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Author Topic: The best small boat?  (Read 4820 times)

Offline MeepDog

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The best small boat?
« on: June 05, 2023, 08:06:23 AM »
There's a class of aluminum boat between 12-16 foot that has massive utility. Some examples include smokercraft, valco, lund, lowe, older hewescraft etc. Which small to midsize aluminum boat do you think is the best for big water like the Columbia and why?

Anyone have strong opinions about the sea nymph fishing machine? I'm going to look at one today

Offline wildfire

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2023, 08:13:25 AM »
Crestliner Sportsman 14 foot, lots of free board, flat floor, and great seat layout. These are well built boats.

Offline mcrawfordaf

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2023, 08:14:28 AM »
I've seen several Sea Nymphs in the "TinyBoat" community repurposed into casting deck bass boats. They seem to hold up to age well and I don't hear many complaints about any of the factory or original hardware.

Offline Mfowl

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2023, 08:33:31 AM »
Crestliner Sportsman 14 foot, lots of free board, flat floor, and great seat layout. These are well built boats.

I run a 16' crestliner sportsmen w/40hp tiller. I fish it on Puget Sound and the Columbia and many lakes around the state. I also use it duck hunting though not as a blind. Great platform but you still need to watch the wind and head in if the sheep start to show on any big body of water.
If I wanted a boat for the Columbia mainly I would not consider anything under 14'. I would also want something with reasonable beam/floor width and gunnel/transom height. Lastly I would want to put at least a 25hp motor on it.
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Offline Dhoey07

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2023, 08:57:54 AM »
I've got a 70's 14' starcraft windshield boat with a 40hp.  I fished the upper columbia and snake with it a lot.  Great for 2 people, 3 not so much.

Offline Stein

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2023, 09:09:30 AM »
Well, for bigger water a self bailing bow is very nice when you scoop up 800 pounds of water.

That said, there is only so much you can expect if your limit is 16', pick your fishing days wisely.  I ran a Smokercraft in the Sound for several years, caught a ton of fish and only two sketchy instances I can remember.

Offline KFhunter

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2023, 09:14:08 AM »
Not a 14 foot flat jon with 6 inches of freeboard, thatís for sure lol

I run a 14 Kalamath, itís deep v, robust but doesnít get on step very well, but rides smooth and cuts waves

Other boats are super light and get on step very well, but punish you in the waves

Iíd err towards an ocean type v for Columbia, get caught in wind and white caps pretty easy



Offline Encore 280

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2023, 09:41:24 AM »
14-16' is a pretty small boat for the Columbia, I wouldn't do it. Not only have to worry about the tide and wind but idiots that go flying by way too close or just plain run over ya.  :twocents:

Offline CP

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2023, 10:20:28 AM »
 Iíd look at a Klamath.   All welded, high sides, you can get a 20Ē transom.   Iíve never owned one but I like their looks.

PS - rivets suck.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2023, 10:45:15 AM by CP »

Offline MeepDog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2023, 11:15:23 AM »
Not a 14 foot flat jon with 6 inches of freeboard, thatís for sure lol
I've been running a 14 foot valco with a 15 hp all around the mid Columbia and 6 inches of freeboard sounds about about all she's got   :chuckle:

I have limited space so I can't fit one of those 18foot windshield boats but still want to be able to fish the wallula gap in more and 0mph winds.

Offline Chesterdog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2023, 01:41:23 PM »
I've had a 17ft lowe roughneck with 50hp mercury for 11 years and put it through the ringer.  At certain times of the year it has downriggers on both sides for puget sound salmon and dungeness crab.  In fall they come off and I attach a blind for Potholes and Eastside duck/deer hunting. We've fished all of the kokanee lakes in the state. Great boat, but as others have said, on really windy days I'd prefer to be in true V hulled boat with more depth and transom height.  My buddy claims he'll never have kids because of the pounding his junk has taken while cruising on the bow. The roughneck is a "modified V" which is better than a flat fronted john boat.  I'd say it's a good middle of the road that can do a lot.  The welds have all held.

Offline Chesterdog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2023, 01:59:40 PM »
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Offline carpsniperg2

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2023, 02:04:27 PM »
I have a 15' smokercraft Alaskan that we use on the Columbia. Very stable and has the more open floor plan. I hate having to step over rows of benches.
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Offline Chesterdog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2023, 02:05:20 PM »
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Offline Chesterdog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2023, 02:11:30 PM »
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