TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


Please visit our sponsor Slowride Guide Services
User avatar
By 1texasaggie
#2256177
I'm very interested in purchasing a Solo Skiff, researched every bit of information possible and extremely curious to hear your thoughts...especially from a Texas kayak fishing perspective.

I would prefer the Suzuki 6hp and will load down with approximately 280lbs (minimal gear + body weight). I would exclusively fish protected waters, never cross / enter an open bay or gulf surf and will use a float on trailer. I'm also an experienced kayaker, currently own two other microskiffs and just looking for something more user friendly for navigating backwater marshes.

Specifically, I was curious to know how well the Solo Skiff paddles, especially in the south winds we see throughout the spring and summer? If you've added a swivel seat, does it help?

For former owners, why did you sell your Solo Skiff? I've seen what appears to be a disproportionate number of used Solo's for sale and interested to learn the reason.

For past or present owners, what would you do different (rigging or otherwise) and do you have any new recommendations not previously discussed?

Thanks in advance!
By hipshot
#2256216
I haven't paddled mine, but it poles well enough. I went with a swivel seat for a variety of reasons, but mostly because the extra five inches of elevation it gave me made it easier to rest my left foot on the gunwale while running. The seat is a much more stable sitting position, especially in rough water, than the cushion on the hatch that tended to slide around.

I love the boat; the only drawback to the design is that the outboard must be all the way down when running. Tilting it up partway to the shallow running position results in the prop hitting the hull when turning, because of the split tail design. I love the open transom. Stuffing a wave is no problem; the water is gone in a second. No wallowing around half swamped for thirty seconds while a scupper tries to drain twenty gallons of water. I have had it out in St. Charles Bay in a screaming wind; at half throttle I was driving through the waves, not over them, and the boat handled it admirably. I did add a "chicken grip" to the starboard side of the hatch box to hang on to in rough water. That made it a lot more comfortable to handle in the rough stuff.

I am actually considering a longtail mud motor kit for the boat for a couple of 'always too shallow' places I fish; I often end up poling several hundred yards in soft poot mud in a stiff breeze; not much fun. But all things considered, I absolutely love the boat, and will continue to use it until (if) something better comes along.
By WC53
#2256249
Good choice on motor and trailer. I wish I had room to store a trailer... It would increase use.

I paddle it quite a bit as there are muck bottoms around most of my areas. It tracks very straight and moves better than expected. Not fun in a quartering wind. I paddle it mostly as a sup looking for fish. If you get the wind at yourback it can move you quite nicely. I think my paddle is a 250cm. I have a modified kayak seat on mine, makes it more secure and helps with sciatica.

If I know I am not traveling far, I take the gas motor of and put a trolling motor on the stern. I can barely turn the motor on and quietly work a bank.

I would like it more if it was lighter, but that goes back to the trailer point
User avatar
By 1texasaggie
#2256279
I haven't paddled mine, but it poles well enough. I went with a swivel seat for a variety of reasons...seat is a much more stable sitting position, especially in rough water.


Thanks again for the PM and excellent info. These were two things I was actually very curious about.

Good choice on motor and trailer...I paddle it quite a bit as there are muck bottoms around most of my areas. It tracks very straight and moves better than expected... I think my paddle is a 250cm. I have a modified kayak seat on mine, makes it more secure and helps with sciatica.

I really appreciate the feedback! I read that some owners have been using a 9' paddle, but since you mentioned it working, I will definitely try my 250cm (?) paddle first. I hear you with the sciatica...I'm not getting any younger and have had too many sports injuries to go without a good seat.

Even though I plan to primarily paddle, I'm really encouraged by hipshot's report and also hope to pole. I've tried countless times in the past, but nearly get blown off several trips and finally just gave up. The Solo sits so low that I'm excited for one more try.
By hipshot
#2256493
If you opt for a swivel seat, look for a stainless swivel and quick release base; I got mine at Outback Kayaks if you can't find them near you. If you're looking to save money on a push pole, I'm told the TFO pole is pretty nice and more affordable that the Stiffy. I went with the 8' two-piece Park 'N Pole (I think it's from Yak Attack?) and bought two extra sections; it totals out at 16' and floats. It's thinner than a standard push pole, and stiff enough for the Solo. I wouldn't want to try to pole a full size skiff with it though. I used some blue LocTite in the threaded joints and haven't had a problem with it over the two years I've been using it. I bought some stand-alone navigation lights from Railblaza. They mount in Railblaza ports and with the self-contained batteries (AA and AAA) I don't have to run wiring through the boat. The LEDs are very bright and the white 360 light came with the required one meter pole. I store the lights in a watertight box in the hatch with the batteries removed, and I can have them up and on in two minutes when I run at night, or if a fog rolls in.

