Aire 126DD for fishing (vs 130E or SuperPuma...) - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-08-2018   #1
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 2
Aire 126DD for fishing (vs 130E or SuperPuma...)

Been lurking quite a while but this is my first real post.

I sold my Clackacraft drift boat last winter and am in the process of replacing it with a raft. I've spent the last couple months doing research including going through many of the relevant posts on this board.

I recently saw that Aire added the 126DD to their line-up. It would be great to hear thoughts from more experienced folks on it's applicability to fishing especially relative to the 130E and SP. I was more or less set on the 130E from Aire as a little wider than the SP. The 126DD seems to fit the same profile but without the pointy nose and square bow which might add a little more room.

I'm also considering if I wanted to increase the budget into the Sotar Strike/SL or Maravia/StreamTech GreenDrake range.

My use is primarily for steelhead and salmon fishing in the PNW, mostly the Olympic Peninsula rivers around Forks (Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Calawah, Hoh) plus the Puget Sound "S-rivers" and odd trips to the Yakima, Klickitat, etc. The water is mainly flat interspersed with some II-III rapids often at really low boney levels. Usually fishing with 1 other person and a dog, often just me and the dog. Day trips only, overnight would be pretty rare. Portages around river-wide sweepers are not uncommon at all so I need to be able to drag the raft a ways (so looking at sealed floor Aires). Often drop the boat off the side of the road. The raft will live inflated on a trailer. Upstream wind close the Pacific can be a pain at times.

Thanks in advance for your perspective. Photograph of the quarry below!

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Old 08-15-2018   #2
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 6
I bought a 126DD last May. So far I really like it. It's a great 2 person raft with room and capacity for light overnight gear. It will fit a stern seat also, but there you really are creeping up on limitations in the length of the boat.

I'm no expert so take this for what it's worth - for the uses you've described I think a SuperPuma would probably be the better option. Lighter for portaging and significantly cheaper, without many obvious drawbacks day floating on flat and II/III water. Probably would track a little better also.

Certainly it'd be an easier boat to find used, try out and see how you like it.

I don't know what shipping to the PNW looks like but Gary at helped me set up a lean and mean oar frame that I'm really happy with (and was also really affordable). Don't forget that frame, seats, cooler, oars and all the other crap add a decent amount of weight and cost on top of the rubber

Questions or want a photo of the boat all rigged up, feel free to send me a PM
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Old 08-20-2018   #3
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,195
kinda surprised there hasn't been more action on this question... I saw the post along time ago but got busy and forgot about it. You're going to miss the room and convenience of moving around inside the DB, but you'll love where the raft will take you and how quiet they are.

I think the DD would be a great boat, it'll have a lot more room than a super puma and will float higher in the bony flows. I wouldn't look at the more expensive boats, unless you find a great deal... and I'm far from a fan of streamtech systems...just really heavy and easy to do yourself. In the end it's just hard to beat aire's build quality and warranty. The DD will track better given the straight section and the Puma will spin/maneuver better... keep in mind that these will be slight differences, not night and day.

If you were going to be running plugs all day or side drifting a ton, then maybe look at a strike/SL, but I'm not certain if they'd be a noticeable difference to the 126 DD. I'd love to compare them all side by side some day. You can't go wrong with any of your options, so if you haven't already, just get one and get out there and hammer some slabs!
"If you dont do it this year, you will be one year older when you do"
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Old 08-20-2018   #4
GOTY2011's Avatar
Ellensburg, Washington
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 128
You should have stuck with your Salmonfly, IMHO.
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Old 09-04-2018   #5
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 2
Thanks all. Ended up getting a SP rather than the 126DD after a lot of discussion with Aire. When I started getting really specific on the frame setup, the SP seemed to work better for what I wanted. They thought it would work, just a bit more 'experimental' than the SP which is pretty standard around here.

Had it out a few times just me and the dog and I enjoyed the maneuverability. No slabs yet but the fall coho aren't quite here yet assuming they show at all.

Derek - It certainly would have been cheaper but rowing the Clack was fun for a while and the smaller boat now suits my needs better. I almost went with a Wider Spider though and still may as I like the harder floors better than the Aire. Hope you're doing well. Headed your way later this week most likely.
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