I Built a Skin on Frame Canoe

I have been looking for a small boat that I can fish from.  We have tried a pond boat,  a small pram, a medium sized pram, and a sit on top kayak.  Also tried a frameless and regular pontoon boat.  All of them have there good points and each has some drawback.  In my case the drawback is the weight of the boat.   A boat on a trailer would solve some problems but I want to tow my camper and some places we go a trailer wont.

The boat pictured to the right is a double paddle canoe.  It is a fishing canoe.  This canoe is 12 feet long, has a beam of  36 inches and weighs about 30 pounds.  The method used to build this boat is called, skin on frame (sof).  A skin on frame canoe is built by constructing a light framework and covering the frame with a fabric like nylon, canvas or Dacron.  The Dacron I used on this boat is the same stuff used on small aircraft.

I have been building boats since I was a kid, but I never have built a canoe before.  Building a skin on frame canoe turned out to be a lot easier to do than I thought it would be.  The most time consuming part of the construction to build this canoe is preparing the stringers and rib stock.  The stringers are 13 feet long and cant have any flaws.  So I had to cut out all the defects and make scarf  joints to get a stringer long enough.  Once I had all the stock needed the rest of the construction went very fast.

I love to fish from this boat.  Not a sound can be heard as the canoe glides through the water,  not even a gurgle.  I have room for my fishing gear and a dog with out feeling cramped.   It is easy to load on the rack on my truck and I can still tow my camper when I want.

The Dacron skin has held up well.   All six of my grand kids put the canoe’s durability to the test.  It passed with flying colors.

This was a fun boat to build.  This winter I will finish a second sof canoe that I already started and will start a pram style boat using the same skin on frame technique of boat building.

I posted a photo series of the building sequence on another website of mine.  You are welcome to leave questions or comments.  Click on this link to see the photo series I put together.


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Trout Fishing with PowerBait

PowerBait Basics

Trout fishing with PowerBait is ideal for bank fishing on a lake.  Once you have rigged your rod and baited the hook,  cast out into the lake and prop up your pole.  Now you can sit and wait for a bite.  If the trout are there than you will get a bite.  Trout just love the stuff.  Every buddy has an different idea about what rig to use for PowerBait.  I found this article that has a good description of a easy rig to set up and use.

How To Use PowerBait

Okay, this might seem simple enough, after all you just form your PowerBait into a ball around your hook and your good to go, right? Well technically yes, but there are some tips and techniques that can make your use of it much more effective. That’s what this article is about. How to use this synthetic bait in the most effective and efficient way so that you can catch more fish. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on the bait that comes in little jars, and is mainly used to fish for trout. Not any trout, but mainly stocked trout. In my experience, native trout aren’t nearly as interested in PowerBait as their stocked cousins (who were born and grew up in a hatchery somewhere). The other thing that I’ve noticed about fishing with this type of bait is that it is most effective in still fishing situations, rather than in rivers and streams.

That being said, let’s get down to the business of how to use this jarred bait. As I eluded to earlier, I’m going to focus on still fishing with PowerBait, because still fishing is the most effective way to use this form of synthetic bait. The important factor to remember when still fishing with it is the fact that it floats. If for same reason you have a form of synthetic bait that doesn’t float, get some that does. The bait floating is a key to success. You see, when your synthetic bait floats, and is rigged properly (which you will learn in this article) it then floats above any underwater debris that might cause you problems. The other thing to remember when fishing in this manner is to always use light line. In my opinion anything over six-pound test is overkill. As I said, we’re mostly fishing for trout when using this type of bait, and trout have very keen eyesight. If your fishing line is too heavy, the trout can see it underwater, and if this is the case, they will tend not to bite. So make sure that you’re employing light fishing line (no heavier than six-pound test) when using PowerBait to fish for trout. The best way to make a PowerBait rig is this: grab the end of your line and slip on an egg sinker (1/4 to ½ an ounce). You need enough weight to keep your rig on the bottom, and that’s it, so if it’s windy, you’ll need a heavier sinker. Once the egg sinker has been slipped onto the line tie on a barrel swivel (size 10 or 12) as a “stopper”. At this point tie on a set of pre-tied #8 or #10 gang hooks. Gang hooks give you the ability to double the amount of bait that you have floating off of the bottom. Now add enough PowerBait to each hook to completely cover each hook. This is the rig and the best way to use this type of bait. Now cast this rig out and let it sink. Once it’s on bottom, simply reel in the slack line until your line is completely taught. You’re incidentally going to want to rest you rod against some sort of solid object. Now you wait for bites. You can tell you’re getting a bite because the rod tip will begin to bounce. Another great tip is to make sure that you’re fishing at the most opportune times Having the weather and/or moon in your favor makes a huge difference in the amount of bites you will get. If you’ve ever wondered how to use PowerBait, this is it. This technique (rig) is extremely effective when using this “play dough” as bait. If you ever wondered how to use this type of bait, now you know. Trevor Kugler is co-founder of JRWfishing.com and an avid angler. He has more than 20 years experience fishing for all types of fish, and 15 years of business and internet experience. He currently raises his three year old daughter in the heart of trout fishing country…..Montana! Get Fishing Tips & Techniques Twice A Month For FREE – http://www.jrwfishing.com/signup.htmlArticle Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Trevor_Kugler