One thing I am considering is getting a short extension for my combination light and mounting a chock on the bow. I mounted cleats forward of the cockpit for docking and anchoring. If the wind kicks up and the boat starts blowing side to side off the anchor, I get a bit of hull slap that may put the fish down. Running the anchor line through a chock on the bow will help keep the nose into the wind better, and eliminate most of the noise.
User avatar
By 1texasaggie
#2256621
Hi Hipshot, thanks for the follow-up info. I planned to use a Tempress all weather high back seat together with their quick disconnect mount kit...for times when the wind lays down enough to pole, I'll just remove the seat and stand on the hatch lid (Solo "platform").

I've been using a Superstick (9-17) push pole on my Gheenoe that I was also going to try out on the Solo. It's probably overkill, but may actually work and worse case scenario, will also double as a good anchor pin that I can easily deploy, even when standing.

Yes sir, I really like the functionality of the Railblaza system. Planned to use the G Hold for both paddle and push pole on starboard and port beam gunwales. I also thought about mounting a Railblaza Star Port HD up on the starboard bow for my primary rod holder and then using a Ram Mount Tube 2008 attached to the starboard side of the transom as a secondary rod holder.

Glad you mentioned the Extendapole 1000 b/c I was going to ask you about lights...noticed it and now feel confident about using it as my bright white light, many thanks! I also planned to use a Navisafe 355 tricolor in a Railblaza starport on the forward bow for the navigation light.

I wanted to see what you thought about installing hatches...mounting an oval hatch forward of the storage cooler and another hatch on the storage cooler lid itself? I planned to use a spare fuel bottle and thought the front hatch storage bag would be the safest place for it. In addition, the type of bungee used to hold down the storage cooler lid is usually a pain...thought about securing the lid with straps instead. Then, with a twist handle hatch on the cooler lid, I could easily reach down and pull out drinks, or quickly shove a slot red into the cooler.

What do you think about an anchor trolley? Finally, thought about installing a Hobie mesh pocket underneath gunwales directly next to seat for quick access to pliers, lip grip, etc.
By WC53
#2256676
They have a facebook page, official solo skiff, and the owner post frequently and answers questions. I don’t think anyone recommends storing a fuel bottle in the hull, most use a bracket like a water bottle mount, etc. I put mine in the side pocket of a cooler behind the seat.

Tom doesn’t recommend square or oval hatches or even the 8” hobbie for upront as he says it was designed for a 6” hatch. You see it all the time, just fui.
User avatar
By pshay4
#2256682
I have a push pole and a paddle. Paddling is faster for me. I bought a 280cm paddle, because my kayak paddle just wasn't long enough. I don't have a seat, but would like to have something for back support. I'm just leery of drilling holes. I have one of the original fiberglass Solos and really like the glide it has when I paddle.
User avatar
By 1texasaggie
#2256697
Has anyone with a 6hp ever been checked by a Game Warden...did they mention anything about being over the CG rating?

They have a facebook page, official solo skiff, and the owner post frequently and answers questions.

Thanks, I joined the group last week and looking forward to TM's response on some of the questions I haven't been able to find answers to yet.

I don’t think anyone recommends storing a fuel bottle in the hull, most use a bracket like a water bottle mount, etc. I put mine in the side pocket of a cooler behind the seat. Tom doesn’t recommend square or oval hatches or even the 8” hobbie for upront as he says it was designed for a 6” hatch.

Good to know, thanks. I called Florida today to make arrangements to buy a Solo Skiff. Haven't ordered the motor yet b/c I'm considering switching to the 5hp Tohatsu with external 3- gallon tank, but want to take measurements and ensure it will fit between the transom and center box. As such, I now plan to mount only one hatch...on the cooler lid.

