Aluminum boat for PS and beyond... What do you use and like/dislike?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Brooks Werner, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. I'm in the market for an aluminum boat. Originally I was leaning towards a 16-17' with 50-70hp prop and a trolling motor. Now I don't know.

    I will primarily use it for the Sound although I'm also hoping to use it around the SJ Islands as well as possibly the Columbia or Snake. I'm curious what other guys find effective in similar boats. Jet or prop? 16' enough or go 18-20? I will only be fly fishing and have 1 or 2 other people with me, but want to be comfortable and have enough power. Are there any other things I should watch out for or preferences you have in a setup? I've heard conflicting reports specifically on the jet or prop question in the salt with crud in the water.

  2. Brooks - might be selling my 17' Triumph tiller steer. IME rotomolded PE is the best hull material for a working / fishing boat. Sent a PM. Google Triumph boats.
  3. 18ft with good Deep V Hull is plenty good for PS. I also personally think keeping your boat below 18ft is cheaper to maintain/use.

    I prefer prop, jet is only good for rivers.
  4. 18-20' with a high bow and lap strake sides for superior handling and smooth, dry ride in rougher water. 4 stroke 50hp or more depending on LOA/weight, etc.
    I prefer center consoles and welded hulls although some I know have no problems with "riveted" hulls.
    The 20'er here is a good example;

    Plenty of good "used" choices to be found if you're patient.
  5. In the sound you want a prop. For fishing I would want a tiller or center console. Windshields get in the way and take up usable space. A lighter riveted boat would be the most economical choice, but it's gonna pound in the chop. A heavier welded boat with more v will ride a little better, but take more power to push. If the boat is mainly going to be used in the sound you might want to look at glass.
  6. don't forget to take into account the launches you will likely be using. low angle without docks? lots of dragging on gravel and oyster beaches? steep concrete ramps with year round docks? makes a huge difference in how much and where you will use a specific boat.

    also, be honest about where you are going to be fishing 95% of the time and get the boat for that... and get the biggest boat that fits your needs... it'll save you another purchase in a couple years.

  7. I just went thru this a couple months ago.

    I asked the same questions, and received the same advice. I was looking at a slightly smaller boat, but same concept. Wanted something lightweight to throw in at some of my shitty local launches, and just cruise the shore lines. I bought a 15' Smokercraft Alaskan Lodge with a 25 HP Merc 4 stroke. It is truly ideal for everything that I bought it for.

    The problem is, having been on the water the past couple months, I am now wanting to more than I anticipated. My wife discovered that salmon fishing from a boat is great family time. My son would rather do few things than go fish from the boat. We've done Sekiu a handful of times, Gig Harbor/Pt. Defiance, Blake Island, Hood Canal etc... And it's performed great, but it's limitations quickly become obvious. If you run out to Blake and it gets nasty, it's a brutal run back. When the skies open up and I'm out with my wife and son, it's pretty miserable. I could go on and on. Basically, just 2 months after buying that boat I am in the market for a 17' Arima Seachaser. I feel this boat will allow me to do 85% of the salmon and bottom fishing I want to do. It won't be as good for cruising the beaches, but such is life.

    Just a few thoughts. I will have plenty of open seats over the next couple months, so if you'd like a chance to come fish off one just shoot me a PM sometime and we'll arrange something.
  8. you could get some of the arima benefits and not lose the bow fishing space and ability to launch at crappy launches by getting an aluminum boat with a walk-through like this (not specifying a brand, just a style). i just sold a 16' arima and the arima 17 will be an awesome sekiu / neah bay boat. arima's are a great rough water boat for their size. when i was out in the 16' it felt way bigger than it was.


  9. Chris, believe me if I didn't have others to consider I would definitely look hard at something along those lines. The issue is that my wife flat won't pee in a bucket on deck. If I don't want to consantly run her in to pee every few hours like I currently have to, then I had to start looking for something with a cuddy to stash a porta potty. I've always loved the Arimas. I've fished off a couple, and I think for our family it will make a good compromise. I like the stability and all the room on the fishing deck, while my wife likes the cuddy for the porta poddy and the canvas to keep her out of the elements. My son will enjoy hanging out in the cuddy. Hopefully it'll be a win win win.
  10. That is why you need a wet boat with scuppers - just pee on the deck and throw a bucket of water on it.
  11. Good feedback here, good points about ramps. I sold my 16.7' Crestliner 50hp EFI prop this year. It was a great boat for fly-fishing PS and Columbia river "lakes" (not sure how a prop it would have worked on the Snake or upper Columbia), but ultimately it was too small for the ocean so I upgraded this year. I loved being able to beach it almost anywhere or launch the boat alone from a makeshift beach ramp or any basic concrete ramp that didn't have a dock. I will miss that with my new boat. Having had my solitude destroyed too many times by jet boats, I would never consider having a jet on a boat that was going to be used in salt (although in the fog you would be heard from 3 miles away).

    The basic question you need to decide is if this is going to be a "family boat" or strictly a no-frills, fly-fishing boat. If you're in Nick's situation (wife, kids, other water activities like skiing, cabin needs, etc) then that's likely going to force you to compromise on some things, primarily open space fore and aft for fly casting (it always amazed me that my little crestliner had more open deck space than the majority of the much larger cabin style boats I'd see on the docks at Neah bay). For a fly-fishing set-up for 2 guys I would suggest:

    A bow mount trolling motor.
    Bow rails if they are an option. Saved my ass several times from taking a swim when fly casting up front and waked unexpectedly by another boat.
    Center or side console.
    Pass on the baitwell if an option. Last year I had an issue with the vinyl fitting for the baitwell drain. It cracked in half on the inside of the transom and rapidly flooded my bilge. I never used the damn thing (except for storage) and it almost sank me.
    16' and 50 hp is enough for the sound and islands for most conditions for 2 guys, but you will not really lose any of the advantages described by getting a similar style 18-20ft alloy boat and more freeboard. Indeed, in hindsight I would have been better served to get a bigger boat as I outgrew the limitations of my Crestliner within 6 years. Good luck.
  12. Aluminum boats are nice and light to tow and power but they beat you up when running in some chop. Im a glass boat guy but can see where a smaller aluminum boat 16' to 18' would be handy for Puget Sound so you can just drag it up on the beach and get out and fish if so desired. That being said I would not trade my Tiderunner for when it comes to running through wind waves.
  13. Jonathan, which Tiderunner do you have?
  14. 18' 1986 runabout style with a 90hp 4 stroke Suzuki and a 6hp 4 stroke Honda kicker. Lots of room in the runabout style tiderunners.
    Evan Burck likes this.
  15. Nice ride. That's a sweet PS boat for sure. I've looked at a couple of their cuddy cabin boats similar to the Arimas. Nice little boats.
  16. Not a fan of the cuddy cabin style boats just because there is less fishing room.

  17. Agreed. But when you have a wife generous enough to let you fish whenever you want, and is willing to let you buy another new boat, her resquest of a place to pee is a pretty minor sacrificeon my end.
    Kcahill and Jonathan Tachell like this.
  18. Thanks for all the input, there's definitely lots of good options out there. I will probably use it occasionally for 'family' trips, but that'll probably only be around the Columbia or other large 'lakes'. It will primarily be a fishing boat for sure. And like you guys pointed out, running it up on the beach would be a plus for me!
  19. Get the wife one of these. My wife has one, and it pretty much makes it easy for a girl to go wherever a guy would.

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