Fishing inflatables (premium/high end)

DontKillZander

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I've done over 50 hours of wiggling and jiggling the absolute juiciest looking baits in and around cover and features on canals since we've been allowed back out, and my results are abysmal

I'm starting to face up to the reality that if I want to be a successful lure angler then I need to find the Perch - "If they're not there, you won't catch them" as they say.

I usually try to fish cover/features on around a 1/2 mile (or less) of canal in a long 6-10 hour session, and it's nowhere near good enough, I just absolutely hate walking and it saps the fun out of it for me.

Solution:
Well in any case - the solution has to fit in my boot and be stored easily - hardshell out of the question...

I've been putting a lot of time into researching inflatables, small fishing boats/dinghies/kayaks, there's some good technology "floating around" on the premium end of the market, such as drop-stitching which allows for more hardshell-like / rigid inflatables, made with really durable materials and they appear to be quite high performing / stable / even stand up-able in some cases, and there's plenty of modification stuff on youtube and whatnot.

I'm thinking a mid-high end inflatable sit-on-top fishing kayak or dinghy, with some sort of custom carpeted wood/aluminium floor solution and a little trolling motor, maybe even a little fish finder? Proper American style!
The way I see it, not a drop of canal / lake / reservoir / river on my route will go unjigged, coffee and sandwiches on deck.

Anybody done/doing this?
All seems perfectly legit/accessible - and apparently a growing sport, according to the canal and river trust.
Are there any important "issues" I'm missing? Is this just a ridiculous idea?
- Or does it sound good? What's your experience / opinion?
 

squimp

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I know lots of predator anglers with boats.

some make the effort and make good use of them, but plenty of others spend lots of money and then never use them !

ive thought about it, but never taken the plunge.

my advice would be to do your homework and work out exactly what you need as there are so many options. Buy the right craft first time around.

Then think about boat storage, transport to/from different fisheries, launching and even licensing Etc etc.
 

DontKillZander

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I’ve got the below. You do end up farting about more than fishing but it is fun seeing the water from a different perspective. Quite an expensive game though boats are a money pits lol
1592891339628.jpeg

That's a lovely craft, what's the make/model?

The seats look a bit unwieldy though, I'd be looking for more strapped-on / fold away options.

Nice decking, I'm guessing that's custom and comes out in secions? or..?
 

Sportsman

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Try a float tube, perfect for lure fishing on a canal or lake.
People say you can't land big fish from a float tube, not true. Fishing for silure, or wels catfish from a float tube is very popular here, where lure fishing for preds is the most popular style of fishing.

float.png
 

Silverfisher

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@DontKillZander its sea eagle fish skiff 16.

The seats are strapped down rotate 360 and the back rest folds down so aren't really a problem, especially when there's just one of you on there so you don't need the front one.

There's no decking the whole hull is inflatable. The only part of the actual boat that isnt inflatable is obviously the transom.

I was out on it this morning as it happens. I basically just use it when I don't have time for a proper session on the bank although do want to hit some harbour from it once we can properly travel again.
 

Silverfisher

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I'd be falling straight out of those!

I've seen videos of people standing to cast and play fish in the one I have but tbh I'm not all than keen on standing in mine as is a bit wobbly, seems a bit pointless as well when I've got a seat lol
 

DontKillZander

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@DontKillZander its sea eagle fish skiff 16.

The seats are strapped down rotate 360 and the back rest folds down so aren't really a problem, especially when there's just one of you on there so you don't need the front one.

There's no decking the whole hull is inflatable. The only part of the actual boat that isnt inflatable is obviously the transom.

I was out on it this morning as it happens. I basically just use it when I don't have time for a proper session on the bank although do want to hit some harbour from it once we can properly travel again.

I knew it was one I'd seen whilst researching the options - just couldn't recall.

I do want to optimise the portability / setup / farting about as much as possible and make sure I buy correctly with the first trigger pull for what I want -
Again, that Skiff looks brilliant but definitely a notch or 2 above what I'm after in size and price.

I'm liking the look of the smaller Sea Eagle options, in fact I'm pretty much set on going with one - deciding between the SUP, both Kayaks, and all 3 Dinghies.
 

Silverfisher

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Yeah it is a bit OTT for the rivers but bought it with the harbours in mind as well so it had to be pretty proper. Got a proper outboard for it as well as the electric one. I work in the boating industry so luckily have access to a treasure trove of gadgets and info on such stuff lol.

