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Rob's Fishing Story

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  • Rob Baker

In September of 2021 I took delivery of my first skinny water skiff. It is a custom built Mosquito by Beavertail Skiffs in Bradenton, FL. The drive home to Orlando was a lot of fun!

I chose options for the boat that I thought would best satisfy it's three main areas of use: fishing, mapping, and family outings.


For fishing the main features included a Motorguide Xi5 trolling motor, Power Pole shallow water anchor, a motor jack plate, a push pole and rod holders. The under gunnel storage has room for about 8 rods. I use a Yeti cooler on the bow deck for extra height for better visibility, but I can also stand on the backrest just in front of the poling platform. The trolling motor is controlled by a remote so I can be anywhere on the boat, but it is also linked to my Lowrance units for use as an autopilot. I think the hull drafts about 6-7 inches with two people onboard, and fishing in 12 inches of water is fun and easy.


The Lowrance HDS-16 Live chartplotter rotates toward the bow, so I can see sonar data while in a forward fishing position. I have a Lowrance ActiveTarget Live sonar installed, and am working on a custom bracket to be able to deploy it anywhere on the boat. Expect some ActiveTarget live action movies in the future.

I was lucky to choose Beavertail because the standard seat cushion is amazingly comfortable for long runs or long hours of slow survey work. This boat is ideally setup to perform sonar mapping projects for Navico's Biobase mapping application, for which I am a Product Ambassador. It has Lowrance HDS-9 and HDS-16 Live chartplotters, a high end 3-in-1 transducer, an outboard autopilot and an external GPS antenna above the transducer. Future blog posts will highlight some of my mapping work, with an example image of an autopilot test project shown below.

The boat seats three comfortably, but is rated for four. The comfortable cushions make it possible for others (my wife in particular) to hang out and pass the time while I fish or perform Biobase surveys. To that end I also added a lightweight weblon-type sunshade that covers most of the boat and will be a key difference maker in the summer months. We have already confirmed that the shade can handle boat speeds up to 10mph even in a gentle headwind.

In all the boat is fantastic. It's easy to launch and trailer. It's easy to clean and maintain. The Suzuki 60hp motor is plenty fast (34mph max), but cruises effortlessly at 25-30mph with very efficient fuel economy. I estimate my total range to be nearly 150 miles on 14 gallons of fuel. It's very solid in the water, and runs like a dream perched on top of chop. Practicality aside, this little skiff represents an amazing sense of freedom to explore new places. It's fun enough to drive that sometimes that's all I do.

I decided to name this skiff Evinrude, a character from Disney's The Rescuers.

 

"To desire nothing beyond what you have is surely happiness. Aboard a boat, it is frequently possible to achieve just that. That is why skifflife is a way of life, one of the finest of lives."

-modified slightly from Carleton Mitchell


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  • Rob Baker

Finally the timing is right to purchase my first boat! I have ordered a custom skinny water skiff from Beavertailskiffs.com that should be ready in mid-September 2021. The photo shown below is from the BT website, but very closely resembles my build (photo credit to Beavertailskiffs). BT skiffs are lightweight, stiff and very well built, in addition to being one of the best priced brands in their class.

I opted for the Suzuki DF60A (60 HP) engine that seems to be the most common engine for this model. The recent success of Suzuki motors in the Skiff Challenge (1100 mile endurance race), plus some very good feedback from friends about Suzuki's service reputation, gave me confidence that I made a great choice. Performance data from a very similar skiff (in terms of dimensions and weight) suggested a cruising range of 189 miles at 4500 RPM and 12.6mpg (15 gallon tank). Top speed should be around 36mph, depending on my prop selection and how the boat is loaded.


This skiff will mostly have a simple and clean build, with a few exceptions. My role as a Biobase Ambassador (biobasemaps.com) has inspired a creative approach to rigging (and loading) a lightweight skinny water skiff like this with an excessive amount of Lowrance electronics. I will unveil the final decisions when all is done. Hopefully my choices won't add too much to the vessel draft, but no matter if they do. This boat will assume a primary role in my fishing story, but will also be used to demonstrate Biobase survey techniques and equipment setups, conduct pilot studies for Biobase, conduct actual data collection for C-MAP projects, and generally represent at the boat ramp with a full range of Lowrance fishfinding technologies.


"Life is better on the boat!"

-said someone

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  • Rob Baker

Updated: Feb 19

I am super happy and proud to announce that I have been selected to be a part of the Navico ProStaff team as a Biobase Ambassador. Biobase is a clever cloud-based service that uses sonar logs collected from regular fishfinder systems (Lowrance and Simrad) to produce professional-quality aquatic maps, in particular maps of submerged aquatic vegetation, bottom hardness, and bathymetry.

I am planning quite a few future posts that highlight this service and the role I believe it can play in the conservation of waterways and fisheries. Biobase has been named as a component of Navico's commitment to sustainable industrial practices. Part of my job as an ambassador is to connect water quality and fisheries initiatives in Florida to the benefits of mapping with Biobase.


"Lowrance and Simrad help you find the fish, BioBase ensures there are more fish to find!"

-Navico


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