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Thread: All inflatables

  1. #1
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    Default All inflatables

    I decided to make this thread for all of those who fish from inflatable boats. I've been chatting with a lot of folks about fishing from inflatables, fishfinders for inflatables, etc.

    I would like to use this thread to pass on info about what works and what doesn't with these boats. They obviously don't fish or handle like other boats. It hopefully will be a platform for answering questions, telling stories, and sharing tips and tricks for what works and what doesn't. I would also like to use this thread to invite other inflatable owners out on group trips, etc.

    To start with, I'd like to ask what your favorite methods for dealing with large fish caught while fishing from your inflatable are, how you subdue them, how you get them in, etc.

    I would also like to ask what methods work for anchoring in current in deep water with limited anchor line.

  2. #2
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    Has anyone put a home-made console steering system in their inflatable? If so, how did you do it, and what materials/parts were necessary?

  3. #3

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    If by big fish you mean halibut, I've got a dividing line. Too big to dipnet. We usually just cut them free since we prefer them about 40# or less, but if someone aboard wants to keep one, it's a harpoon with a buoy on the end of the line. Once they're through fighting the buoy, raise them to the surface and one swat with a billy on the head. Pass a line through their gills, tie them off at the side of the boat, cut a gill, then recover the harpoon. We don't pull them aboard till they're well-dead and it's time to move.

    For anchoring in deeper water and especially in fast current, let out enough scope to do the job, then tie off a buoy to your anchor line and let out another 20-30' of anchor line. The buoy does the work of contending with the line and current while you drift merrily on the surface behind the buoy.

    My Achilles is only 13.5', so there's no room and no need for a console.

  4. #4

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    I have a small floor mounted console going on my avon. It's an open style stainless tube console that is very light. I wish I had a computer to upload pics because it's pretty slick and simple. One advantage to a console is that it pushes the weight a little further forward and also keeps myself out of the way of the downriggers. At least that's what I'm shooting for.

    For large halibut. Biggest I've brought aboard is 145lbs. Biggest I've personally seen come in on one is 225lbs. Both on the same boat. For mine I wore the fish out. Harpooned and let tire out. When done, brought up to the side and hit with bat. I tied a rope around the tail and proceeded to feed line through the gills and tied back on itself. Think old longline rigs with a rope. This ties the fish in a U shape. Keeps them from moving almost completely. Then I removed the harpoon tip and brought the fish aboard. No gaffs. I don't even really like using the harpoon but it's necessary.

  5. #5
    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sthrcave View Post
    I decided to make this thread for all of those who fish from inflatable boats. I've been chatting with a lot of folks about fishing from inflatables, fishfinders for inflatables, etc.

    I would like to use this thread to pass on info about what works and what doesn't with these boats. They obviously don't fish or handle like other boats. It hopefully will be a platform for answering questions, telling stories, and sharing tips and tricks for what works and what doesn't. I would also like to use this thread to invite other inflatable owners out on group trips, etc.

    To start with, I'd like to ask what your favorite methods for dealing with large fish caught while fishing from your inflatable are, how you subdue them, how you get them in, etc.

    I would also like to ask what methods work for anchoring in current in deep water with limited anchor line.

    How do I deal with “BIG” fish?...... BaaaaWaaaaa, Haaaa, haaaa, haaa!.............. oh wait…. Are you serious? Yeah… no help from me my friend. Biggest fish we have landed on the mighty Zod has been an 8” Herring! And Anchor? We don’t need no stinkin anchor!

    Ok… on a serious note, I have only been running by Zodiac for less than a year, and in fact only have had it on the water 6 times so far, so I am keen to learn the same answers you are searching for. So thanks for the interesting thread and I will try to add useful info where and when I can, but am rather limited on experience.

    What I can offer is a few simple inflatable boat tips that most folks probably already know….

    Tip #1 when you put your inflatable boat onto any Alaskan water, due to the exceedingly cold water temperature, it is going to drop in pressure like crazy and you will without a doubt need to top off within an hour or so lest you experience the dreaded “porposing” or “arched back” syndrome due to an underinflated boat. Also…please note that denial is a terrible and powerful thing… “I just pumped this pig up, how can it be arching its back and running all funky” are words that I know all too well…. As luck would have it, I met up with a guy on Big Lake running a similar sized Achilles’ and told him what my Zodiac was doing under power. His response was to pump it till you think it’s gonna pop and then pump for another ten minutes! Since my GRIII has mil valves that act as over pressure pop offs that was actually pretty darn good advice! When I flink it with my finger and it rings like a basket ball then I know I am close!

    Tip #2 the nice guys at Alaska Raft and Kayak know way more about inflatable boats than most other humans will ever know, and they are happy to help you.

    Tip #3 Hypolon and PVC are NOT the same… Know what you have and how to patch it.

    Tip #4 buy Mike Stranton’s rafting book, or steal it from your boss…. Whichever is cheaper…

    Tip #5 Gaf’s are super cool! Leave yours home lest you stick you rubber boat.