Paddling is faster for me. I bought a 280cm paddle, because my kayak paddle just wasn't long enough.

x2. I used to own an Otter Stealth that had a beam width similar to the Solo that also required a 9' paddle...wish I would have hung onto it now.
User avatar
By El Guapo77
#2256734
If you are interested in a 5HP tohatsu you might as well get the 6HP. They weigh the same amount and you will get a few more MPH on the solo with the extra horsepower.
User avatar
By 1texasaggie
#2256741
If you are interested in a 5HP tohatsu you might as well get the 6HP. They weigh the same amount and you will get a few more MPH on the solo with the extra horsepower.

That was my initial thought as well, but unfortunately the max rating for the Solo Skiff is still 5hp. One horsepower over the limit seems like a ridiculous reason to get a ticket, but it's technically the law...should a GW choose to enforce it. I don't want to get into a situation where I have to worry about getting a ticket, then have to get rid of a 6hp outboard only to turn around and replace it with a 5hp.

I also own a Gheenoe Classic 15, which is a magnet for drawing unwanted attention at the boat ramp or on the water. Folks walk up, start taking pictures and often say. "look at that kayak / pirogue / canoe with a 20hp motor".

That's why I asked if anyone ever had ever been checked by a GW. I had one walk up to my Gheenoe several years ago, stop, stare for a second, then walk back to the transom. He read the CG plate and while I can't remember his exact words, it was something to the effect of, "I couldn't believe anyone would be crazy enough to hang a 20hp on a boat like this, but this thing is actually rated for a 25hp...WOW!". I laughed and told him there were actually lunatics out in FL hanging 50hp motors on Gheenoes similar to mine.

After a brief discussion, he confirmed what I had been told in the past by TP&W, that going over the limit can be construed as reckless operation of a motor vehicle. He admitted to rarely ever checking anyone's CG rating, was primarily looking for game or safety violations, but said my boat was so unusual it caught his attention. That's why I'm equally apprehensive about going over the limit on a nano skiff billed as the, "fishing kayak on steroids". There are so many GW's where I normally fish that sooner or later, it's bound to catch their eye.
User avatar
By castin4fish
#2256751
Not a Solo owner, but am on the Solo Skiff FB group because like you am interested. I agree with you on the 6hp and keeping the law on the safe side. Ive seen some of the posts where the 5hp is the same motor as the 6hp but carbed different. I seen them buy the 5hp and recarb it so you have a 5hp with the 6hp economy and power. Just saying. If you mention it on the FB group you will definently get hit with threads on it. Good luck.
User avatar
By TexasJim
#2256801
One could buy the cover for a 5 HP engine and put it on the 6, or buy a "5" decal from diylettering that looks just like the 6. The GW isn't gonna look close enough to detect the difference
My skiff is an "antique", and I am not required to have the ugly state registration sticker on the hull, I just have to have them onboard. A GW asked me why I didn't have stickers, and I educated her and read the back of the sticker to her. She didn't know that. She never asked anything about my outboard( a 1961 Johnson), which doesn't even belong to me or have a title. TexasJim
User avatar
By GoDoe
#2256889
I've been stopped by GW. They did not look or ask about the rating for motor size.

I personally don't want an external tank taking up space on the deck and the 5hp Tohatsu only comes with an external tank. Maybe you can find another brand that has both internal and external tanks. I spoke to Tom Mitzloff about the motors, kind of worried about the weight. Even the 5hp Tohatsu is over the weight rating for the transom.

He said it is not a worry. That the transoms are much stronger that the rating for 50 lbs.

I would prefer to scratch off the decals than to buy a 5 hp. I have the 6 hp and it works well and gives me the option to have an external tank but I have never had a need to use one. I keep a 1 gal can of gas in the storage while fishing. I keep a funnel in there too. Then I can take the long nozzle off the gas can, it wont fit into the storage.

The internal tank will hold .3 gal and that will get you 5-6 miles. So between the internal tank and my gas can I could run the skiff 20-24 miles. I have run it a long way before but never that far in one day. I will commonly run 5 -6 miles to get to a spot.

I use my Solo about 65 days a year and it is the perfect tool for my type of fishing. 100% standing up, poling and sight fishing in water 6" to 14" deep. There are alternatives so its best to know your fishing methods then match the boat-skiff-kayak to that. It does take more effort to have a motor (maintenacne and care) and a boat-skiff on a trailer (maintenance and storage) than to own a kayak. I personally think this is why you see some people buy Solo's then put them up for sale. They really just don't use the attritubes that the Solo provides and the extra trouble jsut isn't worht it.

