Rafts are a common source of transpiration on a lot of our rivers here in Colorado. The versatility of a raft make them the choice vessel for navigating our steep and fast rivers throughout the state. So what is the best set up for fishing? There are several options when it comes to choosing a frame for your boat so it all depends on what you are looking for.
Lets take a look at the three most common setups you’ll see on the river.
The Outcast Fishing Frame is a lightweight option that goes hand and hand with the pac 1300/1400.
The frame comes complete with front and rear casting platforms, lean bars, rowers seat and anchor line. The frame held together with cotter pins and is east to assemble/ disassemble. This fishing frame is extremely lightweight and relatively stable. The down fall of this frame is the casting lean bars. The narrow design leaves a lot of room for error when standing. The anchor line is also a flaw that could be improved. Although I do like the foot release system the rope tends to freeze when floating in colder weather and the release does not work very well. Overall I would give this fishing frame a score of 8 and would recommend this set-up for an angler looking for a lightweight frame that is ready to go.
The NRS Fishing Frame is another lightweight alternative that is easy to assemble and held together with u-bolts that are adjustable. These frames fit a number of rafts and are commonly seen on a lot of guide boats. What is nice about the NRS Fishing Frame is the ability to add to it. You can add anchor systems, seats, floors and lean bars to make your frame as custom as you like. Having owned an NRS Fishing Frame in the past there are 3 things that I did not like. First, the casting platform is very small and is easy to slip off of. And depending on the raft once you slip off the casting platform you can get your foot snagged between the thwart and platform. Second, was the lean bars. Much like the outcast frame the NRS lean bars (both types) are very weak and tend to move a lot. Last was the u-bolt design. These bolts attach all parts of the raft and get loose very easily allowing your frame to slip. Although this frame is lightweight and inexpensive I would rate it a 6.5 due to design flaws and instability.
The Down River Fishing Frame is made out of speed rail and is custom fit to the raft of your choice. Not only are these frames well thought out they are extremely durable. But, with the durability comes weight and depending on the options a Down River frame can get very heavy. I have been rowing this frame for 6 years and do not have enough good things to say about it. The higher captains chair gives you a better point of view and allows you to store large items like coolers under the seat. The casting platform takes up the entire front floor so there are no issues of getting your feet caught in the gunnels. The lean bars are the width of the raft and are very stable. The anchor system travels through the frame and is super slick. Pins and star screws hold this frame together and allow boaters to remove parts of the frame with ease. The only downfalls of the Down River Fishing Frames are the price and the weight and for that reason I rate this frame at 9.5.
Choosing the perfect set up can be challenging and there are many things to consider when buying a fishing raft. My best advice is to hop in a boat and try different frames if you are given the chance. No matter what you choose, having a fishing raft in Colorado will provide you with endless fishing options throughout the state.