My PowerBait Rig

The only difference between Trevor’s rig and my rig is I use a single hook instead of ganged hooks.  Also I use ultra lite rod and reel with 2 lb line.  Here is a drawing of the rig I use. I love fishing with PowerBait.  All the tackle I need can be carried in my pockets.  Actually I use a butt bag.  Two or Three jars of PowerBait in different colors and something to sit on is all I need.  This technique is also great for kids to use. Berkley makes so many different colors of PowerBait that it is hard to choose which to buy.  I like to have chartreuse, yellow and rainbow.  Get them with sparkles if available.  The cost varies  from $3.00 to $6.00 per jar.  I buy mine after the season closes.  Actually I buy a lot of my fishing gear during closeout sales.

A Must Have Tool: The Dough Bait Press

The only draw back to PowerBait is it is messy and very sticky.  If you don’t clean up after baiting the hook you’ll have the stuff all over your equipment.  Enter the Dough Bait Press.  This is a great tool.  I with I had thought of it first.  Watch this video and I think you’ll agree with me that this tool is a must have.  The Trout Berry comes in two sizes. You can buy both together for less than $5.00.  If you want more information or want to buy  the Dough Bait Press click this link. Here is another PowerBait tool with more instruction about using PowerBait.  This is a little long but it is my favorite video about using PowerBait.   Well that is about all I have on PowerBait.  I hope you will give it a try.  Please comment on this article and blog. -Mike

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Cheap Boats Anybody Can Own and Fish From

Fishing from the bank is fun but it limits the the number of fishing locations.  A boat opens up many more possible fishing spots.  So why don’t you have a boat now?

  • Can’t afford to buy a boat
  • I don’t have a place to keep or store a boat
  • Hauling a boat on a trailer is a pain to do
  • I don’t know anything about boating

Even if you already have a boat and trailer you might consider this post.   Let’s set up some rules to apply to the water craft to choose from.

  • The boat is intended to be used by one person
  • The craft must be transported in the trunk or top of a car, or in the bed of a pickup truck
  • Cost must be less than $1000
  • Boat not be  a problem to store


I like to fish by my self.  Fishing with partners can be fun but one of you ends up in the back of the boat and the other controls where the boat goes.  Fishing by my self is best for me because I can do what I want, I don’t have to be polite, I can be one with nature and most important is I can concentrate on fishing.  Transporting a boat on or in a car allows you to fish any pond or lake that your car can get to.   The best fishing is always at places that nobody else is fishing and if the place has a boat ramp the fish will be stressed.  You should be able to find a boat that is much less than $1000.  Don’t overlook used boats.  The want adds can are a good place to look for a used boat.  And don’t forget to check out Ebay and Craigslist.  I have found some really great deals on the internet.  Where can you put the boat when you aren’t fishing.  If it is an inflatable craft you can roll it up and put it in a closet or leave it in the trunk of your car, ready to go at a moments notice.  If the boat is ridged and not to heavy, suspend it with ropes and pulleys in the garage over the car ready to load up for the next fishing trip.  Or if you have room behind the house turn it upside down sitting on blocks to keep it out of the dirt.   Once I stored my boat in the space between the side of the house and the fence by placing the transom on blocks on the ground and the bow up under the eaves with the bottom side facing out.  I put an eye bolt on either side of the boat and tie a rope across the bottom so the wind couldn’t blow it over.

Choose a Boat

There are quite a lot of types of small craft to look at.  Each has advantages and compromises.  Here is a list of types of craft that I want to cover.

  • Float Tube and Waders
  • Pontoon Boat
  • Kayak and Canoe
  • Pond Boat
  • Build your Own

Tube and Waders

Waders alone will allow you to fish from deeper water.  In some cases if the water isn’t to deep you can walk around and fish other side of a weed patch.  Fishing from a float tube has a lot going for it.  Tubes are inflated and are constructed with bags pockets and D rings    The tube has a seat built into it.  Some tubes are shaped round like an inter-tube or U shaped like horse shoe.   The fisherman wearing waders and fins sits in the tube and using diving fins on his feet can propel him self and have both hands free for fishing.   Waders cost $60 and up and float tubes prices start out around $80.  There is more stuff to buy but this is lowest cost way to get into the water.   The photo to the right is a float tube that cost $85.  The fisherman sit in it like an easy chair.  what looks like arm rests are for storing tackle.  The panel across the tube opening is a striping apron for fly fishing.  If the lakes in your area are cold consider spending more money on the waders with more insulation.   The best book I have read about float tubing is a CD that I came across.   Check out this link if you are interested.  Click Here This link is also the best Float Tubing forum that I know of.

