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Don't rock the boat, baby
July 18, 2007 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I want to buy a cheap inflatable boat rugged enough to go fishing in.

I live by a lake in Georgia, which is where I would be fishing. Since sometime this winter I plan to move, the lack of a long lifetime is not an issue. Cost, size, and durability for this summer/fall are.
I need something small enough/compressible enough to throw in the trunk of my car (an older Honda Accord). So far, googling indicates my best options are Sea Eagle, Intex, or Sevylor - at least, those are the brands that are both cheap AND claim to be durable enough for fishing - I don't want a stray fishhook to ruin my day! I've also come across the idea of a kickboat, though I'd rather something easy to row (part of the reason I want to do this is the workout aspect).
So, any particular brand/model recommendations? Any advice on what I should be looking for in the specs (e.g. PVC vs. PU/PVC)?
I'd mostly be going alone, and would be willing to spend about $300 max.
posted by solotoro to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Cabellas has a great selection (and a really nice paper catalogue)... here's something like you were looking for...
posted by acro at 3:52 PM on July 18, 2007


Many years ago I spent a summer playing with the older version of this. It was a decent boat, it could actually take a motor, the one I used had a little electric trolling motor on it. It also had two main air chambers that completely encircled the boat. I never tried that feature out, but I guess the theory was that if you popped one you would still have the other one to keep you from sinking.

It was not the kind of boat that you would want to use in anything other than very calm weather, but I'm guessing you won't have to worry about that too much on a small lake in Georgia.

The weak point on all the cheap inflatable boats including the one I mentioned, seems to be the oar locks. It's not that they break, its that they retain the oars with rubber O-rings that you constantly have to reset as you row. If you can find a cheap boat that uses an oar lock with a pin attached to the oar rather than an oar lock that uses a rubber loop attached to the boat, buy it.

If you're planning on doing this alone, you had better have a PFD, even if it makes you feel stupid.
posted by 517 at 4:52 PM on July 18, 2007


I like fishing out of an inflatable kayak: the one I use is covered in a heavy woven nylon over a PVC air bladder. The nylon covering is about as thick as you'd find on a dufflebag and resists fishhooks (I actually stick lures on its surface because mine is too small to fit a tacklebox). It's much easier to maneuver than a raft because you've only got the one double-ended oar to deal with and its slim profile allows you to ease through reeds and other cover--it's awesome for big mouth bass fishing. Stability isn't an issue; I've yet to tip it over (and I've tried to roll it intentionally without any success).

It was about $150 for a one-person kayak although I'd recommend getting a 2 person model so you have a built-in catch bucket.
posted by jamaro at 5:15 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Are you anywhere near any of the Army posts down there? It may be a drive for you, but those military towns have great "G.I. Joe" surplus stores. Go look for a life raft. With any luck you'll find one with the insta-inflate cartridge so you can impress you friends/kids.
posted by snsranch at 5:49 PM on July 18, 2007


My geologist dad plays with rocks up in Svalbard for about a month every summer. They use a Zodiac. If it's good enough for the Arctic, it must be good enough for fishing. They're way expensive new, but maybe you can get one used? I think the army uses them, so maybe follow up on snsranch's suggestion?
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 12:01 AM on July 19, 2007


Until recently we had a Porta-Bote for a good few years, using it for both lake and river fishing. It's very stable, relatively light and extremely durable.

Although you couldn't throw it in the trunk of an Accord, you can easily strap it to the roof.
posted by ceri richard at 2:52 AM on July 19, 2007


When I was a kid, I had a Sevylor and fished out of it at least once a week. I never had a problem with fish hooks, though I will admit I was extra cautious.

The only "complaint" I would lodge is that (at least back in the day) their 'capacity rating' seemed a bit generous. My boat was rated for two adults, but I think one twelve-year-old kid and a tackle box was probably more accurate.
posted by jknecht at 10:26 AM on July 19, 2007


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