    Tip #6 inflatable seats in your inflatable boat may cause your wife and small children to bounce about excessively in rough water…. Note that kids love this, and wives do NOT…..

    Tip #7 having your wife sit on the hard aluminum floor on rough water is worse than having her sit on an inflatable seat…. There is really no winning here….

    Ok, so now that I have offered what little, and most likely useless information that I have about inflatable’s, I will add to the query by asking how you guys go about launching with beach wheels? Trailers? Out of Deep Creek, Ninilchik, Anchor Point, Homer, Seward etc. Launching and recovery are my biggest concerns. Once on the water, I am pretty confident that I will be fine provided I go when the water and weather cooperate.

    See attached photos for my beach launch via ATV at Whittier……
    Attached Images Attached Images
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the posts!

    I hope this thread takes off, although I should have placed it in the power boating section... Oh well.

    Alangaq, you were talking about herring... If you ever make it down to Seward, great herring fishing can be had just out of the harbor. If you have a fishfinder, start looking for them about 30 yards from the harbor bouys. There is a fish processing plant outlet tube that spits a bunch of crap out right in that area. You can tie off to the bouy and catch all the bait you need. It's pretty convenient.

    You were asking about launching. It looks like I do it about the same as you If I am by myself, I just tie a line from the boat to my truck, then back in and let it float. I untie the line, and walk/pull the boat in to the beach, and then go park my truck.

    Bronco: Thanks for sharing about your console. Would it be ok if I PM'd you sometime to pick your brain about it?

    Brownbear: Thanks for the info about anchoring. I was wondering how that works. I have been on charters when they anchor, and didn't know if it would work the same for a craft such as mine.

    I guess by "big fish" I meant anything big enough to cause havoc if brought on board the boat alive. I would think a 40+ pound halibut or a large king salmon would be big enough to knock stuff around, spill drinks, etc. I am all for releasing the big mama halibut though. Didn't mean to offend anyone. I am glad others have used a harpoon safely in their boats. I was debating between the harpoon or a gaff, and the gaff just seemed like trouble. I think I will roll with a big net, and the harpoon, with the tip stored in a box just in case.

    Thanks again guys. Please keep the posts and pictures coming. I'll be out on the water this friday, so hopefully I'll have some pics to post too.

  7. #7
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default seats

    Alangag,
    The wife chipped a filling in the achilles a couple yrs ago coming back in swd. What I have done since then, is get the double spring plate from Deweys & mount your seat on it, made for taking the shock out, then make sure your seat post is a gas spring type as well & the wife will be much happier.
    OBTW if you do bring a gaff on board have an extra wine cork or two in the tackle box, they work great for putting over the hook of the gaff when not in use.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMarmot View Post
    OBTW if you do bring a gaff on board have an extra wine cork or two in the tackle box, they work great for putting over the hook of the gaff when not in use.
    If you're going to use a gaff, make sure that fish is deader than dead before you bring it over the side. Fortunately we were close at hand in my aluminum skiff when a guy gaffed a fish here locally and the fish spun as he hauled it into his zodiak.

    It instantly cut a 8" gash in the tube, and things were getting wet fast by the time we got alongside. We saved the boat and the people in it, but the guy lost a whole lot of gear when the back half of one tube instantly deflated.

    Nasty.

  9. #9
    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips guys! Since this is posted in the Salt water fishing section I will mention my makeshift set-up for trolling and also dealing with chicken sized halibut (should I ever catch any)….

    While at B&J Commercial the other day, I mentioned what I wanted to do and one of the younger guys working there said that he had used a small Zodiac for halibut many times and suggested mounting a trash can in the bow to hold fish and all of your rods etc. See the attached picture to see how I have mine set up. Seems to work pretty well, but note that it is strapped to the floor and also has para-cord laced thru the bow dodger holes to help stabilize it and keep it from moving around.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

  10. #10

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    No problem about the console. Or if you are in anchorage you could swing by and take a look. Maybe come up with something for your boat. I have another almost new steer gear and wheel laying around too.
    Quote Originally Posted by sthrcave View Post
    Thanks for the posts!

    I hope this thread takes off, although I should have placed it in the power boating section... Oh well.

    Alangaq, you were talking about herring... If you ever make it down to Seward, great herring fishing can be had just out of the harbor. If you have a fishfinder, start looking for them about 30 yards from the harbor bouys. There is a fish processing plant outlet tube that spits a bunch of crap out right in that area. You can tie off to the bouy and catch all the bait you need. It's pretty convenient.

    You were asking about launching. It looks like I do it about the same as you If I am by myself, I just tie a line from the boat to my truck, then back in and let it float. I untie the line, and walk/pull the boat in to the beach, and then go park my truck.

    Bronco: Thanks for sharing about your console. Would it be ok if I PM'd you sometime to pick your brain about it?

    Brownbear: Thanks for the info about anchoring. I was wondering how that works. I have been on charters when they anchor, and didn't know if it would work the same for a craft such as mine.

