Pumped Up: Cataraft Fishing Craft
Catarafts may be the SUVs of human-powered fishing boats. They give you access to a huge variety of water from protected bays to whitewater rivers. They are among the few paddlecraft that allow the caster to stand and truly cast, using pressure off one’s foot and hip rotation to launch a lure or fly line.
Try that in any other boat listed here and you will be scoutin’ for trout sans boat or fishing gear. And like SUVs, cats are heavier and more cumbersome in comparison to other boats in the review. Don’t expect to throw one on top of your vehicle and scoot out after work.
Most require some assembly and breakdown to transport without the aid of a small flatbed trailer. On the plus side, they can haul a lot of gear and provide tremendous comfort.
Pros: At 11 feet long and 5 feet, 3 inches wide, the Bobcat is the perfect transition boat from small cats and larger, higher-capacity cats made for full-on multi-day trips. Outfitted with that Bobcat/Wildcat frame, this rig allowed us to do it all from an afternoon at a catch-and-release, fly-fishing-only lake to a three-day solo trip on an Olympic Peninsula steelhead river.
With its forward-casting platform, we could stand and deliver a cast with authority and no thought of capsizing. The forward lean bar kept us in the boat and out of the water when an occasional rock found itself in our path. And the rear cargo deck nicely accommodated three days worth of gear or a napping dog. Heck, it even has a motor mount for larger waters. The Bobcat is truly the SUV of human-powered fishing craft.
Cons: While we did appreciate the lean bar, its presence was sometimes visually disturbing to the rower.
Width: 5′ 3”
Weight: 115 lbs
Tube Diameter: 49”