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what would be best for shallow water. the driest ride possible would also be helpful. Be used alot in winter. What about the floor to water distance. I will have to center alot of rocks so the greatest distance from floor to water would also be helpful. I have researched alot but never been in a cataraft. i got a few ideas and kinda looking to see if your ideas are similiar to what i came up with. thanks
 

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your number one thing with low water cats is tube diameter, i would suggest maybe a lion by aire at 16foot with 27.5 inch tubes or even a Kodiak 16foot from nrs at 28 inch tubes,if you went with a drop rail frame instead of a yoke style frame you could straddle some very large rocks. realy the sky is the limit on cats
 

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thats what i was thinking would be my best bet. the aire lion. what is the best example of this drop rail frame. get this project going.
 

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Tube diameter and waterline length length are both key to shallow draft. The Kodiak is a good design for what you are suggesting but look hard at the Lion from Aire too. When you are truly talking low water grovelling/scraping it is very hard to beat a PVC or Urethane boat. Maravia might have some fat cats with long waterline. Jacks Plastic definitely has some too. SOTAR can build whatever you want. Hypalon is a great material that can only be beat in my opinion in one way--slipperiness over rocks. Plastic boats will slide right over rocks that will stick Hypalon boats fast.

The simplest, and easiest to come-by "tunnel" frames would be the NRS Sport Cat or Universal frame.
 

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What rivers you plan to be musky fishing in? Being in summersville I'm guessing; the New, The Elk, Gauley below Jodi and maybe lower Greenbrier?

I'm asking because I can't think of a single musky river in WV (at least in your area) that would require straddling rocks...one little part of the tygart is about the only one that comes to mind right now. None of the ones I mentioned above would.

A 16' cat is a big boat...most musky rivers it should be fine but it is still big. It's also hard to fish in a cat (less room on board is one reason)....every serious fisherman I know here in WV uses a round boat from 13 to 14 feet and believe me we do some stuff that people don't think is possible in these things...mostly for smallies and trout, so this is often even smaller water then you are looking at. One guy I can think of fishes from a cat for musky in the "dirty south", but that is because it's the only boat he has.

Fishing from cats suck...unless you have a full floor, then the thing gets heavy (my uncle rows a fully decked aire jag= PIG) and therefore you are losing your low water effectiveness. Then you get into launching the thing....many of our put ins are little more than a goat trail down slick muddy banks...a big cat is a pain. We can't take my uncles jag on half the stuff I can get my 14' roundboat to.

Also think about when you hook a musky. It's chaos! You need room to move around the boat with the fish, room to figure 8, ability to easily get to fish boat side (easier in raft), room for your net man to maneuver/chase you two,room boxes for huge flies/lures.

I'd seriously consider a bucket boat (standard floor raft). It will keep you dry, is light, drafts shallow, sealed floor so you can have gear lying around (not that I suggest you do). The serious musky fishermen and musky guides I know fish from shallow drafting jet boats.

If you insist on a cat, the largest tube diameter w/ the longest waterline. I'd second the suggestion of a urethane boat like Sotar.
 

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My fishing rig is a 14' Sotar ST cat with 23" tubes. It has a seat belt webbing floor and most certainly does not suck, nor is it heavy.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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My fishing rig is a 14' Sotar ST cat with 23" tubes. It has a seat belt webbing floor and most certainly does not suck, nor is it heavy.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Mountain Buzz mobile app
Well in my defense I said "Fishing from cats suck...unless you have a full floor"...and you do have a floor.....sooo...therefore it doesn't suck, right?

Yeah I've seen you say that and it sounds awesome, but that is certainly the exception to the rule and that setup sounds to me about the best cat floor around....seriously (your setup in general sounds as perfect as a cat could get for me). But I've never heard of anyone else have a full seatbelt floor.....and getting to a musky boatside would still be harder among other things (hell, not much of a place to put a giant landing net)

It's not a personal attack bud...but I don't think it's a stretch to say cats are not ideal fishing rigs when compared to roundboats. If they were, you would see fishing guides rowing them and not roundboats, drift boats and jetboats. I've never ever seen a fishing guide in a cat.
 

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No problem, man. Here's the thing- my cat can be loaded onto the trailer without a proper ramp or winch. I can easily drag it up a beach if I have to. I can make it a solo angling platform, solo whitewater- or add my forward module and double up. You don't get that versatility with a fishing raft- they're ALL pigs. I designed and sourced this boat for flexibility. I did my Zephyr to haul a multiday load.

One of the big benefits of the webbed floor is that you can wear studded boots and not harm the floor- or the flyline when you step on it. There are benefits to a proper cat- but guides don't need flexibility- they need load hauling capacity. I get why they go that route for sure.

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