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Thread: Raft and Drift Boat Shopping

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    knoxville
    Posts
    100

    Default Raft and Drift Boat Shopping

    I've been toying with the idea of buying either a raft or a drift boat for floating the local tailwaters. The big problem I'm having is the lack of opportunities to "kick the tires" on what would be a pretty expensive purchase. It would be great to actually see a few rafts and boats from several manufacturers in person; even better to actually row a few boats before making a purchase. If I buy a new car, I'm going to visit several dealers and test drive a few different makes/models before making such a big purchase. Hard to imagine laying out $5-$10k for a new raft or drift boat without doing the same.

    Any place to see some new drift boats/rafts in one place the Southeast? Maybe one of the big fly fishing shows or boat shows?

    Thanks in advance for any guidance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Great Smoky Mountains
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    858

    Default

    Here is the link to the biggest fly fishing shows around where drift and raft exhibits are common-- Atlanta being the closest. Note-these do not start until January 2020. Good Luck in your hunt!
    Click each city for date and location in tab at top.

    https://flyfishingshow.com/denver-co/

    SIDE NOTE ADDITION: Everyone has different expectations and demands, and as you mentioned it is a large expense. Maybe take a couple of 1/2 day trips with a guide in different type boats/rafts. Ask questions and see what you like plus get a great day of fishing. Also at the shows I have had friends get show special discounts and bonus accessories.
    Last edited by bigsur; 05-24-2019 at 11:17 AM.
    "It starts with a raindrop, don't let it end with a teardrop!"

    "Nothing straightens out my mind like a twisting mountain stream!"

    Follow the Great Smoky Mountain Trout Unlimited website:

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    "A true conservationist is someone who knows that the world is not given by their fathers, but borrowed from their children."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    knoxville
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    Default Towee?

    Thanks for the insight as to the fishing shows. Definitely a good place to shop.

    Any thoughts on running a Towee boat on the Clinch/Holston/French Broad. I know the Towee boats are made in TN and wouldn't be too hard for me to run over to their place, see some configurations, and one on the water. My biggest concern would be durability bouncing off rocks, but maybe with the T2 bottom and avoiding low flows I could avoid a problem.

    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by bigsur View Post
    Here is the link to the biggest fly fishing shows around where drift and raft exhibits are common-- Atlanta being the closest. Note-these do not start until January 2020. Good Luck in your hunt!
    Click each city for date and location in tab at top.

    https://flyfishingshow.com/denver-co/

    SIDE NOTE ADDITION: Everyone has different expectations and demands, and as you mentioned it is a large expense. Maybe take a couple of 1/2 day trips with a guide in different type boats/rafts. Ask questions and see what you like plus get a great day of fishing. Also at the shows I have had friends get show special discounts and bonus accessories.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,351

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by flydoc View Post
    Thanks for the insight as to the fishing shows. Definitely a good place to shop.

    Any thoughts on running a Towee boat on the Clinch/Holston/French Broad. I know the Towee boats are made in TN and wouldn't be too hard for me to run over to their place, see some configurations, and one on the water. My biggest concern would be durability bouncing off rocks, but maybe with the T2 bottom and avoiding low flows I could avoid a problem.

    Thanks!
    First things first. I wouldn’t pay $50.00 for a towee. They’re basically worthless imo and try to be too many different boats in one. They’re overpriced and just don’t perform well. In addition you are required to wear a flat brim trucker hat and drink fruit flavored beer if you own one. So that sort of sucks

    I’ve got a fleet of boats. A 2015 Hyde Pro series, 12 foot cataraft, 14 foot super puma raft and a 16 foot cataraft. I’m happy to meet you a you can see them all. They all have their best use, and all have shortcomings.

    I’m also more than happy to discuss my experiences at length if you’d like.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    knoxville
    Posts
    100

    Default

    Thanks Waterwolf for the insight and the offer. I'm slammed for the next two weeks and then out of town for the next two weeks (which maybe isn't a good omen for the amount of time I'd actually be able to get out on a new boat), but when I get back in town I'll definitely contact you and check out your fleet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Norris, TN
    Posts
    2,183

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
    First things first. I wouldn’t pay $50.00 for a towee. They’re basically worthless imo and try to be too many different boats in one. They’re overpriced and just don’t perform well. In addition you are required to wear a flat brim trucker hat and drink fruit flavored beer if you own one. So that sort of sucks

    I’ve got a fleet of boats. A 2015 Hyde Pro series, 12 foot cataraft, 14 foot super puma raft and a 16 foot cataraft. I’m happy to meet you a you can see them all. They all have their best use, and all have shortcomings.

    I’m also more than happy to discuss my experiences at length if you’d like.


    Jim, that is nice of you to offer someone a chance to learn more about boats. I agree with you about the pros and cons of finding the perfect drift boat. Also, I would skip on the Towee.

    I recommend that a boat owner make a list of where they plan on using the boat.

    Key Ideas in finding a good boat fit:


    • Make a list on things you desire/require in a boat.
    • How are you going to transport/launch
    • Storage
    • Is the boat best suited to navigate the waters you desire to fish
    • Finally; decide if they want to row, paddle, troll, or motorboat.



    Match your answers with these key ideas and you should find a good starting point.
    “Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will, & creative imagination.
    These give us the ultimate human freedom... The
    power
    to choose, to respond, to change.”



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    knoxville
    Posts
    100

    Default

    Good stuff Shawn. Thanks!

    Key Ideas in finding a good boat fit:


    • Make a list on things you desire/require in a boat.
    • How are you going to transport/launch
    • Storage
    • Is the boat best suited to navigate the waters you desire to fish
    • Finally; decide if they want to row, paddle, troll, or motorboat.



    Match your answers with these key ideas and you should find a good starting point.[/QUOTE]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Great Smoky Mountains
    Posts
    858

    Default

    May not ever worry about overloading a raft after seeing this. This is a live web shot today from a put in area in Buena Vista Colorado on the web. This guy loaded for an hour on the webcam before he shoved off. Evidently an outfitter stocking a campsite. He lashed dry bags for an hour. Then covered all with a net then shoved off barely able to see over this pile of stuff during the beginning of runoff this week. On top of that he stashed a yeti style cooler as wide as the raft behind him. Could tell not his first day at the rodeo.


    "It starts with a raindrop, don't let it end with a teardrop!"

    "Nothing straightens out my mind like a twisting mountain stream!"

    Follow the Great Smoky Mountain Trout Unlimited website:

    http://greatsmokymountain.tu.org/

    FACEBOOK: http://m.facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainTU/

    "A true conservationist is someone who knows that the world is not given by their fathers, but borrowed from their children."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Louisville, TN
    Posts
    605

    Default

    I'll take this boat just about anywhere. Been running it up the rivers you mentioned for a decade. You won't win any races or fashion competitions but it basically has 4 wheel drive. The entire engine and kit only set me back $800 and the boat was a hand me down from my grandpa

    https://i.postimg.cc/nLGkqsDn/IMG-5352.jpg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Louisville, TN
    Posts
    605

    Default

    Let me know if that pic shows up. It was taken on the pigeon in Downtown Newport, I motored up from the french broad. I also made it from downtown knoxville up to the island below Nance's ferry with minimum flow, although I had to drag a few times. It can run the entire french broad from Knoxville to Douglas dam and a good portion of it above Douglas toward North Carolina

    https://i.postimg.cc/nLGkqsDn/IMG-5352.jpg
    Last edited by elkhaircaddis; 06-20-2019 at 01:41 PM.

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