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Deciding on a boat...

Discussion in 'North West Michigan Streams and Rivers' started by Nick Keith, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. Nick Keith

    Nick Keith

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    I have finally made the decision that it is time to upgrade to a more versatile boat. I have narrowed it down to a Stealthcraft ATB. The only real decision I have left is if I go with the 14' Pintail or the 16' ATB. I live in Grand Haven and want something that I can run the KZoo, Grand, and Muskegon with a motor. Take the kids for blue gills on nearby lakes, but also want something smaller enough that I can float some of the smaller rivers without a motor and get it in and out without adequate launches. Any advice from people who have a 14' or 16' ATB would be appreciated.

    Also, if there are any options you cannot live without or you wish you would have added please let me know.

    ***I also have for sale a Hyde Aluminum High-Side drift boat. It is a great drifter and comfortably fits 4 guys. Just not versatile enough for what I need now that I have kids. It is on craigslist for $1950.
     
  2. Nick Keith

    Nick Keith

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  3. koditten

    koditten

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    StaticSilveraydo likes this.
  4. Nick Keith

    Nick Keith

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    I ordered a Stealthcraft 14' Pintail. They have more room than I was expecting and it is light enough to portage by hand if needed. I would still love to hear of any options that others have ordered as I can still add on to what I ordered if needed.
     
  5. AdamBradley

    AdamBradley

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    Don’t have one personally, but have fished out of 3 of them regularly with buddies. First goes without saying, anchor winch. Other options are totally up to you of course, but one thing to watch out for is the rod tube sizes if you still have input on that. My one buddy cant put his plugging rods in the tubes because guide frames are too tall.... if you do plug, I highly suggest a winch switch in the oar handle end
     
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  6. Nick Keith

    Nick Keith

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    Thanks....My buddies told me the same thing about the River Larry. I am adding it.
     
  7. PERCHDOG

    PERCHDOG

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    I picked up an ATB last fall. I really like the boat, I had a difficult time deciding between that and a SuperFly. Ultimately it came down to the slightly larger foot print and I do plan on taking it out on the Detroit River here and there. The River Larry is a must... My girlfriend thought I was crazy spending a grand on it, after a few trips she thinks its the coolest thing on the boat.

    Be sure to upgrade the oars, I went with Sawyer Square Top Shoal Cuts for 5 beans. On the interior I went with glassed in rear box, wish I would have went removable. I also had them add full length western tray, not as wide as normal full length but also not to bad to step over. It has one tube forward and one tube to the rear plus three additional underneath. Yes the tubes are small, I was not aware of any options. Other than that because I plan on dragging this thing all over the state I went with Vortex bearing upgrade on trailer.

    I love the boat, good luck with yours. Mike seems a little gruff at times but I think his outfit and the people he employs are top shelf

    IMG_1340.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  8. Nick Keith

    Nick Keith

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    I have been kicking around the idea of getting a removable box in the rear. Right now I just have a standard pedestal, but I think I want the storage. Why would you suggest the removable instead of the glassed in?

    I got a double tackle tray. I am not worried about the rod tube size as 95% of my fishing is with a fly rod. I plan on putting some miles on this trailer around Michigan and even out west, so maybe I should consider the bearing upgrade as well. Thanks for the suggestions. I just need to make sure that my wife doesn't find this spec sheet!
     
  9. PERCHDOG

    PERCHDOG

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    The storage is great, high and dry for sure, sometimes I would like the option to remove it completely though. Also I am not so impressed with the Tempress seat mount, it works great if facing the stern but flip it 180 degrees so your facing the bow and it tends to walk out of mount.

    I really like to sit in rowers seat facing towards stern, it is very sturdy seat, I go about 280 lbs. I am a little more comfortable not sitting right at back of boat but we have only fished with two people all the times we have been out. Also when I do get it out for vertical jigging I will be using transom mounted trolling motor and I think I just like a big dance floor.

