Fishing Boats
Drift Boats

Drift Boats

The ultimate fly fishing platform - the drift boat. This is from Riverwood Boats

Drift boats are truly the ultimate in fly fishing boats. For the angler who wants a boat that is designed for fly fishing and that can handle up to Class III whitewater, a drift boat is the way to go. Outside of Montana and other prime Rocky Mountain/Pacific Northwest/Canadian fishing areas drift boats are rarely seen. And the reason is simple, really. Drift boats were designed for one thing - fly fishing the big rivers out West.

In terms of pure fly fishing ability, a drift boat is the best boat an angler can have. A drift boat is extremely maneuverable, roomy and allows an angler to easily stand while fishing. Its ability to handle moderate whitewater gives it great flexibility in what waters it can be used in, something most pontoon boats lack.

Drift boats are also very expensive. Even a cheap one costs around $2000 and that's without the trailer. They also lack the versatility of their inflatable counterparts. Still, if an angler wants a boat for one thing only - fishing the rivers out West - and can live with the boats drawbacks, a drift boat is the best choice.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Drift Boats

  • Fishing: For the dedicated fly fisherman who can live with its drawbacks, a drift boat is the boat of choice. They are easy to stand up in. They can carry lots of gear and/or people. They are also easy to cast from. Remember, drift boats were designed for fly fishing!
  • Paddling: As drift boats have a V hull, they are very easy to row. Indeed, they are designed for rowing. They are excellent for rowing over long stretches of slack water or for maneuvering into position on a river.
  • Maneuverability: Due to its excellent paddling abilities, drift boats are very maneuverable once you get good at paddling.
  • Durability: A good drift boat is made of quality wood and is very durable. While they may not withstand a sideways, high-speed collision with a rock in whitewater, they are almost as durable as a quality raft. Since these are solid boats (not inflatable), you also do not have to worry about leaks. On the other hand, they are not easy to repair, either, should a crack in the boat develop.
  • Portability: Drift boats can only be portaged by trailer. Drift boats generally are large and weigh several hundred pounds. If you don't have a trailer or don't want to cart around a boat on a trailer, a drift boat is not the boat for you.
  • Versatility: Drift Boats were designed for fishing. However, they are also very good boats for recreational floating in waters up to Class III whitewater. While not as comfortable as a raft or as fun as a kayak, drift boats still make good boats to just float down the river in. Since drift boats need a boat ramp of some kind to be easily launched, they are limited to where they can be put into/taken out of the water.
  • Draft: Drift Boats are not the best boats to use in low water conditions. They draw more water than a inflatable kayak or inflatable raft and are much more susceptible to running aground on a gravel or sand bar.
  • Affordability: A quality drift boat will run at least $2000 and will also require a trailer.

Where to Find Drift Boats

You generally just don't "buy" a drift boat online. Instead, you usually visit the various manufacturers of drift boats or the occasional retailer that may happen to re-sell them. Listed below are some drift boat manufacturers where you can go to get more information about these boats. Additionally, it is also possible to just buy the "kit" for the driftboat, where you assemble the boat yourself. You'll save money that way but be sure you are a handy person - messing up the building of a drift boat kit is a sure-fire way to be out mega $$$.

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