The Dave Scadden Zonker build

Last year I ran in to Don Cheserek at San Luis reservoir launching his tricked out float tube and it inspired me to upgrade my 30 year old pontoon boat.   I think Ive bought a new float tube every ten years,  I remember my very first inner tube style float tube that I bought at the Millpond in the 70s made by Stream Designs.  I used that float tube to fish the local lakes for bass and bluegill.  Owning a boat was a pipe dream back then but owning a float tube opened up a whole new world to fish in.   I still get a thrill every time I kick out on a float tube.

Several years ago , I spent three ice cold days kicking around in a float tube at Henderson Springs ponds.  That evening after dinner,  I had the worse leg cramps I have ever experienced.  I later attributed that crippling experience to a potassium\magnesium deficiency and dehydration.   When you are kicking around all day,  you lose track of how hard you are constantly working.   Fishing for 6 hours from a tube can be like running a marathon without even knowing it.  Watching Don Cheserek load a full sized Minn Kota trolling motor on a 35 lb float tube inspired me to try to design and fabricate a light small jet motorized float tube that would run on a really small lithium battery.

I started out by purchasing a Dave Scadden Zonker which is a 22 lb 5 foot float tube with a built in motor mount.   I wanted something small enough to put in my truck bed with a motor mount.  Without the the motor,  it only weighs 22 lbs. The next modification was to attach a Bixby Jet  to the float tube motor mount and engineer a steering pole.   The Bixby Jet is a perfectly sized remote control trolling motor and was exactly what I was looking for to power the small float tube.

I also needed some stable mounts to attach cameras and original design had an inflatable platform with a soft seat which I thought was not steady enough for camera mounts.   I decided to build a plywood platform to attach a stadium seat , some GoPro mounts and a Scotty Rod Holder for a monopod.  The Bixby motor is controlled by a remote control

The whole unit is very lite and the Jet mounts to the tube very easily and is locked in with pins,  I cant wait to try it out at Henderson Springs or Baum Lake  soon.

A nifty way to hold a net using a MOP Broom Holder riveted to an oar.  The oar is still usable with net attached.

One thought on “The Dave Scadden Zonker build

  1. I am so glad to have found your post. Like you, I own the Bixpy and am considering the Zonker. I’d love to chat with you but failing that, a few questions if I may:

    1. Is the Zonker really only 5 feet long – in the picture, it looks a bit longer.

    2. Given how short the front it,when you lean forward in the seat, does it fee a bit tippy forward? The aggressive rocker means that that there is not as much flotation towards the front end. (May I ask what you weigh?)

    3. How fast is your max speed on the Bixpy? I realize that the Zonker is not designed for speed. 🙂

    4. Is there a reason for not going with the longer Scadden units as they will glide better – just size?


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