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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I field tested my old South Fork with the new motor mount and the redesigned depth finder bracket yesterday. As some of you already know I am using a new Minn Kota 30# thrust short shaft motor powered by a 35 amp hour wheelchair battery that only weighs about 25#. The motor mount is made out of Baltic birch 11 ply plywood and some 1/4'' AC left over from the pram build. All the corners are reinforced and hardwood dowels plug right into the end of the SF to help support the weight of the motor. The whole assembly only weighs about 6# and indexes over the boats rails for location. Two caps are screwed on from below to lock everything solidly in place. Very much like the main bearing caps on a crankshaft.

The motor can be mounted anywhere within the 20'' width of the motor mount but I am using it as far to the left side as I can get it. The battery is mounted to the boat's rails at the right front and down low so it is completely out of the way. With everything installed and me seated the boat still rides level. The depth finder is mounted on the left footrest and the homemade clutch allows me to pivot it out of the way when entering or leaving the water. It is readily visible and a big improvement over the old one.

So how did it work? Well, it has to be the easiest thing to fish out of I have ever used. I simply turn the motor around 180 degrees so it is going in the direction I usually kick and then pick a speed. The motor locks easily into the straight ahead position and all of the steering input is done with the fins. There is nothing in the way of my fins or legs and I can keep my rod tip in the water the way I am used to. It is much easier to fish out of and control than my pram is. Once I get where I want I just switch off the motor and continue to fish as I have all these years. For us older guys sometimes that far shore can look mighty appealing but the trip back if the wind comes up may not be so pleasant. This setup pretty much eliminates that concern. With oars, fins and a motor on board I am pretty confident of getting back.

Yesterday the wind blew like hell and the howl through the trees was just deafening. In normal conditions I would have never even launched on such a day but I wanted to give this rig a good test. It is unlikely I will ever be out in worse conditions. I was able to power to the far end of the lake against the gale which would have been an epic struggle with the oars and just impossible with fins only. Very impressive. After about 5 hours of intermittent use against the wind the battery only showed 1/3 discharge when I got home. The lightweight battery and the small motor are easy to load and unload-something that can't be said for the normal deep cycle batteries. I think those of you who are challenged by toting a 65# battery down to the water's edge will be pleasantly surprised by how effortless this all works and how long the battery charge will last given prudent use.

The only two things on the lake were 2 loons-a real one and me! I started out with an intermediate line but got no action in the first 25 minutes. Then I changed over to a Type IV full sink and had a fish on the first cast. The rest of the day fish came easily and often to the Type IV. I took the same fly off at one point and put it on the intermediate line but never hooked a single fish on it. Fish without full sinks at your own peril!

So my message to you older guys is: Power Up! It saves a lot of wear and tear on old bones and muscles and may just extend your fishing career.

Ive
 

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Old And In The Way
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250 Posts
I can't see a practical way to put a trolling motor on a frameless 'toon like my Scadden Outlaw Rampage. I saw one guy who mounted one on a bow bracket on the next size down model of my boat, but that would put the motor too far away from me to be able to control it on my larger boat. I have enjoyed having a TM on my pram, but I am going to try to continue with oars and / or fins on this 'toon.

Thanks for the report though!
 

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Spey Fishing the Mighty Columbia......
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251 Posts
Whoa...those are great shots. Love the way you have mounted the motor and battery opposing each other for the weight. So is it the fact that the battery is a gel cell that allows you to tip it on it's side. That is what I am running on my electric and I would love to be able to drop it on it's side to keep the terminals out of play with the METAL shafted oars. I was getting 5 hours of slow trolling type speed out of mine with a regular 30lb Minn Kota....so it will be interesting to see what I get, now that I have a Maximizer motor.

Thanks for the great idea's ...nice workmanship on the conversion.
 

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Long Lost Member
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Ive=Creative Perfectionist I really like what you've done there. Makes the boat tinkerer in me all eager to get back in my craft and visualize some modifications.
 

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Outa here
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Great conversion, Ive...I'm wondering if the battery interferes with the oars at all, but I suppose the oars are now only for emergency or secondary propulsion, so it probably doesn't matter if they do. Thanks for the pics, they make what you did very clear.


And how cool seeing a loon! I saw a pair on a small lake in PO County a few years ago...just don't see 'em much anymore.
 

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Remember when you could remember everything?
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7,182 Posts
Another great job Ive! I'm especially impressed with the bracket for your Fishin' Buddy. Do you anticipate any problem with water splashing up on the battery terminals?

K
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To answer your questions-yes, it is a gel cell that can be mounted in any position. The oars don't come close to the battery unless they are well up in the air. And I did anticipate water getting on the battery. Susan is sewing up a heavy fabric cover that will hide the terminals and be even less likely to ever snag a flyline. In the rain I think I'll just use a ziplock under the new cover.

Speaking of rain, if it would just stop for awhile I could get back out........

Ive
 

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If you are ever interested in selling your old wood depthfinder bracket, I would be interested. I made one for my SF from your previous post with pics, but have purchased a second SF. Mine was functional but not as well made.
 

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Michael, I think that you could also mount a motor on your bow. You really don't need to reach it. After you turn the head around so that the motor is pulling you, lock it into position and mount a simple inline on/off switch beside you. I don't steer with the motor; I steer with my fins. Look at some of the motor switch modifications on BigFishTackle (Float Tube section).
 
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