the Hyside. Mine is very well made. Brandon at Hyside is great to talk to. I'd shoot him an email with your questions about the Mini Max Neo. Hyside sometimes has free shipping deals.
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