Hot Rod Float Tube

Ive been using my July 4th week working around the house and doing some fishing projects that I have put off just waiting for an opportunity to fish.   Since getting back from Baha, its been difficult to get back to fishing San Luis Reservoir and  I have’t fished it since I got back. It could be that I’ve been forever spoiled by how great Dorado are that no other fish can match them.  But its actually the fact that the wind has been relentless this month and there has not been even a small window of opportunity for fishable wind in the last couple weeks. A friend of mine went out last week , Drained his trolling battery using spot lock in 20 mph winds and ended up having to do  in the water surgery on the main prop of his boat in pitching 2 foot waves because of a wrapped fly line. What a mess having to go into the water to fix that.  Two weeks ago,  Vaughn and I fished in the wind and even though we did catch a few,  it just wasn’t worth it.

After my last trip to Henderson Springs with Gina, I decided to upgrade my float tube. My modified Skadden Zonker was too heavy and big to lug onto the back of the Revel Van, so instead I fished my ten year old Outcast Fish Cat which easily fit on the  back of the van.   Using the lighter frameless  tube was great when it came to stowing and launching but I really missed the Zonker and all the mods I made to it for Cameras, Nets, extra rods and the Bixby Motor.   Driving back  I decided to see if I could design a large light frameless float tube that would still have all the bells and whistles that I had on the Zonker.

I decided to start with one of the largest frameless float tunes on the market – the Outcast Prowler.  The OSG Prowler has a beefier weight capacity than some of our other boats and works well for bigger anglers. It’s built to stand up to the rigors of 25 or more days on the water per year.  I planned to mount a  Bixby Fin Adapter for my J-1  Bixby Motor to the bottom of the tube and get rid of the need for  oars and framework weight.   Its much lighter even with the battery and motor mounted on the Prowler than my Zonker without a motor.    I saw a video of how a Russian fisherman actually mounted a full size trolling motor to a Prowler. which made me believe I could steer the  float tube with fins instead of a tiller.   Ill have to perfect that next time out.

First thing I modded was adding the Fin Box under the tube and also mounting two Scotty mounts to the  top sides of the tube.     I used a glue called Stabond to do this after researching different adhesives for Inflatable Boats.    Next,  I modified a tray to hold three  fly rods.    I like to have three rods ready when I still water fish –  one with a sinking line,  one chironomid setup and one Dry Fly setup.   I mainly use 10 foot 3 and 4 wgt rods for all three.    The construction of the rod holder consists of a shoe tray and a three rod storage holder.  I put them together with aluminum rivets but you can also use screws.   I added some Straps and snaps to attach it to the Prowler on the left tube instead of the tackle storage there.  The next thing I did was to build a cross bar that fish into the scotty accessory attachments I glued to each tube.    The prowler comes with a flimsy amateur mounted stripping apron that I modified to fit on a light rigid  span of U Aluminum stock.   The bar slips into the  Scotty mounts and makes it easy to swing out, or remove the bar to get out and into the tube.   Its also more ridged and you can lean on it without falling into the water if you are reaching forward.    Originally I made it out of PVC tubing but I went with U stock aluminum as the most ridged and lightest material.    Also I mounted some 1 inch ball attachments to the tray and bars to facilitate some cameras and motor controllers.

The result is a motorized fishing craft that is both light,  easily mounted to the van and can carry my net,  fishfinder,  three rods and move me around quickly and effortlessly.  Nothing beat the ease of loading it back on the van quickly and easily  in the dark after fishing a long day.

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