Jul 4, 2016 at 8:40 am #89196
Hey everyone – I know there have been several prior posts on the optimal boat, but would like to restart the conversation as I am just starting my search.
I will primarily use it to drift rivers in the southeast (especially the hooch as it is my home water), but would like to be able to take it on relatively calm open water (to chase carp perhaps, or intercoastal/inshore water for reds and perhaps have the ability to pole it). I’d like it to be able to row fairly easy (my wife is interested in rowing) but also be able to house a relatively decent size outboard, and have decent walk-around ability and stability for our dog and growing baby girl to be able to take trips safely.
To this end, I’ve honed in on the 16′ Stealthcraft ATB, Towee Calusa, and Adipose. I know there are several other quality builders in the industry and am happy to hear about anyone else’s opinions on other boats.
Does anyone have an ATB or Calusa (or rivermaster) in the Atlanta area and be willing to take me out for a row? I would really love to be able to row one and see how it feels.
Thanks in advance to any opinions out there.
SammyJul 7, 2016 at 7:36 am #89199
You’ve got to understand that every boat is a compromise. I have a Gheenoe (which is pretty similar to a Towee, but poles skinnier and drafts less) and a Clacka Headhunter II, which is what Adipose basically copied (a western pram).
They have totally totally different applications. Poling the Clack on the carp flat would be outright impossible, and I would not encourage anyone to try to sneak up on a carp with oars no matter what craft. Likewise floating the Hooch in a Towee and trying to backrow it safely through the Devil’s Racecourse would be a nightmare not to mention no fun to fish out of.
There is no such thing as an all around boat for every application. Broadly, there are two kinds of boats: motor boats and drift boats. The drifters you see equipped with motors are primarily used to drift down then motor back upriver through water they just crossed–those motors don’t make them appropriate for open water nor for chasing flats species.
I think you need to start there and ask yourself which fishery you are going to spend more time in. If you’re mostly talking about floating the upper Hooch for trout, you could probably (probably!) make due with a Towee, but it wouldn’t be perfect. The Towee is a better choice for carp but in our area waters there are numerous flats that it just drafts too much to pole onto, especially with all the kit people generally attach to them.
In my opinion for carp/redfish/flats fishing what you primarily need is a broad, skinny boat with lots of displacement. The River Hawk, the wide-transomed Gheenoes, or an actual flats boat a la East Cape or Hells Bay are your best choices. The Towee has a rather narrow design which puts a lot of weight down on the rear part of the hull, especially with motor, tower, gas, and a poler back there, but they are well made boats.
Conversely for the river float you need a rockered craft with casting braces, and if you have a motor at all, you’re better off with a jet around here. Some guys do use jet sleds like they have in Alaska, which can be back-rowed, but you’ll be fishing with a motor in your face the whole way down.
Bottom line, I think you are truly describing two different boats.
ZachJul 7, 2016 at 8:51 am #89201Jay MalyonMember
Just do what I did and buy 4 different boats!
Seriously though, if you want to fish the river, carp flats, some inshore stuff, have room for the family AND have an outboard, I’d give up on rowing and just get a 16′ jet jon. Like Zach said, all boats are a compromise, especially in Georgia where you need different boats for different bodies of water, but a small aluminum jet jon should meet MOST of the requirements you are looking for.Jul 13, 2016 at 8:19 am #89207
Zach, Jay – thanks for your input. I’m coming to the realization that multiple boats is optimal for our applications, but money and space make that an impossibility right now.
I think focusing on a boat that does best drifting our SE tailwaters is the ticket for now.Jul 14, 2016 at 7:41 am #89208
Sammy, one possibility no one has mentioned yet is a Supreme or Shawnee outfitted with both rowing oars and a jet outboard. That’s a more expensive option but it does have excellent cross-purpose applicability.Jul 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm #89217
Just checked out their website – thanks for the tip. Slick looking boats. Have you ever sat in or rowed one? Their predator skiff looks really similar to the adipose.Jul 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm #89221
Sammy, absolutely. The Predator is basically the same as an Adipose but may be a little less expensive. (Little less polished looking too, but a good boat). The Shawnee and Supremes are their own completely different animal. Those are huge, versatile boats. The only thing they don’t do well is twists and turns.
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