ALASKA OUTDOORS . .VOL 6b x
Porta-Bote Stability Test… In The Rough Alaskan Waters
It’s seldom that I have the pleasure of testing a product that really excites me. Even after a summer of testing, I’m more excited about this product than when I first received it. This 12′ Porta-Bote is something else!
One of Porta-Bote’s most remarkable qualities lies in its construction. The entire hull is constructed from space age polypropylene, twice as thick as an aluminum hull. My first experience with its durability occurred when I first picked up the boat from the freight office in Fairbanks. The boat had just come off the truck. Much to my dismay the dock attendant dropped the boat from the top of the 12 foot high ramp. The boat smacked the concrete hard, bounced a few inches, and stopped. I was sure I’d have to file a damage claim. But after careful examination I found only a few scratches. I later found out why. Porta-Bote guarantees the hull material against defects with their 10 year prorata limited warranty. It’s also unaffected by sand, saltwater, even acid.
On Cook Inlet, I rammed my boat into the beach at full throttle with seven-foot waves following me close behind. I sheared a pin on the outboard, but Porta-Bote survived with flying colors. And best of all, I didn’t get swamped!
The hull material isn’t the only item that deserves recognition. The hinges on the newly redesigned Porta-Botes are completely watertight.
For several years, I used an Avon inflatable for most of my lake and stream fishing. With a little muscle power, I could drag it to the water’s edge. However, it had several disadvantages. The inflatable was prone to punctures and Alaska’s wilderness rivers are “puncture heaven”. Inflatables are also painfully slow to inflate and deflate, and are bumpy in rough water.
But Porta-Bote has all the advantages of an inflatable and none of thedisadvantages. It’s extremely stable, and can accommodate fly-casting without tipping. It’s virtually puncture proof to white water boulders and if you do tip it over, it floats even when completely filled with water. With a 5 H.P. outboard it jumps on step.It would take a 20 H.P. outboard to do this with my inflatable. Ever try to lift a 20 H.P. outboard?.
It has outstanding maneuverability for river use, and on Cook Inlet. it rode better than anv boat I’ve tested. The “flexihull” absorbs the shock of the wave so you don’t have to.
Porta-Bote can easily be strapped to the pontoons of a float plane and carries beautifully. It’s the ideal boat for wilderness excursions. I wish some of the lodges had these boats at their camps. They’d never get me to leave. The craft is truly a joy to fish from. I’ve just installed my graph recorder and down rigger.
The Porta-Bote hull is balanced so I can carry it under one arm and it takes me just a few minutes to assemble. And heaven knows when those trout and grayling are rising, it’s no time to be pumping up that inflatable or untrailering that semi-V.
If it sounds like I’m excited about my Porta-Bote, you’re right. I wish I had one 20 years ago when I first came to Alaska. I could have gotten to all those far-away fishing and hunting spots I could never get to with my other boats.
The only thing more remarkable about this boat is the price. Porta-Bote actually costs less than many “quality” inflatables which offer only half the options!. The new models have a 5′ beam and all models are available in Duck-Hunter Green (Olive Drab) , Pacific Pearl and Aluminum.
If you’re contemplating a boat purchase this year, you’ll best enjoy Alaska’s rivers and lakes with a folding Porta-Bote.