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3 Person Fishing Raft Recommendation

922 Views 15 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  jsheglund
Hello,
I am looking for recommendations on a three people fishing raft. This will be used 99% of the time on Colorado reservoirs with my 6 and 10 year olds. Ideally be able to have a trolling motor attached. While a trailer would be convenient I would really like to be able to throw the frame in the bed of my truck (GMC 1500 crew cab with a short bed) and inflate at the water.
Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you,
Dan
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If you don't use a trailer, do like alot of people without a trailer. Back your truck down the boat ramp, better right in the middle of the ramp, dump all of your boating supplies. Then take 45 minutes getting your boat ready while 15 other people with trailers wait to back down the ramp. This seems to be standard practice anymore at the ramps. Our society of ignorant narcissists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your very helpful post

If you don't use a trailer, do like alot of people without a trailer. Back your truck down the boat ramp, better right in the middle of the ramp, dump all of your boating supplies. Then take 45 minutes getting your boat ready while 15 other people with trailers wait to back down the ramp. This seems to be standard practice anymore at the ramps. Our society of ignorant narcissists.
 

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Take a look at Vanguard rafts. I was a dealer for these many years ago, they have a rather thick floor, that makes them very spritely, some have equated them to moving along on the water like a water skeeter. They are a price point boat, very inexpensive for what they are. I'm not a huge fan of PVC boats, but these are made better than most. I see a lot of them on the Arkansas with fishing frames on them.. Worth a look at any rate.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That would be my first choice but the reservoir closest to my home does not allow trailers, hence the inflatable.

For 99% use on lakes, why not get a drift boat? It will be much more comfortable, motor mounts much easier...in fact everything about a hard boat makes it a better tool for flat water, IMO.

For the 1% other times, head to the Colorado or Lower Fork with the drift boat.
 

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If you're looking for something inflatable at a good price point, Saturns are inexpensive rafts to begin with and you can get them for cheap if used. Have seen people bag on Saturns but I bought one and it was great and durable on calmer floats and technical whitewater over 6+ years. Was still in great condition when sold it to buy a larger raft. Would be totally fine for lake use. Saturn is also one of the makers that has drop stitch floors - which are fantastic.
 

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Your research should consider rowing performance and experience, some rafts are designed to row while others are adapted from whitewater aspects, and there’s a big difference. Floors, tube size design & rocker, frame, and weight capacity should be your hallmarks for the craft you purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This would be primarily flat water rowing

Your research should consider rowing performance and experience, some rafts are designed to row while others are adapted from whitewater aspects, and there’s a big difference. Floors, tube size design & rocker, frame, and weight capacity should be your hallmarks for the craft you purchase.
 

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In this case, why not an aluminum jon boat? 10-12ft would fit in the bed of the truck, could take a small gas or electric motor, and you can find them with oar locks ready to go.

Or as previously posted...Porta Bote.

I'm not trying to completely talk you out of a raft, I just think there are so many other crafts more suited to lakes.
 

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Weight will be your issue with whatever you decide to get. Fwiw I got a small hypalon raft because I can load it in the back of my truck with the frame attached by myself. Having it rigged you will use it more and not have to fuss with straps etc at the boat ramp. Pull it out, drop in the cooler and you're fishing.

And if you want to save get a bucket boat aka livery raft. They are way less expensive and usually see some older ones for a few hundred dollars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You talked me into spending some time exploring the idea! Unfortunately I am heading back towards the rafts as the weight capacities of 10-12' jon boats are for 2 people and 400-500lbs. One adult, two kids, and a 3hp motor would be pushing it closer than I am willing.
In this case, why not an aluminum jon boat? 10-12ft would fit in the bed of the truck, could take a small gas or electric motor, and you can find them with oar locks ready to go. Or as previously posted...Porta Bote. I'm not trying to completely talk you out of a raft, I just think there are so many other crafts more suited to lakes.
 

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You can put one of these in the back of the truck, put a motor on it easily, trailer to places that will allow trailers, and it will easily carry 2 adults and a kid or two. They are incredibly stable (you can sit on the gunnel and walk around in them - try doing that in a regular canoe), and still paddle them just like a regular canoe. Gheenoe Manufacturing, Titusville, FL

If you go with a raft, which I don't think will truly meet your needs, I'd take the advice to go with a lower price one, like the Vanguard or Saturn.

Best of luck.
 
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