    I guess by "big fish" I meant anything big enough to cause havoc if brought on board the boat alive. I would think a 40+ pound halibut or a large king salmon would be big enough to knock stuff around, spill drinks, etc. I am all for releasing the big mama halibut though. Didn't mean to offend anyone. I am glad others have used a harpoon safely in their boats. I was debating between the harpoon or a gaff, and the gaff just seemed like trouble. I think I will roll with a big net, and the harpoon, with the tip stored in a box just in case.

    Thanks again guys. Please keep the posts and pictures coming. I'll be out on the water this friday, so hopefully I'll have some pics to post too.

  11. #11
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    "No problem about the console. Or if you are in anchorage you could swing by and take a look. Maybe come up with something for your boat. I have another almost new steer gear and wheel laying around too."

    Thanks a lot man! I'll definately take you up on that. What days are you free? I's also take the gear and the wheel off of your hands if you're looking to get them outta your garage.

  12. #12

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    Im mostly free tomorrow after 330 and the same Thursday. Shoot me a message if you are interested.

  13. #13

    Default Set up home made

    Here is what I did, all home made and worked great + was not expensive!
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Went out to Rugged in Res. Bay last weekend. Got three butts, a limit of rockfish and a silver. Here's a couple of pics.

    I'll be going out again From Sunday until sometime next week if anyone wants to get out and fish. The silvers are hot right now! I'm going to try out my downriggers.

    I'll be camping in thumb cove.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15

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    Sweet! I`ll be out tomorrow and sunday but working as a deck hand. Looking forward to the the weekend of the 30th...I`ll be running my own boat then.

  16. #16

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    Just a note to those headed for Seward this weekend. AKbroncoII and I will be out there with a 14' and an 18' camping in Thumb Cove from Friday morning the 30th until Sunday night. Stop by and say Hi. Calling for less than 2'...should be a good time.


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  17. #17
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    I put a rod rack on my transom and put scotty rod holders on it. It is square and comes up just high enough to tilt the motor up while clearing rod handles. I made it out of 1.5" square steel tubing - it is pretty heavy at 45 pounds and I will probably re-make it out of alum square tubing this winter. I also use it to pull my shrimp pots with a scotty pot puller on it. I named the rack "THEE RACKIAC" ....and now everyone thinks that is boat's name.

    It is funny to see the terrorists (tourists) shake their heads, point their fingers, and laugh when I get camp and people and fish gear and shrimp gear and dog all on the boat and head out.

    I still porpose on occasion - seems to be worse when the water is really flat...anyone else see that?

    I will be out in PWS out of whittier from Friday morning until Monday afternoon - not sure where we are camping yet - but probably cochrane or entrance to culross.

    Is it worth the run up to Coghill?

    Are the commfishers still in Main bay?

    Has anyone been catching any salmon trolling fairly close to Whittier? Perry? What about rockfish spots....?

    I won't have enough fuel to get real far out so will be shrimping and looking for fish pretty close in.

  18. #18

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    Rackiac...priceless.

    The people talk quite a bit when I load up with 6 rods/downriggers, and tons of gear at the harbor...you can tell they`re thinking those guys are nuts.

    Mine does it`s best in chop...flat water gives me a bunch of cavitation but I think alot of it has to do with the prop edges being a bit worn and slightly bent here and there...straightened it as best I could.

    We did good on shrimp at the far end of Culross early in the season but from there out we didn`t have much luck...even out in Icy Bay. Surprise Cove out near the entrance should have a few salmon and there should be a few Rocks out around Ester or the end of Culross. If you can make the run to the Dutch Group I would guesstimate there will be a mixed bag there.

    Good luck and be safe!


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  19. #19
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Friday, thats not fair, I guess it will give you a day to scout the fish out for us! How has driftwood bay been doing? I hope the winds allow for some rockfish & butts this weekend around rugged or barwell as I have plenty of salmon.
    So where do you camp, for years we always set up in the same place, tie off to the tree just above the outhouse sign, & set up by the old pickup. I guess there is something about being resistant to change, eitherway we hope to head down friday after work, get out to thumb around 9 & set up by 10. Will see you there.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMarmot View Post
    Friday, thats not fair, I guess it will give you a day to scout the fish out for us! How has driftwood bay been doing? I hope the winds allow for some rockfish & butts this weekend around rugged or barwell as I have plenty of salmon.
    So where do you camp, for years we always set up in the same place, tie off to the tree just above the outhouse sign, & set up by the old pickup. I guess there is something about being resistant to change, eitherway we hope to head down friday after work, get out to thumb around 9 & set up by 10. Will see you there.
    Reports have been good on Day Harbor for Silvers. Didn`t get any Halibut last weekend but then we didn`t try very hard.

    To be honest, I`ve never hit the beach at Thumb Cove so I guess we`ll see when I get there. We should be on the water by 5am Friday and will go out there and look. I`ll be headed back to the harbor Friday night around 8pm to escort AKBroncoII back to the cove. So if you see me in the harbor come on by. Glad to hear you can make it.


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