Just an opinion for a satisfied owner/user for about 4 years. I have the fiberglass Solo. Roto's were not out when I bought.

John
User avatar
By Cuervo Jones
#2256964
I keep eyeballing these things and thinking hard about them. Then I think about motor maintenance. And all the redfish I’ve found tailing mere yards from the launch. And the smell of gasoline. And the sound of an engine. And the $$ for registration. And insurance. And a trailer. And a pole. And lights. And I cast a long gaze at my kayaks and realize...I love them!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
User avatar
By Chubs
#2256971
Cuervo Jones wrote:I keep eyeballing these things and thinking hard about them. Then I think about motor maintenance. And all the redfish I’ve found tailing mere yards from the launch. And the smell of gasoline. And the sound of an engine. And the $$ for registration. And insurance. And a trailer. And a pole. And lights. And I cast a long gaze at my kayaks and realize...I love them!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Amen!
User avatar
By 1texasaggie
#2256980
Thanks to everyone for all the help!

I keep eyeballing these things and thinking hard about them. Then I think about motor maintenance. And all the redfish I’ve found tailing mere yards from the launch. And the smell of gasoline. And the sound of an engine. And the $$ for registration. And insurance. And a trailer. And a pole. And lights. And I cast a long gaze at my kayaks and realize...I love them!!!

I completely agree. Kayaks are awesome and I still own 4 of them. For me personally, there's almost equal routine maintenance and labor involved in either boat or kayak. Granted, there's certainly more expense in maintaining a boat. Keeping things in perspective, most folks will spend more on booze every year than the expense of maintaining a Solo Skiff. I don't drink, so fishing is my vice.

Rather than an old 2- smoke, I strictly run 4- stroke outboards, where the smell doesn't bother me...and I'm someone who is extremely sensitive to gas fumes. With modern 4- stroke small outboards, the sound is also negligible...and again, I'm someone easily bothered by loud engines such as sitting next to the wing on a commercial flight.

The key issue for me becomes fishing pressure, at least in my neck of the woods. If you're finding tailing reds mere yards from the launch without 20- kayaks + a nest of power boats being all over you potlicking, I envy you b/c those days are long gone for me. Consider yourself extremely fortunate and savor these moments, at least while they last.

I personally don't want an external tank taking up space on the deck and the 5hp Tohatsu only comes with an external tank. Maybe you can find another brand that has both internal and external tanks. I spoke to Tom Mitzloff about the motors, kind of worried about the weight. Even the 5hp Tohatsu is over the weight rating for the transom.

Excellent point. Looks like I'm back to the 52lb Suzi 6hp and foresee a "5" cowling decal in my immediate future. Back when the fiberglass version debuted, I actually called and spoke to Tom at length about the Solo. He gave me the Tohatsu 3.5hp pitch, but later changed his mind and actually recommended the 5hp after discovering I was literally twice his size.

Concern over oyster rash kept me away from the original fiberglass version, but weight considerations made me hesitant on the rotomold and wanted to wait and see how everything panned out. Out of curiosity, which 1- gallon fuel tank do you use and where do you store it?

The internal tank will hold .3 gal and that will get you 5-6 miles. So between the internal tank and my gas can I could run the skiff 20-24 miles. I have run it a long way before but never that far in one day. I will commonly run 5 -6 miles to get to a spot.

This was one of the biggest question marks I had and really appreciate the input. This is actually better than anticipated and another reason to get the internal tank.

It does take more effort to have a motor (maintenance and care) and a boat-skiff on a trailer (maintenance and storage) than to own a kayak. I personally think this is why you see some people buy Solo's then put them up for sale.

Makes sense. Plus, I've noticed quite a few folks want the ability to carry along a passenger. I've owned a number of skiffs over the years and found kayak maintenance to be equally labor intensive...primarily b/c I've owned heavier kayaks and kayak trailers are typically not salt water resistant.

