My old Clacka 15LP is in the sale ring...
Movin’ on up to a newer 15LP…clean!
When I started running the river I went through a popular progression: rubber raft to aluminum to fiberglass. Wood drift boats were pretty to look at but they were heavy to row and needed annual upkeep; sanding, varnishing, patching, etc. I rowed an aluminum “lead sled” for years, but it was very heavy and stuck to rocks like Velcro. The real leap in drift boat technology came when fiberglass showed up. The early glass drift boats were an immediate hit. The were tough, easy to row and fun to fish out of. Lavro made the first successful glass McKenzie style drift boat and the guides on the Madison jumped on them. The early Lavros featured molded knee locks, an upswept bow and came in various colors. They came in 16 and 14 foot models. That was the good news. The bad news was the pronounced bow design grabbed the wind like a spinnaker in a sailboat regatta. In a north wind on the Madison, the early Lavros would come to a screeching halt even rowing downstream in heavy current! Then Clackacraft came to the fiberglass party and made a cool boat that caught on with the river guides. Only problem was a thin-bottom that felt like walking on a water bed. Eventually, Clacka added more glass and got it right. Trying to think back on some other drift boat names that have come and gone: East Side, Dan Hill, Valco, Omahandru, Yellowstone Drifter, Northwest Drifter and many more. These days, just about everybody runs fiberglass drift boats on the Madison.
Most of the river guides like a 16 foot boat but prefer the 15. I can steer and maneuver it through tight spots and side channels easier than the bigger boats. It is also lighter and slides over the rocks easier. I have been running Clackacraft for the last 25 years. Pretty much my go-to boat of choice.