Bush Planes, Dualsport Bikes and Skiffs

A Fresh Perspective of the Towee Rivermaster Calusa

At Towee, our focus has always been on creating the one skiff that can “do it all” and “do it all well” which was the geneiss of the Rivermaster Calusa – a skiff that can transit easily from rocky rivers to the coast and serve the angler well in either setting with performance, quality, safety, durability and stability.  Since it’s introduction in 2010, some anglers have had issues trying to wrap their heads around just where this skiff fits into the traditional technical boat spectrum because, quite frankly, there just isn’t anything out there quite like it. So, while we enjoyed our Thanksgiving holiday this week, a couple of us had a conversation about flying in Idaho and then riding down to Baja Mexico came up and somewhere between sink rates and fish tacos, we realized that there were some serious similarities here that deserved exploring.

Besides being on the water, we love to fly when we can and there are more than a few pilots in the extended Towee family – some with serious bush plane credentials and one of their favorite conversations is the “perfect” backcountry plane for the traveling pilot. Now, this can quickly become a heated argument when simply local flying is involved but can get downright nasty when cross country travel is added to the equation. If we lived in one spot, say, the Northern Rockies, a Super Cub might fill our needs with it’s legendary ability to get into and back out of rough, off airport, terrain. However, when travel time comes, the rather slow Super Cub isn’t exactly what we would hop into for a cross country flight and if you need to bring along more than one other (preferably small) adult and a modest amount of gear then – forget about it.

We could begin to look at bigger aircraft like the Cessna 206 and 210 – which are used to carry big loads, seat up to six and can get into some really rough but longer backcountry strips. They can cruise cross country high and fast but the problem is you really start to limit yourself to longer strips and “off airport” landings are pretty much out of the picture. So once they start to eliminate aircraft as being too small or too big, a few standouts start to emerge like the Maule M5 – a well pedigreed bush plane that can land just about anywhere a Super Cub can yet has enough horsepower, payload and service ceiling to make it a serious cross country contender. If you could only have one plane to “do it all and do it all well” the Maule would be a great choice.



Our motorcycle riders have the same dilemma; sure, you can ride your Harley Road King on gravel – thousands make it up the Dalton Highway in Alaska every year but the overweight hog with it’s low clearance isn’t going to get you very far on a lot of forest service roads. Many “adventure riders” turn immediately to large dualsport bikes like the BMW GSA – a bike with “ADVENTURE” written all over it  – that is until they drop it on a logging road halfway up a mountain and can’t get it upright by themselves. They soon come to realize that while the big BMW is plush on the interstate and has the ground clearance to get them over mild obstacles (it really does “look the part”), it can get them very close to where they want to go but can’t do a very good job of doing what they came for. After a few years and a few painful bike trades, many experienced traveling adventure riders end up with a “right sized” bike like the Suzuki DR650 – a bike that can get you into some fairly serious trail riding when needed, carve up the turns on a twisty Appalachian highway and still hit a respectable 70 mph+ on the interstate while carrying a large adult and a ton of gear. From heading out to the National Forest or heading out to Patagonia, bikes like the DR650 “do it all and do it all well”.  They can get you there and then do what it is that you came for.

dr650 for article


With these two examples fresh in our minds, lets turn again to the Rivermaster Calusa, the one and only real choice for a technical skiff that will get you there and then do what you came there for. Power drifting a Northwoods river for big musky – check, silently poling the flats off Big Pine for laid up tarpon – check, how about owning the marsh around Hopedale and pissing off guys in full sized flats skiffs who can’t get at super shallow fish? – check. The Missouri in Montana?, Alaska?, Pamlico Sound? Duck hunting in flooded timber? Argentina? How about mountains AND the coast in one day in Costa Rica? Check on all.  Sure, you can’t carry quite as much extra gear as you could in a huge river sled, barge like drift boat or $70K 17′ flats skiff but you can carry three full sized anglers, gear and supplies……and you can actually get to the fish when you arrive. What’s not to love about that?  This is a special niche in the technical skiff world with a population of only one. Sure, a lot of people make a lot of unfounded claims and even rather half hearted attempts at look alikes but no one touches the all around performance of the Rivermaster Calusa.


From our now legendary stability and durability to a TRUE 4″ draft when fully loaded to our road dog of a trailer, the Rivermaster Calusa takes it place among proven adventure tools that “Do It All and Do It All Well”.  Isn’t it about time that you had a conversation with us about your new Calusa?