I’d go for one of the dinghies as they’ll be easier to fish from. Nearly got one myself then thought sod it and got the skiff. I’ve fished from kayaks and have my own as well but they are much more awkward to fish from than a boat unless you get a super duper one which doesn’t really exist in the inflatable market.
 

MartinWY

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Can't speak about kayaks and so on but I've had quite a few boats over the years, two of them were inflatables of the "rib style". To be quite honest, I didn't find them to be very good fishing platforms. Both had high pressure inflatable floors and a petrol outboard, a 4hp on the smaller one at 2.8m and a 15hp 2 stroke on the second, which was a zodiac fastroller 3.4m, edging towards a proper boat.

The zodiac was pretty quick as you might imagine, capable of 25 knots+ one up, but fishing in it was a bit iffy. Yes, you could sort of walk about in it, ish, but it wasn't terribly stable. You really had to sit on the tubes to be safe and that was another problem. the width of the tubes. It made fishing over the side or bringing in any kind of sizeable fish or a crab pot a bit awkward. Lack of a bow roller meant pulling anchor was a faff too. It was awkward to launch even in a mild chop and the lack of a proper keel meant it went over rather than through the waves, far from ideal. That will be the case with any inflatable, even with a high pressure air keel. They are better than no keel, but no substitute for GRP or metal.

I had all the gubbins (launch wheels, fish finders, battery etc) fitted to the Zodiac in such a way that it would break down completely for transport in an estate car. Setting it up became a chore, but not as much as cleaning it did. You can't realistically just pack an inflatable away wet and leave it, it needs to be packed away, put in the car, driven home and unpackaged again for cleaning, unless you can find a way to do it bankside or on a beach and that isn't great unless you have a hose. Typing this has just brought back the horrors of cleaning the air floor, which had a sort of texturised fabric under foot, totally impossible to clean properly.

For these reasons, I don't consider the pack away inflatables to be convenient unless they are used as yacht tenders. I guess you could put them on a small trailer, which sort of defeats the point. If you're going to do that, a rib would be a far better choice but still has the issue of the width of tubes.

Dont get me wrong, some people love fishing from ribs and get along fine, but I'm just not one of them. I am currently boatless, but Ive decided that my next boat will have a GRP hull and if I can get a deal on one, a diesel outboard. Petrol can be hard to find in marinas and running back and forth with tanks can be a real pain, especially if the garage wont let you take more than 5L at a time in a container...which happens. Not an issue on a tiny engine, but potentially could be on anything over 10hp.

If you do look into a cheap GRP runabout, whatever you do, dont buy a Dejon. They are literally death traps and deserving of their reputation.

If you're looking exclusively at lake/river use, maybe take a look at Linder aluminium boats. The small ones are very light (so can be towed on B licence unbraked) and make excellent inshore boats. The only caveat being the aluminium can get hot in direct sun, but not an issue for the UK really. Very popular in Scandinavia and for good reason. They come up used from time to time. Can take a beating but need to be inspected well if used.

Just my 2p. Hope it helps with your decision.
 

MartinWY

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I’ve got the below. You do end up farting about more than fishing but it is fun seeing the water from a different perspective. Quite an expensive game though boats are a money pits lol
1592891339628.jpeg

I like that for rivers, canals and lakes, similar in style to my triton from some years back (in USA land)
 

Silverfisher

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Yeah it works like a dream on the Thames. Handles well, plenty of space for stuff, is quiet and drafts next to nothing.

Not sure it’ll be much cop at sea in this country but would only use it on flat calm days inshore. All the promotional videos are in Long Island sound and the Mississippi delta so is designed for the sea but their sea isn’t quite as potentially nasty as ours so if I do ever do it I’ll be super cautious.
 

MartinWY

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Yeah it works like a dream on the Thames. Handles well, plenty of space for stuff, is quiet and drafts next to nothing.

Not sure it’ll be much cop at sea in this country but would only use it on flat calm days inshore. All the promotional videos are in Long Island sound and the Mississippi delta so is designed for the sea but their sea isn’t quite as potentially nasty as ours so if I do ever do it I’ll be super cautious.

The lack of freeboard would probably keep me well inside the harbour walls I reckon but those little Minn Kota's are fabulous and surprisingly powerful.
 

Silverfisher

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Yes I don’t think I’d go in open water other than perhaps sheltered coves. I’d have the Honda on it as well if I took it to sea.
 
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