photo of drift boat and fisherman in Salmon River, NY

Over 20 years in business

Boats

I have been obsessed with anything that floats since I can remember. I have bought, sold, fixed, outfitted, or had built thirty-two boats to date. Currently the Driftwater fleet consist of four core boats, which we use depending on what we are fishing for or what the weather or water conditions permit. This is our current line up. If you are fishing with us, you will be on one of these boats depending on when you come fishing.

The River Line Up

The Willie Boat Drift Boat, model 17 x 60

 Willie Boats, Drift Boat Model 17x60

This is the second 17x60 model I have had Willie Boats custom build for me for the Salmon River. This build was completed in 2015. This is the fourth boat Willie has built for me: two were built for my Alaska business, two for New York. In my opinion Willie builds the best custom aluminum drift boat in the business. This boat features a large front seating area with comfortable oversized seats and plenty of room for two people to cast and move around as we net fish. It has a front heater that keeps the deck warm and free of ice in the winter months. It has a high prow for big water and creates a nice dry ride in the biggest of water. I predominantly use this boat from 500 CFS (cubic feet per second) and up in the Salmon River. We also use it in the Oswego and Black Rivers, and occasionally trolling for brown trout in Lake Ontario in early March. It’s a great, safe, versatile, drift boat perfectly suited for Lake Ontario’s tributaries and outer estuaries.

The Boulder Boat Works CRT drift boat

Boulder Boat Works CRT

I had this boat built by BBW in 2009. This is a unique boat, which I bought for one purpose: low water. Since Salmon River is controlled by how much precipitation we receive, a lot of the time we are forced to fish in low water (anything under 500 cfs). This boat is made entirely of UHMW-PE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Poly Ethylene). It is the first of its kind to have this material ultra sonically welded into a drift boat. The CRT is super tough and has the ability to flex over the river bottom, even in the shallowest of water levels. The CRT is a lower profile boat with bow and stern seating, level floors and leg locks, which make it a perfect low water casting or fly fishing boat. The CRT doesn’t come with many amenities but it’s a great tool allowing us to get in the skinniest of water. We use this boat mainly in the Salmon River but sometimes we venture out to the smaller tributaries and float them as well.


The Lake Line Up

220 Ocean Pro Hewescraft boat

220 Ocean Pro Hewescraft

We are excited to introduce our newest boat to the Driftwater fleet. I recently added the 220 Ocean Pro from Hewescraft to our near and offshore programs. Hewescraft is highly regarded as a big water boat that is consciously designed around safety and fishing. This mid sized (24’.6”, 4500 pound) trailerable boat excels in the near and off shore environments. It comfortably fishes up to four anglers (captain not included) and has a fully enclosed cabin with seating for everyone. The 220 OP is powered by a single 250 Honda four-stroke engine with a Honda 15 horse four-stroke kicker. We cruise around 27mph with a three/four mile per gallon burn rate. This combination of speed and fuel efficient motors lets us go further faster and fish longer than the larger less economical boats. The hull is designed with a steep 35° forward deadrise, 20° amidship deadrise, and a stabilizing 13° aft deadrise. This variable deadrise combination gives excellent performance in choppy seas and also provides a safe and stable platform for fishing. Hewescrafts are all-welded boats that take pride in their ingenuity and craftsmanship. They are one of the only boat builders that carry a transferable life time hull warranty.

With its fish friendly, big water proven, and sturdy hull design, this boat really excels in the Lake Ontario fishing scene. Some of the features and gear we carry on this boat include a second external steering station with full controls for the kicker; Furuno FCV588 sonar; Fishhawk X4D for down temp, speed, and depth; Cisco planner board reels with otter boat boards; Scotty high performance down riggers with shark weights; and shimano rods and reels. In the cabin we carry all of our USCG charter approved life vests, VHF ship-to-shore radio, Global Fix Epirb (emergency gps distress signal), first aid kit, front and back LED light bars, Golight adjustable LED spot light, Fusion radio and speakers, and a Garmin GPSMAP 943 xsv chart plotter with XD radar dome.

The Tiara 31 Express Hardtop

Tiara 31 Express Hardtop

This is our flagship boat for Lake Ontario. We sold the 27 Tiara Pursuit last year after having it for two great years. I decided it was a great platform but just a little small for some of the bigger days on the lake. In comes the 31 Tiara. This boat is a very comfortable platform with plenty of room and power to get us into and out of the hot spots when needed. It’s thirty-six feet in total length, with a twelve foot beam, and weighs just over twelve thousand pounds. She is powered by twin 454XL gas motors with new ZF transmissions. It has all the amenities that you need for a comfortable day on the big water. Freshly done upholstery with complete updates to the audio system, and new LED lights above and below the waterline. It also has the newest and top-of-the-line equipment and electronics.  When I bought this boat it had not been used as a fishing boat. I needed to scrap most of the electronic and electrical equipment and install everything from the ground up to make it Lake Ontario ready. I installed three Garmin 942 sx chart plotter/sonar with pan optix, chipped for Lake Ontario, two at the helm station and one on the transom so everyone on the boat can see the sonar. I also installed three white and stainless steel Optimum 10 tournament electric downriggers, Fish Hawk 4xD unit (for down speed, depth and temperature), seventeen Cannon dual axis rod holders with tracks, Cisco planer board reels, Otter Boat double keeled planers, and more rods and tackle than most tackle shops have.  The 31 Express is considered one of the best platforms for offshore fishing in Lake Ontario.