    The downside of removable box I thought would be questionable sturdiness of the mounting system, I have been rocked pretty good on the Detroit river and not so sure of the nylon straps and buckle system I have seen, also I think I would trip over nesting blocks for the box. This is very nit-picky stuff, not really a big deal at all
     
  10. StaticSilveraydo

    StaticSilveraydo

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    I've got a 16ft ATB I purchased last year. I absolutely love the thing, has been a great boat for me thus far. For me, I like the bigger footprint of the 16ft, along with the extra room for a couple buddies. I fish the Manistee, PM, and Tittabawassee/Saginaw Rivers with it primarily (am from Midland but fish the west side on a near weekly basis). I've had it out on numerous lakes without any issues, only time I got a little scared was in 4ft or bigger waves on Hubbard Lake on day, just had a little water crashing up inside but handled it surprisingly well!!

    I've got a 30hp Tohatsu on mine which is plenty of motor for the rivers and style of fishing I do, plus a 30lb thrust trolling motor I'll clamp on in the summertime (which is MORE than enough power for it lol).

    I don't think I would want anything smaller than the 16ft unless I was going to switch over to fishing skinny water all the time. Navigating a smaller stream is pretty easy, you do need to give it a little more grunt than you would a traditional drift boat when oaring, especially with a few bodies on board. Yet that is another thing that doesn't bother me at all, putting a little extra effort and thinking into it is fine with me given the versatility of the hull.

    As for "must have options" I absolutely love having the led headlights in the front and rear of the boat. Not only do they make launching it and navigating in the dark much easier, they also help a ton for backing up the boat at home late at night when you're tired! Also, I absolutely love the removable rear seat with the storage beneath it. I use my cooler as a rear seat in the summertime, and in the winter I use the seat/storage box combo for extra storage in the crap weather. Plus in the warmer weather it is awesome to be able to un-strap the cooler, toss it over to the side and have all that room to fish (I centerpin a lot so that is definitely nice having the large space). River Larry is also an absolute must have, with the 3 switch option (1 on the anchor itself up front, one on the rowers seat, one on the rear switch panel).

    Hauling the boat is a dream, and having Stealthcraft a 1.5hr drive from my house for any maintenance or issues is a big plus as well. Mike has treated me very well thus far, and I even purchased my rig used from another person. He has still treated me well even though I've heard some stories that he can be hit or miss. I personally have not experienced that though.

    If you have any more questions let me know, I'll happily answer anything I can about the boat.
     
  11. Nick Keith

    Nick Keith

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    Mike has been great to deal with. He is a practical guy and was able to walk me through a lot of the options. He is definitely a boat builder first and businessman 2nd....which is why his boats have become so popular over the last few years and is probably also why some may have had a different experience than they expected. He was also able to point out the different options that I can easily add later if I want. In the end, I decked this boat out. River Larry, Electrical and Light package, break away plate, rock hopper, 20 hp Mercury with tilt and trim, and removable box with double seat. I decided not to add the chine guards or radio, but Mike told me that I could always add them later if i wanted. They helped put together financing, gave me a great deal on a trade-in, and his wife helped watch my kids ( along with her own) while I sat down with Mike and drew up the order. Can't ask for much more of a positive experience than that. On top of that, it is awesome to see a Michigan company taking off in the poorest county in the state.

    I decided on the 14' as I fish a lot of small/skinny rivers and was surprised at how much room there was in this thing. I have floated in a 16' and 18' ATB and they both rowed significantly better than the floating tin can I just traded in, so I think this thing is going to feel as smooth as silk.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I will post pics when I get it in. I hope it is done before the end of the month. -Nick
     
  12. StaticSilveraydo

    StaticSilveraydo

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    Congrats man!! Definitely post some pics when you get it and I'm sure you won't be disappointed with your purchase!
     
  13. Nickp8500

    Nickp8500

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    I previously owned a 16 ft ATB, then traded it in for an 18 ft power drifter with a jet. You are in a similar situation as me, in that I use mine for fly fishing rivers and lakes, while also using it to take the family out on the lake. One thing the wife and kids appreciate is the addition of a small ladder mounted on the transom. Makes it a lot easier for the little ones to get back in after swimming. I think Mike charged $100 for it. Well worth it
     
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  14. dirtyfisheyes187

    dirtyfisheyes187

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  15. koditten

    koditten

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    Are those always aluminum?

    The plasticore material used on the stealth crafts is durable and quiet.

    I do like the looks of both those boats.