My One Man Fishing Boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by HMCH, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. HMCH
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Texas

    HMCH New Member

    Hi all! I'm new here and wanted to share my first attempt to build a boat. To start with a background description that led to this crazy idea. I have a strong passion for fishing. I use to be able to pretty much go whenever I had some free time. But now I’m in my 40’s married with two kids. So being able to fish on the weekends is not that much of an option for me any more. To fill my fishing needs, I fish on my way home from work. I have an hour commute and there are a ton of little creeks and ponds on my way. I stop fish for 20 to 30 minutes and continue my drive home. Now there are two big problems I face. Some of these places have quite a trek to get to them. The second thing is once I get there, many times the banks have very limited access. They can be very overgrown with trees, weeds and cattails. To make matters worst, I like to fly fish so it limits my casting ability even more.
    I have long thought of a way to get me a little portable boat that would get me off the bank and into the treasured inaccessible fishing holes. I have tried inflatables, but they are just too flimsy. They take a while to air up and once you get in them, you sit in wet muddy water the whole time (not good when I’m in my work clothes). I have a canoe, but it is just way too big to handle for one person. I thought of a plastic molded kayak, but remember some of these places are a pretty good walk over some rough terrain. Plus a kayak or canoe would be on racks on my truck and would probably raise questions at work as to why. I also thought of a tube float or “belly boat”, but I live in South Texas, we have some big alligator gars and a lot of poisonous snakes around here. Dangling half my body in the same water with them just makes me a tad nervous.
    One other thing about this boat idea I was trying to come up with…see I already actually have two canoes and some inflatables. My wife may not be too happy with me buying another one…you know the “like another whole in your head” saying! This thing has to be CHEAP!! As in close to free as I can.
    So I recently recalled an article I read as a kid were a guy made a little fishing boat out of a tractor inner tube. I did some searching and found the article…
    I gathered my supplies, follow the instructions closely and built one.
    (I did tie ropes from the wings to the bottom after this picture was taken, before I tested it in water)
    I took it to one of the little creeks by my house and found it to be a complete failure. The center frame part just sank too much into the tube. He said to put the battery in one of the compartments under the seat. Mine had the water line about 2” below the seat. Thank God I did not test it with the motor, just a paddle. Had I put a battery in there, it would have been completely submerged.
    The main issue was the “wings” on the frame. They were just too small. I could rebuild it and make them bigger/longer, but I thought no lets keep this simple. That one was heavier than I wanted anyway.
    I took the bottom off the first model, cut it in half and started my new idea. I then grabbed two 2x4’s and notched them to cross each other flush.
    Then to help keep me on “top” of the tube I decided to add some “paddles” to the 2x4’s to help distribute the weight.
    I sat on it on the driveway and it felt stable. So my next step was to cut the 2x4’s to length and then I used rope to make some make shift oar locks.
    Ok after an hour cutting stuff and putting it together, back to the creek.
    Wow, this thing works GREAT!! It is actually very stable and you sit nice high and dry. The oar locks with the two paddles worked great and even though it’s round, I was able to paddle around quite comfortably. It was easy to launch. I just put my feet in the front two holes in front of the deck, lean over and grab the 2x4’s on each side of me and stand up. Then just walk to the water’s edge and within 6” of water you should be floating. Just sit on it like your sitting on a lawn chair and start paddling.
    Now to the next and most critical one for me…the trolling motor. Again back to the creek. Man it worked better than expected. In fact it was just down right fun! Test passed!!

    Now a few things on this. This is obviously used for small calm water only. This one is a prototype to achieve proof of theory, I will rebuild it with new wood paint it and make it much nicer. I plan on adding outdoor carpet to the deck, real oar locks (removable ones) and a cleat for a small anchor. I did the math (after the fact I guess I could have before) for the volume of a torus (or donut shaped object). According to my measurements and math, it should have a total maximum capacity for around 1100 lbs. As I understand you cut that in half so it is still over 500lbs. Now I want mine to float high to help keep it stable so I going with 30%, which is still 330 lbs. I’m 6” and around 200 lbs. With motor and battery I’m pretty close to my limit. Now to go over the needs. Well it’s VERY portable. The frame assembly is held together with four bolts and wing nuts to hold the deck to the 2x4’s. Once unscrewed the whole frame assembly can fit behind the seat of my extended cab Ford Ranger. The tube deflates to the size of a large shoe box (like one for boots) and fits back there too. I throw the paddles back there and I have all I need to use my boat. It is locked in the truck and safe from damage or theft. It is a true go-with-me-anywhere boat. To inflate it I have a small air pump for car tires. It has a really long cord so it can reach the tires around a car. It also plugs into the lighter in the truck. So I run two tie downs in opposite directions through the hole of the tube and plug the tube to the pump. I then throw the cord through my window and inflate it as I go. I know it takes about 20 minutes to fill so I monitor the time and watch it through the rear view mirror to keep track of it’s progress. I can then turn off the pump by simply unplugging it from the cab of my truck as I drive. Once I get to my fishing spot it is full and ready to go. It takes maybe 5 minutes to mount the frame and get it ready. Then once I’m done using it, the main valve on the tube removes by hand and opens a larger unrestricted hole. So by the time I get home it is deflated and thrown back behind the seat. Since you sit high and dry I can even use it in my work clothes. I just pack some rubber boots and switch them with my work shoes. Like I said, you only need to get into about 6” of water and your floating. Then I just put my feet on the front of the tube and go on my way. Carrying it is also very easy. The tube weighs around 15 lbs and the fame assembly around 25. So it is easy to sling it over a shoulder and hold it with one hand. Paddles and the fishing rod in the other and I can carry it for some distances. Heck if you don’t want to carry it, just roll it; It is after all a tire!
    Then the last and most critical part…cost. I got a great deal on the tube. $40.00 brand new. The wood was scrap from construction sites and I spend an additional $10.00 in hardware. I already had the trolling motor (which you don’t need I actually enjoy paddling it around) and the battery so the total cost was $50.00.
    I am posting this just to get some feed back (good or bad, I can handle it). I am sure it will evolve with time. This is probably not the first idea like this, but this one fits all my needs. I have proven it is a good rower and motor boat, now I would love to figure out how to mount a keel, rudder and mast to make it a small sailboat. Any ideas…?
  2. portacruise
    Joined: Jun 2009
    Posts: 1,090
    Likes: 28, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 218
    Location: USA

    portacruise Senior Member

    Thanks for posting, I have similar interests and situation, but use a different approach. Please do not take my comments the wrong way, no disrespect meant.

    Comments below.


  3. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 3,002
    Likes: 202, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1279
    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Matter of fact, there have been several "torus sailboats" built by the fellows around the Manatee Maritime Museum (Bradenton Florida). These have been done mostly for the humorous aspect but they actually will sail, just not very well. The whole idea was to build a sailboat for the least amount of money. It became a sort of contest. A lot of PVC pipe, bamboo poles, scrap plywood, duct tape and black garbage bags for sails. Larger Torus boats were tried with the big tubes like the ones pulled behind power boats. The larger tubes had to be stolen in order to keep the total cost at minimum. A good time was had by all.

    Congrats on the success of your adventure. It seems to me that the troller and battery are a PITA not worth the trouble especially if you need to drag them through the woods along with the boat. Your boat might qualify for the sneakiest fishermans equipment award. You can hide it in your truck as well as never having to explain to your wife that you have been fishing. Who'd know? Good on you!
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.