Last Update: 1/03
Tackle Type:

Overall score:
14.6 Low Pro
$3,795 base
$8,739 as tested
Eric Z.
Manufacturer's Description:
"The 2003 Fiberglass/Aluminum Combination will be known this year as the finest drift boat ever designed. From the voices of over 150 US National Pro Team members, came the fine tuning in the combination series. Hyde Drift Boats continues the tradition with the new High Side Combination Drift Boat that you will find on almost any river across the United States known for its fishing."

"The High Side Fiberglass/Aluminum Combination Drift Boat is the first of its kind to incorporate a hybrid hull design, square tracking chines, and flat footprint design. LaMoyne Hyde's foresight brought together the very best of both the fiberglass and aluminum hull drift boats into one boat. What makes the Fiberglass/Aluminum 2003 Combination the most popular drift boat is its rowability, dependability, versatility, and aesthetics."

Center Line14' 6"
Bottom Width55"
Max HP10
Person Capacity5
Weight Capacity1100 lbs
Hull Weight245 lbs

Standard Options:
Rounded smooth entry stern for extra lift and decreased drag
Choice of custom accent stripes
3 Position lifetime Teflon oar locks
Full-size level floors, front and rear, with non-skid surface
Elevated aluminum foot brace
Dzus fasteners for vibration free sure seat locks
Padded low back rowers seat
7 Position adjustable lightweight aluminum rowers bench
7 Position adjustable lightweight aluminum front passenger bench
Built-in front stand Up casting brace with 2 cup holders
High impact reinforced chines

Options Purchased/Upgrades:
Front bow storage
Front compartment seat
Rower's compartment seat
Rear removable casting brace
Full side anchor system offset
Rear pedestal seat
Tempress seats
9' Carbon fiber plus counterbalanced oars
Carlisle breakdown spare oar
Recessed rod holders
Deluxe trailer w/rock guards
Spare tire w/carrier
Aqualon deluxe boat cover w/strap

That's pretty much all the options available for the boat at the time. Since then they've added a few more, like a hidden 25qt cooler and a one legged rear casting brace. I need both of those!

First Impression:
I had the chance to finally sit down and talk with Steve Hyde at the Michigan Fly Fishing Clubs Southfield Rod Show in 2002 and talk about getting a new full sized drift boat. I owned their 11' drifter and absolutely loved it, but was in the market for a larger boat. We talked for quite a while and I ended up giving him a deposit that day. I'd have most of the winter to think about how I wanted to rig it, what options to get, which ones I didn't need, etc.. I had a trip planned to Montana/Idaho in August and had planned to take delivery then. Over the winter Steve and I had exchanged email and telephone calls to go over rigging, options, colors, and other misc. items. I found him and his staff to be very helpful. I had everything decided sometime in late May and told him to build it for me. Steve had suggested waiting until closer to my trip as he had a few little surprises they were working on and he'd like to incorporate them into my new boat. What the heck... I had no idea what they would be, but it sounded good to me. I got back in touch with him about 4 weeks prior to my trip and we confirmed the latest changes and options. I'm glad I waited! I absolutely love the new recessed rod and reel holders! I picked the boat up on August 17th from the factory in Idaho Falls. The guys guided me through all the features and maintenance, and did a great job answering my many questions. The maiden voyage would be through Box Canyon on the Henry's Fork. In hindsight, probably not the best choice to test out a new boat. I was impressed on how it handled, how it tracked and how well the counterbalanced oars worked, resulting in less arm fatigue. At the take out on the first day I had nothing but good things to say.

Ratings: (out of 10)
CriteriaRating # 
Design, Interior:7
Design, Hull/Exterior:5

A well performing drifter, it does the job it's designed to do with no faults.

The above mentioned MSRP is just that, the suggested retail price. Hyde runs many specials throughout the year. Watch their website or give them a call from time to time and you may be pleasantly surprised by one of their promotions. You can get a very good deal if you catch them at the right time.

