Skip to main content

Best Drift Boats

Best Drift Boats
A drift boat may be the most expensive piece of fly-fishing equipment you buy this decade. Like choosing a spouse, it pays to look around, as the wrong choice can be costly. Drift boats aren't just fiberglass or aluminum anymore, and more than materials, it's the design, features, and rowability of the boat that matters. If you're spending your recreational time in the boat (all day for weeks every season) it should be both comfortable and appropriate for the water types and the seasons you prefer to fish in.

Choose Your Ride

The best drift boats are made from high-density polymer, inflatable PVC, fiberglass, or aluminum.

Boulder Boat Works CRT $6,000

Boulder Boat Works uses a high-density polymer (plastic) instead of fiberglass or aluminum to mold its boat hulls. According to general manager Steve Ehredt, the hulls are stronger than fiberglass, and quieter than aluminum, which also sticks on rocks. Ehredt says the polymer hulls are virtually indestructible and that while Boulder Boat Works has a lifetime guarantee on the hull, they've never actually had to repair a hull due to regular river use. Our tester said 'this boat is responsive enough to thread through even the tightest rock garden, but tough enough to take a big hit when your newbie buddy is on the sticks. ' When the company first produced polymer boats, they had wood detailing that thwarted the low-maintenance of the rest of the boat, so Boulder Boats Works created the Convertible River Taxi (CRT) — an all-polymer boat that's also available with built-in Yeti coolers under the seats. Beam: 74" Length: 15'10" Weight: 360 lbs boulderboatworks.com

Clackacraft Eddy $9,000

What's different about Clackacraft fiberglass drift boats? The hull. While most glass boats have a smooth, flat bottom, Clackacraft's Tunnel Hull has a large funnel that starts at the stern of the boat and tapers to a smaller diameter as the tunnel moves forward. Two smaller tracking channels along the outside also help the boat track straighter in the water. Clackacraft's newest boat — the Eddy — also has Clackacraft's GulfStream hull, with dimples like those on a golf ball. The dimples create a layer of turbulence that envelopes the hull and reduces drag through the water so you can row more effortlessly. Our tester rowed the new Eddy 16 in low water on the Madison and said 'the boat is nimble and maneuverable in skinny water. Inside, the rod holders are slick and easy to use, and everything else is smartly arranged so it's right at your fingertips. ' Beam: 78" Length: 16' Weight: 320 lbs clackacraft.com

NRS Clearwater Drifter $6,000

There's something to be said for thinking outside the box. NRS is attempting to do exactly that by combining the comfort and rowability of a drift boat with the high-floating packability of a raft. The result is the new Clearwater Drifter. Shaped with the profile of a conventional drift boat, the Clearwater is the world's first self-bailing, inflatable drift boat. It inflates to about 9 psi so it is completely rigid, and it draws less water, rides higher, and slides through shallow boulder gardens better than a standard drift boat. It has a collapsible, portable frame, so you don't need a trailer like a regular drift boat. It's easy to transport via car, plane, or even USPS. It takes two people about 45 minutes to set up and inflate the boat. Beam: 82" Length: 17' Weight: 315 lbs nrsweb.com

Pavati Legacy $10,000

Would you buy a car where you have to jump in through the windows? That's how Bo and Luke Duke (The Dukes of Hazard) used to do it, but when you are getting up there in years, it's nice to have a working door. The Pavati Legacy is an aluminum drift boat with front and rear latching doors to solve the problem of getting in and out of a high-sided boat while wearing waders. For rowers, there is an extra-sturdy adjustable foot brace, and a quick-adjusting seat system that helps you easily distribute the weight in the boat for easy rowing. The Legacy comes standard with a motor-ready transom for big West Coast steelhead rivers, and has rod tubes that can hold 14' Spey rods without breaking them down. Beam: 61" Length: 17' Weight: 365 lbs pavatimarine.com

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

Rio Technical Trout

Rio Technical Trout

Rio Technical Trout

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Everyone wants a definite answer to “How close can you get?”.How to Get Close to Trout Beginners

How to Get Close to Trout

Tom Rosenbauer - August 05, 2020

Everyone wants a definite answer to “How close can you get?”.

Locating fish is the first step to a successful outing.Best Spots to Find Trout and Bass Beginners

Best Spots to Find Trout and Bass

Ross Purnell

Locating fish is the first step to a successful outing.

This line control is one of the unique aspects of fly fishing.How to Mend, Set the Hook, and Strip Line Beginners

How to Mend, Set the Hook, and Strip Line

Landon Mayer | Illustrations by Joe Mahler - August 11, 2020

This line control is one of the unique aspects of fly fishing.

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp flies!The 15 Best Carp Flies Flies

The 15 Best Carp Flies

Jay Zimmerman

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp...

See More Trending Articles

More Accessories

The Costa Ferg sunglasses are available in four frame colors.Costa Ferg Sunglasses Accessories

Costa Ferg Sunglasses

Fly Fisherman Staff - July 28, 2020

The Costa Ferg sunglasses are available in four frame colors.

An integrated lace hood allows you to easily tuck the laces away so your fly line doesn't snag on them.Orvis PRO Approach Shoe Accessories

Orvis PRO Approach Shoe

Ross Purnell - July 09, 2020

An integrated lace hood allows you to easily tuck the laces away so your fly line doesn't snag...

A Hex Grid chest panel allows users to affix other components such as pack vest, nest holster, bottle holster, or bear spray.SIMMS Flyweight Wader Accessories

SIMMS Flyweight Wader

Fly Fisherman Staff - July 28, 2020

A Hex Grid chest panel allows users to affix other components such as pack vest, nest holster,...

This jacket packs down small into a pouch the size of a lunch burrito.Simms Vapor Elite Accessories

Simms Vapor Elite

Ross Purnell - November 30, 2020

This jacket packs down small into a pouch the size of a lunch burrito.

See More Accessories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Fly Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Fly Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now