Interesting…I would have never even considered a round boat as anything but a joke, but the “flying saucer” concept has some merits.
I just got back from the ICAST show in Vegas (insert debauchery themed joke here), where the top names in the fishing industry gather to show off their product lines.
This is where manufactures also introduce their new products to the world. Talk about a kid in a candy store! The main thought that kept running through my head: I want that, and that, and that…and two of those…
Over the course of the next week, I’ll show you some of the coolest things I saw at the show (which is closed to the general public).
To start with, here’s my Top 5 watercraft from ICAST:
Inflatable Drift Boat
NRS recently came out with the boat I’ve been dreaming of for a long time: The inflatable drift boat! Talk about the best of both worlds! The Clearwater Drifter gives you all the room, storage, high freeboard and rowability of a hard drift boat, combined with the worry-free piece of mind that a raft affords.
Rocks and shallows pose no threat to the durable drop-stitched construction and running big water is a much safer proposition because the boat is self-bailing and unsinkable.
The hull material pumps up so tight that it feels like a hard-sided vessel and the internal frame can be customized to suit any style of fishing you want to do.
The hard transom can accommodate up to a 10HP outboard, so the Clearwater Drifter’s got you covered in several types of situations. The boat comes in two models: 17 and 14 feet.
To read more, visit www.nrsweb.com
The Ultimate, Do-Anything Skiff
I’ve long been intrigued by Hog Island Boat Works’ roto-molded, high density polyethylene drift boats which are virtually bulletproof (on YouTube, you can find owner John St.John blasting the side of one with a .12 gauge). Unsinkable, quiet and constructed with no welds, seams or joints, you can put these things through hell and back. They’re also super easy to repair and never need painting.
Well, now Hog Island has put that same technology into a 16-foot shallow water skiff that can, thanks to a plug and play interior, be anything you want to to be from a lake troller to a flats boat. Of course, my devious little mind thinks it would be the ultimate little jet sled, capable of doing thing mortal boats can’t.
The boat can handle up to a 40 HP motor and, add some oars and oar locks and you have one super sweet little “power drifter.”
Here’s a cross-section of what the roto-molded foam “ice-cream sandwich” hill material looks like…
For more info, check out: www.hogislandboatworks.com
Inflatable Fishing SUP
Unless you’ve been residing someplace other than Planet Earth over the past few years, you’re well aware of the explosion of SUP’ing — Stand-Up Paddle Boarding. Well, as things often do the sport has evolved and now folks are fishing off their SUPs. That’s where the Creek Company’s new Osprey SUP comes in. They designed the boat to be wider and more stable than a traditional SUP, so standing up and casting is no problem. The boat is also inflatable, so you can easily pack it on a plane or in the trunk of your car, making it perhaps the most versatile personal fishing device around. Lakes, bay, rivers, ocean…
The Osprey also has lots of fishing-minded features like bungee tie-downs for gear, special pads that accommodate Scotty rod holders, a place to lash down a cooler that can also act as a seat (cooler sold separately) and a removable foot brace.
Oh the places you can go with one of these babies! See more at: www.creekcompany.com
Frameless 1-Person Pontoon
Okay, so frameless pontoon boats aren’t exactly new, but I’ve never seen a more impressive, built-to-last model than Outcast Sporting Gear’s new FishCast Stealth Pro. The boat weighs a mere 35 pounds and fully inflates in just minutes. With no frame to assemble, you’re on the water in no time. Plus, it packs up into a luggage-sized bag so you can take the Stealth Pro wherever you want.
In addition, there are saddle bags to throw your gear into and integrated pads that allow you to mount Scotty rod holders and accessories.
The Stealth Pro is 8 feet long, has a generous carrying capacity of 400 pounds and is constructed of tough PVC surrounding durable vinyl bladders. It comes with a 5-year warranty.
Read more about it: http://www.outcastboats.com
The SUP-Yak Hybrid
I love it when somebody takes boat design to the next level and that’s exactly what the folks at Diablo Paddlesports has done with their new lineup of Stand-Up Paddle Kayaks! You get the stand up and fish ability that a SUP affords, combined with the nimble paddleability of a kayak.
The boats come with ‘yak-style accouterments like dry & wet storage, comfy seat and plenty of room to stow gear and mount accessories and feature a try-hull bottom design that makes them super stable and able to handle shallow water.
To lear more about these slick rigs:
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