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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

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By Skinnyfeet
About a month ago I decided to see how inexpensively I could build a good fishing yak. The boat had to be built from materials from my local home center (except for the epoxy), and it had to be able to be built using only a cheap jigsaw ($29.00 at Walmart), a sanding block and some sandpaper. Most importantly, the boat had to be a design that could be built by a fisrt time builder. I launched it today at Canyon Lake (21 Dec and its 78 degrees out!), and was suprisingly impressed.

The cool thing about the boat is that it can be customized to fit your needs. I built this one with a hatch up front (it'll hold a BUNCH of stuff) and a space for a milk crate in the rear. It's watertight in the rear (around the crate), and almost watertight up front. I used a small cooler as a backrest, and may even try and add a small sail for those longer trips.

As for performance, it's suprisingly stable; at 6'4 and 260 lbs I was'nt brave enough to try and stand up (it was warm outside, but that water was COLD), but I did move around a bunch and even stood on my knees to test it out. It was faster than I thought it would be (about 4.5 - 5 MPH), and cut through chop (read boat wakes) with no problem. All in all I'd compare it to a WS 140 for stability, and somewhere between a WS 140 and Ride for speed. Its 13' long by 30" wide, and according to my home scales, weighs in at a whopping 42 lbs.

The only negative I could find was that you end up sitting in the water that drips from your paddle. There are no scuppers (you're sitting on the bottom of the boat). This isnt that big of a deal; a big carwash type sponge makes a great bilge pump. Also, the sides are higher (only about 5") than most SOT folks are used to, and this makes your stroke a bit wider than normal. Again, no big deal it just takes some getting used to.

All total I spent about $135, including the cheap jigsaw. If you have tools it can be built for around $100.

If anyone out there has ever thought about building his/her own boat, you might give this one a try. Also, if someone will tell/assist me with posting pics, I'd be happy to let yall see the (almost) finished project.
Last edited by Skinnyfeet on Wed Dec 22, 2004 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Mrs Backlasher
Skinny Feet,

If your photo is saved on your PC (usually at C:\My Documents\My Pictures), just make a post, and at the bottom in the Attachments section, click on the "Browse" button. That will take you to your PC drive. Find the photo you want to post, and click your mouse on it. The photo title will appear in the title box, then you click on "Open."

The URL to your photo will appear next to the "Browse" button.

At this point you can "Submit" the post, or select to "Preview" the post before submitting it.

There's a "Sticky" post about resizing your photos before you post them so that they'll not make a "thumbnail." But for now, you can just follow these instructions. If it makes a "thumbnail" folks can just click on it to view the photo.

Mrs. B
User avatar
By Skinnyfeet
Thanks Mrs. B!
State game and lights 074.jpg
State game and lights 074.jpg (37.43 KiB) Viewed 1822 times
State game and lights 071.jpg
State game and lights 071.jpg (20.98 KiB) Viewed 1821 times
State game and lights 060.jpg
State game and lights 060.jpg (22.59 KiB) Viewed 1821 times
User avatar
By Skinnyfeet
One more ............... thanks again Mrs B
State game and lights 077.jpg
State game and lights 077.jpg (27.12 KiB) Viewed 2066 times
User avatar
By livetofish
which plans did you use? could you post a list of the materials that you used?

User avatar
By 'reelin' in the years
Hey Skinny Feet,
Looks like you did a top notch job! :D Where did you
get the plans? I bet you could figure out a way to mount
a comfortable seat in there that could lift you out of the
water. Maybe install a seat on top of a piece of that 'waffle'
interlocking floor padding.
Pretty handy work for someone who didn't have a jigsaw! :D

- reelin'
User avatar
By Big Irv
Very nice work!
User avatar
By Skinnyfeet
Thanks Reelin
I have a jigsaw (Poter Cable), but went out and bought the cheap one just to test the "build a cheap boat" theory. I also wanted to see if the cheap B&D model from Walmart would hold up to at least one build (it did fine). I added a seat cushion/pfd as a seat and it boosted me up about three inches, which made paddling easier and things softer on the old backside. The boat was designed by Jim Michalak, and is called the TOTO. The plans were $17.50. Do a search on Jim Michalak boat plans and you should find them.
LTF, the wood used was cheap Luaun plywood from Home Depot. It took 2 1/2 sheets at about $10.00 each. The rub rail is 1.5" pine trim (about $6.00, and coated in epoxy). I used 1 gallon of epoxy from www.bateau.com, which cost around $60.00 ( the epoxy/resin that you can buy at your local home store will NOT work for marine applications). It took about 75 ft of 3" fiberglass tape ($8.00), and enough glass to cover the bottom of the boat (around $8.00). For paint I used 2 quarts of Rustoleum, at about $9.00 each.
For what its worth, I dropped the boat trying to put it on my Suburban from a height of at least 5'. It bounced off of the concrete and rolled about 15' before it stopped. The only damage that I can find is some scratched paint. These types of boats (stitch and glue) are very tough once they're coated in epoxy.
I still need to finish painting the boat, rig some rod holders in the milk crate, add an anchor line fore and aft, and rig out the cockpit to fit my style of fishing. If anybody has any additional suggestions feel free to offer them up!
Last edited by Skinnyfeet on Wed Dec 22, 2004 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By livetofish
Lazy Type Fisherman (LTF, me) would figure out how to add a trolling motor on it.

