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Inflatable Watercraft Rafts, pontoon boats, kickboats, etc.

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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-08-2003 07:59 PM
Steelheader69
Hmmmmmm

I'm not sure, I do believe he must be measuring from outer diameters of his frame, not the inner diameter (which is usually where most frame makers measure, since it's the usable part of the frame. I looked at the BB pontoons at the last sportsman show, and I can tell you that it isn't ANYWHERE near the width of my boat. My boat is 4' wide inner diameter. You'll be hardpressed to see many boats that wide inside. I'd say my whole frame width overall is about 70" wide. I only make my frames wide enough to sit perfectly on top of the tube, making a more secure frame/tube connection.

I haven't built my 12' frame yet. I'd say my floor space will be about 3 1/2" wide, maybe 4. I like room/stability while I'm fishing. Gives the person room to move while fighting a fish. Nothing worse then playing a fish, and miss-stepping and tripping.

You know, I had no idea that the guy who made the fat cat worked for Steelheader. I'll have to ask Bill about that. If he did, was only temporarily. Bill has pretty much a one man operation, but may have added extra employees over the years. I looked at the tubes, they almost look like Bill made them (Bill makes his own tubes at Steelheader). If you look, you can buy a used steelheader for about $800-900 dollars. In fact, there is a guy I do believe on one of the other BB's I go to that has a 9' Steelheader for $900 OBO. The nice thing about a Steelheader, it's made collapsable. And the way Bill makes them, only takes VERY little to expand them. Just a few extra pieces when frame is taken apart, and your boat is wider.

Onto aluminum vs steel. It really depends on how you run your boat. If you plan to beat the crap out of your boat (this means whitewatering), then you want to stay away from aluminum. I only say this because of it's durability after a hit. Once you dent aluminum, it's lost it's strength. I've seen boats buckle with just one-two cross members being bent. Nothing worse then pushing your boat and watching it twist and almost buckle because of lack of support. I think I spoke about this before, but my boat has went through some class 4+ rapids. My frame was impaled on a rock off a hydraulic, and bent the crap out of the main cross arms on lower frame. The frame has worked flawlessly the last 12 YEARS!!!! Even with 1000+ pound loads on it (My boat was used as the cargo hauler, since catarafts were originally made to support lots of weight and still maneuver whitewater well). Steel still keeps most of it's strength when bent, aluminum doesn't (my friends who laughed at me for buying cataract oars YEARS ago laughed at high price, but they would go through 1-2 carlisle oars per trip since they'd bend and be ruined).

In long run, it comes down to you. I'm actually buying my tubes for my 12' boat from Steelheader. I'm desiging the frame myself. I have a friend who is a welder who'll be welding frame for me. Then I'll do the outfitting. You know, alot of times I have a hard time keeping my thoughts straight with the meds I'm on from my Doctor. If you have any specific questions I may have missed, send me an email. I'll gladly help
03-08-2003 12:51 PM
AD Pose
Bad Cats/Steelheader

I'm having trouble getting the Steelheader site on line, but here's the direction I'm heading. I'm thinking of the 10' Osprey kick boat, because of the Aluminum frame. The tubes are the same as used on the Steelheader-19" I could make my own standing platform and add a non-slip surface. I think the deletion of the platform on the Osprey is one difference. I'm more interested in the weight factor and portability, but another factor to consider is strength issues... steel frame vs. aluminum. Any comments anyone? I'm considereing the Steelheader line because of their warranty....lifetime on the frames...10yrs. on the tubes. BadCats carry a three year warranty. The few hundred $$$ in price is worth it down the road I would think. Plus the Sportsman's show is next week... maybe there could be some good deals to be had.

ADP <")))><
03-08-2003 12:20 PM
River
Pontoon Boat Width

Steelheader69,

How wide is your 2 person pontoon boat?

The BlackBear 2 person pontoon boat is 62". Is yours wider than that?

It looks like the 2 person Steelheader is a lot wider.

I would love to be able to do the kinds of rapids you are running. I just need to work up to it. Great pics.
03-08-2003 10:48 AM
River
Bad Cats Again...

I was concerned about the width. Maybe I will also ask if they can make it wider. I doubt that they will do it but here again everything you are saying makes sense.

The guy I have been talking to from Bad Cat used to work for the outfit that makes the steelheader.

If Bad Cats answer to a wider frame or the bigger oarlock tubes is yes I will try to post it here.

Where do you think they are buying their tubes? Can I get them cheaper from that place too?

My problem is that I am on a budget -- my boy is in college and I have a window of just a couple of months where I have to get it soon or I won't be able to get it until after he is out of school.

I don't think I will be able to do this but if I were to get the tubes and then the frame separately where would you go to get them?

Part of the reason his tubes are cheaper is that they don't have any bladders in them. Does Bear pontoons up in Washington make them that way?

Really, I am just getting into this but I am finding that I really like running heavier water. The Creek Company boat is 66" oarlock to oarlock and that makes it really stable.
03-08-2003 02:12 AM
Steelheader69
Here's one more pic

Here's another pic, me just coming out of the tailout. Water was just clearing up here.
03-08-2003 02:10 AM
Steelheader69
Thanks!!!!!!!!!

Ok, now I see what they are.

