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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys. I have narrowed my choices down to either a inflatable pontoon (cathercraft 2 salt steelhead) or a inflatbale raft (scadden dragonfly assault xt with frame). I am very used to the two man inflatable pontoon as I have rowed a fish cat 13 two man pontoon many times. My question is how does a raft handle in comparison to a pontoon? All my time would be spent in rivers. Is one better than the other for fishing? I would be mounting a small outboard motor to either boat
 

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get the raft.
I think this a preference decision it also depends on what you want to do.

from what you stated I would go with a cat for the following reasons.

  1. Cats are generally more friendly to outboard motors
  2. you can generally hold position in current better in cats
  3. the Cat you offered is significantly better quality

All the Scadden boats I have seen look flimsy. I would not buy them compared to the Maxxon Tubes and frames which look like a much better quality product from Cathercraft's website if you want their best go with their Jacks Plastic option. The one question that got me thinking Cat immediately was the question on the Outboard generally they perform better then a raft with one attached.
 

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I would go with the pontoon for a number of reasons. I prefer pontoons (or cataraft) because I find them to be more agile.

The cathercraft looks much beefier and has much more storage room. The frame looks much stronger as do the oars and oarlocks. It uses conventional oarlocks and oars and valves, easily replaced at any local rafting shop. It also has integrated rod storage. The tube material is significantly beefier.

The Scaddon boat looks too small for the job. The rower is too close to the caster. The boat almost looks top heavy when the caster is standing. In spite of the Scadden claims I would not take that boat into class III water. It uses a lightweight oarlock and off brand valve, not found at most whitewater shops.

The only reason to consider the Scadden is if you need to go ultra light for long hikes to the put-in.
 

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If you are floating whitewater, get a raft or cat for fishing.
If you are floating mellow water, get a drift boat for fishing.
Drift boats are the best for fly fishing, especially on mellow water.
Cats are best for outboards.
Rafts are best all around.
Disclaimer - I have a 14' fly fishing raft
 

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I know Dave Scadden marketing has a reputation for exaggeration, but I really got to call bullshit on this one. I just noticed they claim the dragonfly boat is rated class V.

This boat has a 1" dia. frame held together with push button toggles! I own one of his frames so I know what they are made of. Nothing like the beef of a real whitewater frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My outcast boat has similar sized tubing with the same connectors and after 2 years of almost every weekend use it's been fine. Bear in mind I don't run big whitewater. Class 2 at the most


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In answer to 'how does a raft row compared to a pontoon'. In my experience...

Pontoons will spin faster, and tract differently when traveling forward vs side ways. This is particularly apparent in haystack waves or crossing eddy lines. Pontoons have a greater tendency to roll off the side of a big wave if you don't hit it dead center. In the hands of an expert oarsman they can use this to surf left or right with little effort. In the hands of a novice this can spin you unexpectedly and take you off your line. Pontoons are sensitive to trim, you need to get the weight just right or the boat is sluggish and handles badly. Pontoon boats cannot be swamped and are less impacted by crashing waves.

Rafts have a greater wet surface area and more weight further from the center of mass. As a result they spin more slowly, but have more momentum once the spin gets going, it takes more time and effort to start and then stop a spin maneuver. What direction the boat is pointing has less effect in waves and eddy lines. Rafts can usually carry more gear than a pontoon of similar size. Rafts are less sensitive to overloading or being bow or stern heavy. Depending on your floor system (bucket boat, self bailer, etc) rafts can be more susceptible to big waves that can swamp the boat.
 

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I owned a Scadden boat with the blue aluminum frame- I STRONGLY caution you against that choice. I snapped a "Cobra" oarlock- actually a cheap Chinese imitation if a real Cobra oarlock. I broke every "Halkey Roberts" valve on the thing. They turned out to be EXTREMELY difficult to replace, as they are not , in fact, real Halkey valves- but an off-brand valve from Italy branded "Bravo". Halkey Roberts fixtures on pumps will crush the internals of these cheap knock off valves. The frames are so poorly welded that welding slag abrades your tubes. The straps are cheap as well, and the buckles fail......

Get the idea? I could continue- for quite a while, actually. In just one season of use, nearly every part on this boat failed.

I learned the hard way- Scadden ignored my calls and emails for months. I finally left a voice mail indicating that I would meet him at his booth at the Denver fly fishing show and stay in his booth discussing his boats with all who would listen......the phone rang minutes later with Mr Scadden promising all of the parts I needed to make my boat whole again. I sold the boat and moved on to real whitewater quality gear. It is not much more.money to get a real boat with real quality parts you can depend on. Do That!

Regarding your cat vs raft question- cats track better and row more efficiently if properly loaded. Rafts float shallower and hold your loose flyline better. Both are better than a drift boat if you don't have deep enough rivers to row. My 14' Solar cat with fishing frame can be loaded on a trailer solo- without a winch. My 15' Maravia required me to build out my trailer with a roller, bunks and a winch.

I'd be happy to send you pics or help in any way- I was in your shoes 3 years ago with a wounded wallet from choosing the wrong boat. Now I feel like my boat needs are covered really well and for many years to come.

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