Kick Boats

Being the cheap SOB that I am, years ago I started making my own kickboats out of styrofoam. Even made a couple that fold and mount on a backpack frame so I can take them into the local lakes. They are really stable and functional, and anybody can make one in short order. Even made one with oar locks for a guy. ANyway, if anybod is interested, would be glad to describe the process.


Needs to fish more..
I have a Fishcat that works great...its light and less bulky when inflated and probably could be fitted w/ straps or stuffed (deflated) into a pack for longer treks.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I eat bananas for what was mentioned. As you get older you start having problems with hand cramps. Bananas help that way and yes I would take one out in a boat. The banana jinx is an old wives tale. So there :p

wrench said:
Being the cheap SOB that I am, years ago I started making my own kickboats out of styrofoam. Even made a couple that fold and mount on a backpack frame so I can take them into the local lakes. They are really stable and functional, and anybody can make one in short order. Even made one with oar locks for a guy. ANyway, if anybod is interested, would be glad to describe the process.
Do you have any pictures of said kickboats? Did you use sheet styrofoam ei.
ridgid insulation type materials? I'd love to see what you came up with.
LT :cool:


Active Member
Leaky, I might have plans to such a boat right here in my tying room. I ran across them recently but I have been throwing away a ton of stuff lately and might have given them the heave-ho. I'll check around and let you know if I find them. Ive
Some really great responses here to consider. Though Alpine Trout standing up on the seat to sight cast is an image I won't soon forget.

Chris I am thinking about a lake up in "The Farm" in particular that hasn't been fished much in the past 5 or 6 years. Maybe you would want to go in there with me when it opens up and we can tease a bunch of those itty bitty cutts. Sorting through the 14 inchers to get to the big boys can be stressful, but someone has to do it.

A big thanks to everyone for the responses. I have a lot more to go on to work out a decision.

No one device will meet all of your needs perfectly. If you are going to make only one purchase then you need to ask yourself what you do MOST of the time. I also own a Fat Cat which I thoroughly enjoy (not a SFC with inflatable seat and back rest, just a plain ol’ FC with foam). The FC has backpack straps which I use for some walk-ins. It is great in some situations but not all. In moving water the FC would be out of the question. If you don’t fish moving water then the FC rocks. If you don’t fish large and/or windy, still water the FC rocks.

On still water, sometimes I want to row, sometimes the damn wind comes up and I have to row. I looked in to the Water Master and also the Water Strider. Dave Inks, the creator of the Water Master, has “moved on”. He is now manufacturing the Water Strider out of Hamilton Montana. I spoke with Dave directly before I purchased the 7’ 10” boat that he is currently manufacturing. It would be equivalent to the Water Master Grizzly in size and most features. Dave explained to me that his new boat has better materials and better baffles. I believe him of course but I can’t see those things. However, I can see that his current boat has an inflatable seat and an inflatable back rest which I don’t think the WM has. My middle age butt and my middle age back can sure as hell feel those things. The WS is more money than the WM so the back rest may not be worth it to you.

Comparing a SFC or a FC to a WM or a WS is really an apple and oranges comparison. The WM and the WS are kickboats which would be more appropriately compared to a pontoon boat in terms of the types of water they will handle. I just sold my pontoon boat a few months ago. It was just too cumbersome for me. In comparing kickboats to pontoon boats each has some advantages. A KB is much easier to store and to transport in a vehicle. A deflated KB will fit easily in the trunk of small car. A KB is also easier to transport (on your back) if you are walking in to Nunnally for instance. The KB is easier to store in your home also. If your digs are small or crowded the KB beats a PB hands down. Set up and take down is quicker with the KB. Even inexpensive PB’s have pockets or pouches. A KB has none. You can buy an attachment for a KB that functions as a pouch and you put gear in a bag behind the seat, still it has no pouches. A PB can use a modern anchor system. A WS only has a small plastic cleat that attaches to a resting oar. You sit up a bit higher in most PB’s. A WM Grizzly or a WS is 7’ 10” which would be comparable to an 8’ pontoon boat. I believe they can handle pretty much the same water and the same situations so call that a tie.

As to price there is a decided difference between a SFC, a FC, a WM, a WS, and pontoon boats. A FC is about $300, a SFC is about $370, a WM is $1,095 as shown on their web page and a WS is $1,295. You could buy three SFC’s for the price of one WM. Again, that’s probably not the appropriate comparison. If you don’t want to row then buy a FC or some other modern float tube. If you want to be able to row, or navigate moving water, then consider a KB or a PB. In comparing the price of PB’s to a KB, the KB’s are still virtually always going to be more money particularly for an 8 footer. For the KB you are paying more money than for a PB to buy ease of storage, ease of transportation in your vehicle, ease of portability to the water and at the water, speed of set up and take down. You are paying $200 more dollars for a WS than a WM to buy comfort for your rear end and your lower back.

If you are beating some serious brush then you ain’t getting’ in with the pontoon boat. A FC carried on your back is inflated. A KB carried on your back is not inflated. In this comparison the profile and size of the WS is smaller and easier to maneuver while beating brush. The bag in which a WM or WS comes is quite roomy. In the bag I put, the boat, the pump and the fins. On the outside of the bag I will clip another small dry bag to hold water bottle, lunch etc. Its actually easier for me to walk with the deflated WS and my gear than it is with my inflated FC.

