I have often been fascinated with personal small watercraft such as kayaks, canoes and other small paddle-powered or trolling motor powered lightweight boats. Recently, I came in contact with a lightweight round boat on a recent bowfishing adventure I was on with GARQUEST Bowfishing Adventures on Lake Austin. I was originally introduced to these types of watercraft at the ICAST fishing show in Orlando, Florida this summer. Robert Combs (@bowskiffin), a friend of GARQUEST’s owner and head guide Marty McIntyre, recently picked up one of these one man round boats from Ultraskiff. I was fascinated by this little round boat due to its many features and accessory options. This Ultraskiff 360 (http://www.ultraskiff.com) is a lightweight round boat built for one and encompassing a transom and battery compartment and three large storage compartments, among many other features and options.
I wondered how stable a boat like this could be and if it could keep up with a trolling large boat like Marty’s large deck boat. We both started out side by side and Robert and Marty both trolled on Lake Austin from our launching point at Mary Quinlan Park to the other side of the lake and Robert’s round boat kept up admirably. This boat cut through the water well and, more surprisingly, it was easy to maneuver and make direction changes with the trolling motor he had mounted on it. The stability of a boat like this is amazing and makes you feel like you are in a much larger boat. How did it handle big waves made from larger boats? Quite impressively in my opinion. It wasn’t at all what I expected from a boat this small. You can even paddle the boat if you are caught in a spot where your trolling motor doesn’t work.
Why a round watercraft you may ask? I see many benefits to this design. Being able to fish upright, like on the front of a “big boat” has some advantages. You can fish out of the boat in any angle except maybe right by the trolling motor. Having the elevated position makes casting and retrieving your lure or other fishing rig as easy as a large boat. Here’s a video that Robert made on the night we fished together on Lake Austin:
For bowfishing or duck hunting, most guys prefer to sit up a shoot from an elevated sitting position than sitting on the ground of a boat. This is naturally accomplished by this style of boat. Robert was using this boat to bowfish out of the night we were together and did quite well. He was able to navigate in some tighter spaces up in creeks off the main lake than Marty and I were able to get into with his large center console boat. This, like with most personal watercraft, is an advantage of fishing out of a small boat. You get to hunt or fish places other boats can’t go. Using a trolling motor for its power, it is also very stealthy to operate so you won’t spook fish when you maneuver into these tight spots.
What’s more is that you can transport a boat like this back of your truck and the round boat platform is light enough to be handled by one person very easily using a hand truck or just by rolling it into place to its final destination. I had a blast learning about this new boat platform and plan to make this a serious consideration in my next personal watercraft purchase. I love the innovations of our current time. This is just one example of forward thinking in the boating industry. I thought I had seen everything before encountering this style of boat. What a great concept! The strides companies like Ultraskiff are making in the outdoor industry are just one example of a great idea put into reality and the benefits for outdoors enthusiast like you and I are numerous. I am excited about the future of personal watercraft like this round boat!