Ok, from what I can see. You are mostly paying for the tubes you're riding on. The frame is VERY basic. The seat is about as low end as you can go. They're using low end oars. You can do some major retrofitting on this boat (the bad cat) and be in the ballpark of a Steelheader (well I assume so, I bought mine for $1200 about 7 years ago). It looks like a good little boat, plenty of tube to keep you high and dry. But I really don't like the size of the frame. It's too narrow. I may be wrong, but looks like there is a boy of about 12 on the boat in picture at Ted's, and he's taking up most of room of inner frame dimensions. Just remember something about tubes/frames. If you have bigger diameter tubes (these are for length of tubes) you'll be floating higher. You want a wider frame for proper tracking and to help settle your center of gravity. Basically imagine taking a CJ-5 and giving it a 6" lift and try running verticle hills. You'll be bouncing all over the place. You have to realize, and as I said before, the more/better materials you use on a boat, the higher price. I'd like to know where they have their tubes made. If it's where I think, then I can see why they can sell cheaper.

In long run, it's what YOU want to do with a boat. I personally like to buy good tubes and build my own custom frame. More expensive, but I get the boat I want.

Also, alot of times it's the guy rowing boat, not the boat itself that gets you through. But, a good boat will help an inexperienced rower make it through. Prime example, if you look at my avatar, I'm running a nearly flood stage rapid (roughly a class 3/4 at time). I had run same slot in same conditions with my old Outcast. But I know what I'm doing on the sticks. Plus, I have kids now, I'm not as daring on lower end boats. LOL

Thanks for the info guys. Personally speaking, I feel the Steelheader is one of the best "premade" boats on the market. I'd save the extra cash to get one. BUT.....if you only plan to run simple waters most of the time, go with what your bankbook allows. I really use my boats. (My whitewater frame for my 16' cat has a dent in my rowers frame and cargo module from hitting a big rock dropping into a hydraulic off a class 4+), so need to stand up to abuse. Anyone up for Hell's half mile on the Calawah?
03-08-2003 12:10 AM
River
More info on Bad Cats

Bad Cat boats are made in Tillamook, Or. They seem to go to sportsman's shows a lot. I know they will be at the Central Oregon show -- I think it is in Redmond this next weekend (March 6-9).

The phone number for Bad Cat boats is (503) 815-9997.

10' boats have 19" toons (I think) and the 12' 2 person boat has 22" toons. I saw the 10' at the sportsman's show in Portland. It really looked good to me. The one thing I don't like is that the 12' only takes the smaller oarlocks with the 1/2" shafts. The boat comes with 7' oars and I think those would be worthless. The guy says he runs his 12' boat with bigger oars by taking the plastic shem out of the oarlock so that the bigger shafts fit that way. The problem to me is that you then have a brass shaft directly against the aluminum tube that is welded to the frame. It doesn't seem like that would last very long.

Basically the 12' boat has 2 of the frames for the 10'. That is ok with me. The next time I talk to him I am going to find out if he will make one with tubing for the bigger oarlocks.
03-07-2003 11:55 PM
River
Creek Company and Bad Cats

Steelhead69 -- Thanks for your posts. It is great to have someone with your experience base giving information on pontoon boats. I read your posts on ifish and Piscatorial... too.

Anyway, I have the 10' Creek Company boat and I love it. It has 18" bananna shape tubes.

I also want to have a 2 person and plan on getting the Bad Cat toward the end of this month. Search on Ted's Sport Center in Lynnwood, Wa. for a picture of the 10' Bad Cat. They may be the best value on the market right now for a nicer boat. The Stealheader would be great but it is out of my price range.

For a less expensive boat I think the Creek Company 10' boats are great -- though I had to make some modifications. IMO the seat hurts so I changed it to a regular drift boat seat. The oars seem too high so I mounted the seat on 2 2x4s side by side. I also cut the tubing for the oarlock down to where the weld starts. It was only about 5/8" but it lowered the oar just over 1 1/2" at the handle. These were great additions and really helped a lot.

I also added a pulley at the back because the anchor tends to be to one side or the other when you anchor. Then when you go to pull it up the edge of the rope guide makes it hard to pull. I haven't tried this change yet but it seems like it will work good. Even with feeling like these changes were needed the $600 price tag for the Creek Company boat is great. Oh yea, the frame doesn't fit snuggly together so I put some packing tape on the smaller ends and that has tightened it up quite a bit.

My friend has one too and he hasn't made any of these changes and is very happy with his C-C boat. He said it was the "best money" he had ever spent. We have had them down some class 2+ water with 4' rapids in some cases and the boats worked great -- amazingly stable and great fun. Creek Company seems to want to make things right for their customers too -- but don't take them in salt -- they don't cover for that.

(edited to add the tube size)
03-06-2003 12:02 AM
Steelheader69
Hmmmmm

If you do get a link to a website for Badcats. I'd like to see them. I've heard about them, but want to see them for myself.

One word of caution. You get what you pay for in cats/pontoons. There are no "cheap" cats that are brand new. Usually there is a price range, depending on size tubes you're running. But, it really comes down to what you want to use it for. Sometimes it's best to get a lower end boat. The higher end boats are made for someone who wants to run the boat hard and fish hard from it.
03-04-2003 09:17 PM
AD Pose
'Toon time

Anyone have any experience with Creek Co's 10ft cat? Pro/cons. Although they're in a different class, any comments on the BadCat pontoon boats? I don't know who manufactures them. Any leads to a web site for the BadCats? They cost more but have nice features.

ADP <")))><

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