As always, for any gear purchase, you need to ask, how will I use this and how often will I use it. You are also always balancing cost against benefit.

Dang, ain't shoppin' for gear just loads of fun?!!
I am friends with a fellow (Dave Romanik) here up north that distributes the Water Masters and have spent some time demoing them and even touting their wares at a few trade shows. I think the smaller of the 2 may fit your needs quite nicely, and if you are worried about your lunch, there is ample room in the bag for it along with your vest and few other fishing baubles too.
They are a bit weighty but they do come with a pack bag that is fully equipped with straps ( pack like) and as mentioned above converts into a water proof storage compartment that attaches to the craft.
The set-up is quick and easy as is the dissembling (is that a word?) and a more stable craft for the portability there is not. In a lake situation they tend to be a tad "skatey" and are a little more at the mercy of the wind than a float tube say, because you don't have the drag of your body in the water. So if you intend to fish casting and retrieving I suggest a 2 anchor set-up.
For rivers this craft is the dope, bar none. It looks after itself when you stand to fish, and is great in all water types to class 3. (As far as I've gone to date)
I suggest getting an apron for it, and I personally don't understand why they are an "option" at this date. :confused: Nothing worse than your line trailing between your knees when you are trying to cast in the flow. :mad:

Old Man

Just an Old Man
Well in thinking along the lines of middle age and older age. I have to stick with what is lighter. I have a PB which weights in at about 50 lbs and is no small matter trying to carry it anyplace inflated. I don't carry/drag it too far. And it is rated for only lakes. It would suit me better to have something smaller like a FC. But with my big butt I use a PB to keep it out of the water.

When you get older you try to keep heavy things out of your mind.

Yes, have some pics, gonna figure out how to put em on here or might email you some. Am barely able to turn this thing on so be patient. You are right, "Beadboard" is the sheet styrofoam I have been using. I'll try to get back to you this weekend.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Chris Scoones said:
Jim, would you take a bannana on a boat? I think we may have stumbled on the cause of your fishing slump. :p
edit: I know, you meant the other Jim, but we are thinking of forming Team Skunk, and hope to get Chiquita as a sponsor.

Chris, ONLY in my own canoe when going after Coastal Cutthroat or when lake fishing. It doesn't seem to have any effect. NEVER when going in someone else's boat, especially a drift boat or after salmon in the salt. I knew a guy on Oahu who would not let anyone on his boat if they had even eaten a banana that morning. He would search everyone's gear, just in case.

I'm gonna get me some of those pills.


Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
For hike-in angling, you might want to change your entire paradigm about flotation. Carrying my lightest float tube (9 pounds), my backpack weighs ~30 pounds by the time I add waders, fins, fishing and rain gear, a jacket and dry socks, a flask, water and lunch. The prospect of packing the same amount of gear PLUS the smallest 15 pound WaterMaster Bruin inflatable several miles up the side of a mountain or busting through alder thickets is one my 57 year old body will definitely pass on.

Serious Alpine lake anglers who prefer to fish lakes that only one or two other people see in a year swear by the Curtis inflatable raft. Since your entire body rides in the raft, there's no need for waders, fins or oars. Locomotion is via hand-held paddles, the seat is a 3/4 length ThermaRest and the bag it comes in doubles as a pump. But at just 22 ounces, you can afford to bring along a sleeping bag, tent, food and cooking gear and fish a couple of days with a pack that still comes in at ~20-25 pounds.

Here are two photos by David Berger of 86 year old HiLaker Dick Cranz preparing to float the Winchester Wasteway last year in his Curtis raft.


Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Mr P,
Thanks for going over all that. I had been thinking pretty much the same thing myself.
I may end up getting a less expensive float tube, like a Fish Cat 4 or T.U. Togiak, as I don't want to spend $300+ on one. Anyone out there have any experience with or warnings about either of these? Cabelas has a new "low profile" float-tube under their own name in their new catalog. Looks to be OK.

For rivers, I have also been looking at "white-water prams." About 10' and with drift boat rocker. There are a couple of nice aluminum ones out there. Easier for one person to drag around logjams and back upstream when you find a tree going all the way across the braid you took. My drift-partner and I had to drag his 16' Willie back upstream once, and I wouldn't want to do that by myself. We have also had to slide it aways over dry riverbed to launch when the river was low (Glad it had Gluvit on the bottom).

A Water Master sounds really attractive...versatile and packable for short distances.

Thanks, everyone. :thumb:


Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
Jim Wallace said:
I may end up getting a less expensive float tube, like a Fish Cat 4 or T.U. Togiak, as I don't want to spend $300+ on one. Anyone out there have any experience with or warnings about either of these?
I've got three TU boats: the Bighorn, the Togiak and the Gunnison. The Bighorn is literally BIG - like a floating Barcalounger and weighs ~13 pounds dry. The twin tube Togiak has the fewest and smallest pockets. The mesh rear deck means that one's lunch and rain jacket need to be kept in a dry sack to stay dry. The Gunnison is my 9 pound favorite for backpacking and general use. I found mine on sale at Gart Sports in Bellevie for $79 last spring.