This review of the Tidewater Pram Joe Koffler built for me is pure, unabashed objectivity (personal bias). It is what it is, OK?
Joe built this Pram for me about 4 years ago. I call it a tidewater pram, because that is where I often fish it. It is also a river pram, a lake pram, a reservoir pram, but it is not, normally, an ocean-faring pram.
Hooked on tidewater fly fishing for king salmon, I was. I fished Clay Banks, Sixes, Siletz, Nestucca in my driftboat, with and without an electric motor. Worked OK. Caught salmon. Fought the wind. Knew there was a better option.
Didn’t want a California Pram. These things might be fine, even preferable for guys who are 5’4″ and weigh 120. Not for me.
I’d fall out of one of those CA prams in about 12 seconds.
I went down to see Joe at the Koffler shop near the Eugene airport. I remember the days when Bruce Koffler had his boat building shop at his home in the hills. Ahhhh. The memories. We were all so very young.
When I told Joe I was looking for the perfect tidewater pram, all of the standard options they offered were a “Whitewater Pram” and a “Rocky Mountain Trout Boat.”
Both boats were close, but neither was quite right. Joe and I brainstormed. He asked a ton of questions. Where would I fish? How much whitewater would I want to run? Would I fish alone, or with a buddy. With a motor or with oars only.
Not too long after our conversation, I took delivery of my Koffler Tidewater & River Pram.
Eleven feet by 48″. Diamond plate deck, stem to stern. Two rope seats, adjustable and removable. Two positions where I could insert oarlocks. Anchor release at bow and stern. Fish box under one seat, mostly for gear, because I rarely catch anything and even more rarely kill a salmon.
Tackle trays along both sides serve as rod holders. Clean and open. A wonderful fly fishing platform. I fish tidewater, the South Santiam, the McKenzie (not the big water though), the Willamette, the Middle Fork, the Siletz (haven’t tried that one drop below Moonshine though), the Nestucca, Trask, and more.
So stable I can stand on the tackle tray and the Pram will not tip over. Handy, given my clumsiness. Swift, nimble, water worthy, and capable of fly fishing two guys – two big guys. A poacher-boat, one of my friends dubbed it.
This Pram rows well, very well. It is well suited to rivers with moderate whitewater – no crashing through the middle of big holes or standing waves. It is clean and open, very stable for two people to stand and cast, low profile so the wind doesn’t push you ll over the river, bay, lake, handles electric or small a 4 Hp motors, and is a joy to slide through shallow riffles when the rivers are low in late summer and early autumn.
I’ve had some wonderful days in this Pram. Rode out some horrendous storms on the coast too. Steelhead, the occasional salmon, and sea-run cutthroat.
The standard white water prams and rocky mountain trout boats are shown on the Koffler website.
Joe has since built several eleven-foot tidewater-river Prams like mine for people and all have been joyously received. If you are intrigued, give Joe a call at 541 688 6093.
Joe is currently helping me design the perfect tidewater powerboat for my fishing needs and budget. I’ll most certainly drone on about that boat soon. for a sneak preview on that boat, check out the oregonflyfishing blog.
South Coast destinations….
Tucked in safe for the night….
Slide it into the river too . . . .
Stuff it full of rods . . . .
And once in a very long while . . . .