The craftsmanship is what you would expect from a well known reliable company. The glass work is very good; no rough edges, everything fits where and how it should. Everything you lean on or brace against is over engineered and reinforced well, especially the casting braces which are better and more sturdy that their other fiberglass competitors. There have been some comments I've heard about longevity issues, mostly from guides, but on the other hand most of them are pretty rough on their gear. I know a decent number of guys who've run these boats for years and love them. There are always small issues people have, like gel-coat cracks and wear issues, but nothing out of the ordinary that doesn't happen with all other boats of comparable construction.

Design, Interior:
The boat is designed very well, obviously by fishermen for fishermen. I opted for two storage benches which work very well and allow me to carry a ton of stuff, including a grill, table, chairs, life jackets, tool box, 100' rope, extra rods, raincoat, and a few other items. The casting braces work very well for stabilizing anglers as they work their way downstream even through some pretty rough water, not to mention keeping them in the boat when I hit stuff! One of the options I'm glad I waited for is the fully recessed and tubed rod holders. No longer do you have to worry about your rod tips hanging out and tangling in bushes, trees, and other streamside obstacles. The reel sits in a cut out pocket and the rod sits in a recessed channel with the top half protected by an aluminum cloth lined tube, very nice touch. One other key item I've grown to love are the counterbalanced carbon fiber oars, very nice on the arms after a long day. The interior design works very well, and for only a 14' boat there is a surprising amount of room to move around in.

Design, Hull/Exterior:
I opted for the rear anchor release to be mounted off-set to accommodate an outboard. It works pretty well, although I do wish the stern was a little wider as the anchor and motor are a bit closer together than I'd like. I also wish they would re-design the transom mount to accept a motor without having to drastically change the angle. All the boats out there are the same, so there must be a reason for it.
Check out this article to see how we mounted not only our motor, but other add-ons as well.

Check out my "Options/Upgrades" above. I wonder if the 2003's will come with the kitchen sink too! One feature that rates special mention, to me at least, is the raised deck fore center and aft. It makes a day spent fishing in cold water very nice, it stays warmer and allows the water to run off into "reservoirs" on the side and underneath. Also these decks are covered with non-slip rubber matting, making it friendly for cleated wading boots! Great Idea!

I've had a few questions since I got the boat, all have been answered promptly and to my satisfaction. Only one warranty issue which was covered, no questions asked. Now with a service department here in the Great Lakes, continuing product support should only get better and easier.

Plus / Minus:
Rigging optionsMotor Mounting
Sales and Service* 
Lifetime warranty 
(incudes commercial use) 

* New Hyde customer service center and showroom just opened in Newaygo, Michigan

Overall a great boat for the price with way too many options. You gotta watch it or you'll spend more on the options than the boat hull! Although in all fairness you'll love em' all!

For More Info:
Hyde Boats

Newaygo, Michigan Location
Customer Service Center & Sales
6280 E. 88th St.
Newaygo, MI 49337-9245, USA
8-5 PM, Monday through Saturday
(231) 652-1999

Quest invites manufacturers to submit comments on this review. Comments will not change the review in any way, but will be added along side the information presented.

Additional Staff Comments:

Long Term Test:
11/02 - 6 Month Review
Well, it's been 6 months since I first took the boat out for the maiden voyage. With 50+ trips logged I've had only one minor problem. The rear casting brace developed a small crack in the fiberglass. It may have been caused by my father leaning into it a little too hard and/or partially sitting on it! I called Hyde up in Newaygo and asked if I could get it fixed, I was told they'd ship me out a brand new one, no problem. I ended up picking it up a week or so later as I needed an excuse to stop by to say hi and see the new shop. I've got a couple minor scratches and dings in the hull, mostly from the Madison River this fall. Man they need some water out there! The boat is very stable, even with 4 big guys in it. No other problems what-so-ever. I'm very happy with the handling and all the features.

1/03 - Product Update
Hyde has just released a new hull material they are calling "G4". We've yet to test it, but it sounds like Hyde may now have the strongest hull design on the market. Check out this press release from Hyde for more details.

PS- Don't forget to watch the videos. They're hillarious!

06/03 - NEW Product Update
Hyde has come out with the final version of thier motor mount bracket. No more bolting wood, plastic, or anything else to your transom. Check out the "Hyde Motor Mount Preview" for details.