Very nice job. Thanks for the info. And, that Porter Cable is a nice jig saw.

User avatar
By Mullet Key
Great Job! How does she track? Jim has worked up some interesting plans, especially the Piragua 18, which could be built as a tandem fishing kayak. I'll be starting on my JEM Sabalo after I promised the family I'd finish the tandem Swamp Girl 16 also by JEM. MK
User avatar
By ekintheuk
Awesome job SF! For that price and the amount of time it took to build, that's a sweet looking yak. I can't help but wonder how it would handle the surf??

Good job again.
User avatar
By caseyg99
That is a great looking yak. Keep us posted on all of the pros and
cons. Bet several people try it.......
User avatar
By Minnow
How long did it take you to put this fish catching machine together? Looks pretty nice!

User avatar
By gonefishn
Wow Skinny Feet.............I'm impressed :D

That is a great looking yak
How much do you estimate it to weigh?????????

Would love to build one......... just to see if I can, I have a shop full of toys......I mean tools.

I'm concerned with the weight.

Will you be adding some handles to help lift/carry it??????

Can you stand in it??

How much water does it take to float her??????

User avatar
By gerald
I was going to say it looked like a piragua, but somebody beat me to it. Nice job. I like the design.
User avatar
By Skinnyfeet
Thanks all for the kind words ................
Mullet Key: It tracks straight and true; it has a small 16"x3" keel in the stern that keeps it heading in the right direction despite its short length.

UH Yakker: I doubt it would do that well in the surf because of the open cockpit and no scuppers to drain all the water; you'd be sitting in a bathtub within a couple of minutes. If you had a way to get the water out (small battery powered pump?), it would probably be fine. The sharp bow on this thing really cuts through rough water.

Minnow: All in all I spent about 7 afternoons on it, but I've built other boats. I would think that a first timer could get it built in less than a month working a couple of hours after work 2 or three times a week. May need to throw in a saturday for good measure.

Gonefishin: I weighed it on my home scales and it came it at 42 lbs. As for trying to build one, if I can do it anyone can. Go for it! This stitch and glue stuff is very easy to learn. I plan on adding some 1"x6" nylon handles on the front and rear, and may put a couple on the sides as well. As for depth to float, empty it only draws about 2-3" of water. With my 260 lbs and other gear on board, it probably needed about 5-6" to float correctly. It'll get ya into the skinny water. I may work up the nerve to try and stand in it, but the water will have to be MUCH warmer before I try.
User avatar
By Mrs Backlasher
Skinny Feet,

I resized your photos so even those folks on dial-up internet service can see them (opening thumbnails uses a lot of bandwidth, so it takes a very long time on dial-up service).

Fantastic job! That's a beautiful boat.

Mrs. B
By Flyfisher
I'm very impressed. Good job.

By jch
Skinney Feet:

Could you build it so you could put a trolling motor on it?
User avatar
Cool job and nice looking colors
User avatar
By rabbit
I dont know why but the word sexy comes to mind when I look at it. That is one sexy looking boat. Great job. :D
User avatar
By Skinnyfeet
Thanks again for the compliments folks :oops: .

I'm sure that a trolling motor would work great on the boat if you wanted to build a bracket to mount it on. There's plenty of room to mount a couple of batteries below decks.

Yesterday I started building the parts to mount a small sail on it. I'm sticking with the "how cheap can you go" theme, so the sail will probably be made out of rip stop nylon. Hopefully I can get the whole unit to fold up and store in the area under the forward deck.

I also added the anchor line and rod holders, and am experimenting with different seating options. Again, if anyone has any suggestions I'm open to them all.

I'll try and post some pics after I get the latest parts built. Thanks again.
User avatar
By Pogo
Hey, Skinny - great job there! I always liked the looks of Jim's Toto design. Its fine bow will do well in waves, as you know, and the flat bottom panel ought to treat you well in skinny water.

If you want a really comfortable seat, I recommend you break down and plop $40 on a chunk of minicell foam and carve your own. I tried all sorts of ways in an effort to avoid spending the dinero, but until I finally bit the bullet and did it, my Mill Creek 13 was just plain ol' torture after a couple hours. Getting out of the boat to "walk around a bit" was mandatory every hour or so thereafter, too. But the minicell put a stop to all that.

It's so comfy that I once even continued sitting in my boat for an hour, after returning to a campsite from an hours-long paddle, just for the heck of it. It dudn't get much better'n that!

Here's what my Mill Creek cockpit looks like now. The backband is a folded over SOT seat, which would work well in your Toto also.

<img src=http://members.aol.com/paleohead/images/d100a.jpg>

Check out http://www.kayakfit.com and http://www.oneoceankayaks.com/Wshophtm/kayakseat18a.htm for seat carving instrux.

Cheers! Kurt
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