The mfg's try to claim they are, but my Malone MicroSport rusts like crazy unless I wash and lube the heck out of it every time it hits the salt. This means I'm required to pick the kayak up off the trailer and walk it over to the water...times two with my wife's kayak. Granted, if I didn't have to worry about my wife's kayak, I would have just bought a McClain small boat trailer from Academy, launching and retrieving my kayak just like a boat. With a power boat, it floats on and off without busting a gut. And, the trailer doesn't require constant scrubbing + Corrosion X...just periodic maintenance in critical areas and annual hub regreasing at the same time I have the engine maintenanced.
By hipshot
#2257000
After speaking to John (Go Doe) many times -- and he was extremely gracious & helpful -- as well as Tom Mitzlaff, I too was hesitant to go with the Tohatsu 5 because of the external tank. However, after looking at it I found that the 3 gallon tank fits just fine between the seat and the outboard. I have no other use for that space anyway, and I added some pad eyes so I could anchor my tank and my RTIC soft cooler in that space. Works like a champ! IIRC the 5 HP 4 stroke Merc (it and the Yammy are made by Tohatsu) does have an internal tank, and Bass Pro has run them on sale for prices comparable to the Tohatsu.

I still like my kayaks, and still own three of them. But the Solo gives me much greater range and it allows me to fish when it's too windy to paddle. I have to put in for my time off far in advance, and I have a talent for picking the windiest weeks of the season to hit the coast. I've spent too many days sitting on the bank watching the whitecaps after taking a week off and driving several hundred miles to fish. The maintenance costs and procedures are negligible; they are well worth the extra time I get to fish. And with kayaks growing in popularity daily, spots to yourself are getting harder to find. I love my Solo. They aren't for everyone, but they sure do work for me.
User avatar
By 1texasaggie
#2257044
However, after looking at it I found that the 3 gallon tank fits just fine between the seat and the outboard. I have no other use for that space anyway, and I added some pad eyes so I could anchor my tank and my RTIC soft cooler in that space.

That's awesome and a huge relief, thanks!

I've been going back and forth trying to make a logical decision between internal vs external tank. Since it looks like an external tank will fit comfortably between the Solo's hatch and transom, Suzuki actually has an external tank option available for the 6hp.

The reach of an internal tank and potential safety hazards associated with it are what really threw me. Some Solo owners report absolutely dismal fuel economy with a 6hp, while the mfg specs appear to completely contradict this. GoDoe's numbers ultimately helped dial in realistic usage expectations to make a practical decision.

While those numbers were better than I initially anticipated, it dawned on me that I would be forced to stop and refuel on the way to distant fishing holes. This is something I would rather not do for safety reasons. While I may be wrong and it's been several years since owning my last 4- stroke Suzi kicker, I thought the manual mentioned refilling a hot engine was something that should be avoided.

In addition, I can only assume Suzuki measures run times (internal tank) in neutral b/c I cannot envision their 6hp getting almost 3-times the fuel economy of an equivalent Tohatsu. In fact, I would assume they are nearly identical in both performance and economy.

The Suzi online specs are, "45-minutes @ WOT"...or roughly 12- 15 miles on an internal 6hp tank. If this were even remotely accurate, I could easily make it to distant fishing holes and back without refueling since I strictly paddle until it's time for me to leave.

In addition to being slightly lighter in terms of weight, another thing I like about Suzuki is how quiet the engine is. Based on the two Suzi 4- stroke outboards I've owned in the recent past (one large, one small), I often had to visually check and make sure water was exiting the pee hole in windy conditions b/c the engine was so quiet I couldn't hear it running.
User avatar
By GoDoe
#2257046
The one gal plastic tank from Walmart. Throw away the spout and screw the cap and plug on the tank.

I think most if not all of the internal tank models are also external tank capable but the other way is not true. The external tank and hose are not cheap either.

I keep my lunch cooler between the platform and the motor or my 48 qt cooler if I happen to be keeping fish.

Just peel whatever sticker is on the cowling off. If asks just say it is a 5 hp. I can't imagine anybody would care if it is over by 1 hp and a couple of pounds.

IMG_0557.JPG
Old Quintana Rd.

You can't read either? I have no insults or innuen[…]

RUDY COULD NOT HOLD HIS STRINGER......

My grandmother worked for him. My father was luck[…]

Local Bayou Fishing

i guess ill give up my lil bass spot in laporte...[…]

Sort of off topic/ on topic? How do you watch old[…]