To be honest, it’s a bit like comparing a Land Cruiser to a Dodge Durango: the Toyota is steel-hulled, tough as nails, and equally at home on African savannah or Asian steppe. The Dodge, on the other hand, is a pleasure to drive to the weekend cabin, but just doesn’t cut it as a serious show-stopper.
Enter Fish-Rite’s Power Drifter, a staple of ours on the Mighty Columbia that we’ve recently been using to navigate new water in points further East. As usual, Dave Brown Outfitters is leading the way. Inevitably, our competition will follow, or at least try to. In this case, that won’t be easy, because the power-drifting knock-offs on the market just aren’t up to the task.
I’m frequently asked about the ‘Mighty Boat’ by impressed clients. I’m also frequently approached by fellow guides and outfitters asking why I chose Fish-Rite over other options. Here goes:
- Fish-Rite hand welds their aluminum boats. No rivets. No weak spots. Walk around a Power Drifter and you can see the welds first-hand. Walk around a competitor’s boat and count the rivets – including the ones missing from shoddy workmanship. Hand welding doesn’t come cheaply. Then again, neither does a Toyota Land Cruiser.
- The Fish-Rite bottom is like armor plating on a military vehicle. You won’t fear rocks, boulders or the everyday bumps and bruises that come with serious jet-boating. The bottom of my boat has been through Iraq and back, and it doesn’t have a dent. Oh, and in case you’re wondering about weight, no worries – it’s made of the same aircraft aluminum as the world’s toughest reels.
- All well-made jet boats plane in just inches of water: in Fish-Rite’s case it’s 4″. What separates the best from the rest is how the boat responds when it’s not under power – when the means of propulsion are the oars in the guide’s hands. This is where Fish-Rite excels. It’s up-swept bow and forward rocker create the same “chine” edges as on a typical drift boat; in layman’s terms that equates to nimble, responsive rowing almost on par with a larger conventional boat. My Fish-Rite anchors in midstream, maneuvers through tight spots, and back-oars almost as well as my glass boat. In comparison, the leading pretender is an 18-foot pig – best suited for family fishing outings on sleepy lakes.
- Fish-Rite makes a higher, stronger transom. That enables the mounting of heavier, quieter and more fuel-efficient four-stroke engines. What’s good for your eardrums and riverside solace is also good for the environment.
… Chris (with some great pics by Annie – Thanks!)