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Help me pick a SIB

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  • Help me pick a SIB

    Hi everyone,

    Fishing from shore is not much fun where I live (in Canada), so I have been thinking of buying a boat. I don't have space for a trailer and in the past, when I owned a boat, I hated the process of launching it via its trailer (mostly the backing up aspect).

    This, to say that I've been looking at SIBs. It'd be a bit of a pain to inflate and deflate for each outing, but I think this compromise might have more pros than cons for me (especially with an electric pump). I own a large SUV with about 7.5 ft of cargo space, so transporting a deflated boat and motor shouldn't be an issue.

    I have a few questions, and I was hoping those of you with real-world experience could help me out by sharing your thoughts and opinions. I researched the topic online a lot, but I don't have direct experience, so I thought I'd ask.

    1. My first question is about the size. 90% of the time I will be on my own, fishing. 10% of the time, I'll have my wife and a relative on board as well (so 3 people in total).

    Regardless of how many people will be on board, I will have with me a fairly large tackle box, a few rods, a landing net, and possibly a cooler. I have been considering the 10.5 - 14 ft range. Obviously, the larger the boat, the heavier it is all things being equal (I will be launching it solo by hand, but I'll have transom wheels and a wagon to carry the boat near the water to build it).

    What size do you think would fit my needs the best? I'm not sure if this is one of those situations in life where people say, "I wish I'd gone bigger" or "I wish I'd gone smaller" post-purchase.

    2. Since I'll set up the boat on my own, I assume a high-pressure air deck floor would make set up easier, the floor would be more comfortable, and the boat would be less noisy. I don't plan to travel at crazy high speeds, so I think I can get away without an aluminum floor. Is this approach advisable?

    3. The boats I have been considering come with aluminum benches. I'd love to install swivel seats but I fear it wouldn't be very stable if installed over the somewhat narrow bench. This is where I think the aluminum floor would make life easier as you can bolt a seat to it. Alternatively, I'd be happy to place a camping chair on the air deck floor. Has anyone tried either approach with success?

    4. I like the quietness of trolling motors, but I'm concerned that if the wind picks up, a trolling motor might not get you back home. Is my safety concern legitimate?

    5. Inflatables tend to be pretty light and I don't need the boat to do 25 miles an hour. Can I get away with a 5 HP gas motor, or would a 9.9 HP be more advisable? What I like about the 5 HP, besides its more affordable nature, is that there are even propane-based models which are quite appealing to me (in principle, at least).

    6. The models I have been considering the most are:
    • Stryker Ranger LX 360 (11'7", available with air or aluminum floor) - $2,900 [130 or 160 lbs]
    • Stryker Ranger LX 380 (12'5", aluminum floor) - $3,200 [175 lbs]
    • Stryker Hunter Jet 320 (10'5", aluminum floor) - $3,600 [155 lbs]
    • Stryker Hunter X 380 (12'5", aluminum floor) - $4,200 [205 lbs]
    • Swellfish Classic 350 (11'6", aluminum floor) - $2,600 [181 lbs]
    • Swellfish Classic 390 (12'10", aluminum floor) - $2,950 [216 lbs]
    • SeaBright 320 (10'6", available with air or aluminum floor) - $1,524 [90 or 117 lbs]
    • SeaBright 380 (12'6", available with air or aluminum floor) - $1,974 [130 or 155 lbs]
    • SeaBright 420 Heavy Duty (13' 8", aluminium floor) - $2,374 [240 lbs]
    Do you have any thoughts or recommendations on these? It's a big purchase for me, so I'd like to buy the right boat. My concern with SeaBright is that it doesn't come with built-in rod mounts, so it would take some DIY to install Scotty or Railblaza mounts for rods, downrigger, fishfinder, etc. And the 320 and 380 are likely less heavy duty than the Stryker/Swellfish models.

    Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  • #2
    Welcome to Iboats,

    Answering your questions in order :

    1-You'll be solo boating 90% most of the time, for that adventure a 320-330 sib will be great, for the rest of the 10% (3 up) will need a 360/380 size minimum. 420-460 are real carriers, too huge and heavy for solo handling.

    2-Air floors needs to be constantly inflated as lose their pressures that were inflated to very fast. Needs to be inflated with a high pressure pump somewhere 12 to 14 PSI to achieve a solid floor, if not rocking chair might flip overboard LOL!!

    3-Swivel benches takes too much deck space which is a must have, at least for me. Can seat on deck with inflatable cushions or on benches, will depend entirely on the extension of the water outing.

    4-If strong wind is not an issue a 5/6 HP will power the 320/330/360/380 sibs but won't plane it if with 3 up, worse if all 3 are adults with added weight. An excellent HP for any of those mentioned models would be a 9.8 HP motor, if possible to get a 2 strokes much better, check if Tohatsu, Mercury still sells them in your area. A 9.9 HP is too heavy compared to any 9.8 HP motor.

    Wouldn't want any trolling motor powering my sib other than in plain flat no wind water cond. If boating in salt waters the salt will eat any trolling electric motor fast, are more adequate for fresh water uses, besides need to carry a heavy baterry to power it. Gasolime, propane is much better than running on batteries.

    5-Don't know any of those mentioned sib brands as we work with more tradtional sib brands. If going for any of them buy the heavy duty one which are built with 1.2 mm fabric compared to the standard 0.9 mm fabric. PVC is cheaper that Hypalon.

    An idea, measure the length and width of the cargo space, probably could carry a inflated alum deck floor ontop, with opened back door well strapped. Release it, put the trasport wheels and there you go. Or same with defleated tubes.

    Happy Boating
    Last edited by Sea Rider; April 23rd, 2019, 05:34 AM.

    Sea Rider 320, 380 Sibs, 450 Rib, 2 Strokes Tohatsu 5,18 & 30 HP Proud Smokers


    • #3
      Thank you for the thorough reply, Sea Rider. What are some of the more "traditional models" you would recommend?


      • #4
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        Originally posted by notinteger View Post
        Thank you for the thorough reply, Sea Rider. What are some of the more "traditional models" you would recommend?
        The issue with more traditional brands such as Zodiac, Avon, Achilles is that are pricier compared to a good quality Korean inflatable. If will be boating now and then get a Saturn, are built with a bit thicker PVC fabric than their competitors. A 12 footer only costs $1,100, the 13 footer sells for $ 1,300. Check their web page and ask if those prices corresponds to the air deck or alum floor ones. Can also buy an spare air or alum floor and switch them at any time if like boating with a more rigid deck.

        Happy Boating

        Sea Rider 320, 380 Sibs, 450 Rib, 2 Strokes Tohatsu 5,18 & 30 HP Proud Smokers