Pontoon Boat

A typical pontoon boat is two long inflatable tubes side by side and attached to a metal frame on top of the tubes.  The frame is made up of four or more sections that lock together using lock pins. The whole craft packs into a small package for storage or transport.   The seat and other accessories are mounted to the frame.   The boat is propelled using a pair of oars like a row boat.  On either side of the seat zippered bags to store fishing tackle.  A rack or basket is mounted behind the seat for more storage.   Also behind the seat is a motor mount for an electric trolling motor.  Never use a gas motor on a pontoon boat.  In front of the seat are foot rests that are attached to the frame.  The angler can sit on the seat and use diving fins or the oars or a trolling motor to move the boat.  Pontoon boat prices start around $150.  Here is a case where you might buy the cheaper craft and use it for a season or two.  There are so many option to choose from I think it’s better to get some experience before buying a more expensive model.  There are river or lake pontoons.  Pontoons range from 6 feet to over 12 feet long.   Frames can be make of aluminum, steel or stainless steel.  Fishing from a pontoon boat is a lot of fun but there are some negatives.   The boat takes longer to assemble than a float tube.  Pontoons sit no the water just like a leaf and when the wind blows your boat will scoot all over the water just like the leaf.  If  the prevailing wind direction is known then work your way up wind in the morning and let the wind push you home in the  afternoon.

Kayak and Canoe

I have a bias against canoes.  As far as as solo person in a boat I think kayaks have it all over canoes.   Unless somebody gave you a canoe I would buy a kayak if you are using it to fish from.  There are two groups of kayaks, sit in and sit on top.  For still water fishing (lake and pond fishing) I would stick with the sit on top kayak.   Included in the sit on category is the inflatable kayak.   Look for kayaks designed for fishing.  Prices start at about $220.   Kayaks are light and easy to car-top.  You can easily car top two kayaks if you want.   Take your time when choosing a kayak.  Consider weight, load rating, seat, and cost.  A heavy kayak indicates more material were used to fabricate the boat, but if it is too heavy it will be harder to car-top.  Load rating is very important.  If the rating is 300 lbs, that means that you and all your equipment must weigh less than 300 lbs.  I would look for a load rating that is 50 or more pounds more than needed.   If I weigh 250 lbs and my fishing equipment weighs 50 lbs. then I would want a kayak with a load rating of not less than 350 lbs.  and most important  to me is the seat.  Sometimes the seat that comes with the boat isn’t the best seat for you.  Buy your kayak locally because you should sit in the boat to test the comfort.  Also shipping is high.

Pond Boats

Pond boats look like fun but I would only use the in protected water.  This type of boat can load into the back of a pickup.  It is a little heavy to car-top.  Prices start out at about $550.  Pond boats are made of plastic and foam filled between the top and bottom parts.   Most pond boats are have two seats but you can remove one seat and move the seat base to the middle of the boat.  This type of boat is easy to overload.  Consider 2 guys with their fishing gear a 60 lb battery and 20 lb trolling motor.  The total is already over 400 lbs.   Try to buy this type of boat locally to avoid the high shipping cost.

Final Thoughts

Sea Eagle makes a boat that does not quite fit the previous categories.  It looks like a pontoon boat form one end and a raft form the other end.  Some of the features are, light weight 42 lbs, can be stored anywhere, inflates in 4 min. , no frame to assemble, has a floor you can stand on, base price $550, and can be rowed or use a trolling motor.  For more information about the “Frameless Pontoon Boat” chick  my sponsors link on the right side of the page.

I had planned to include building your own boat in this post but building is a large subject that I will cover in a separate post.    Also watch for posts on seamanship and boat and equipment  maintenance.  In the meantime please commit on this post or if you have question I’ll be happy to answer.


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Catfish Fishing – Learn The Facts That Can Help You Catch The Trophies

Catfish are popular amongst many types of fishermen. There are 37 catfish families and these species are found in both freshwater and saltwater, depending upon the type of catfish. Perhaps one of the most distinctive traits which catfish possess is their catlike whiskers, or barbels. It is hard to mistake a catfish for another type of fish due to this visible attribute.

Catfish are creatures of habit, during the day they tend to hide around submerged rocks and logs where they can shelter themselves from any possible predators. It is at nighttime when these unique fish seek out the open water to find food. Catfish are plentiful in number with regard to family and species type. They are found in various areas throughout the world although certain types of catfish stay within certain regions.

Catfish vary in size, depending on their age and what variety they are. They can range anywhere from a few inches to a few feet and come in a variety of weights as well. One unique trait which a catfish possesses, in addition to the familiar barbells, is the lack of any scales. This also makes identifying a catfish quite an easy task for beginner and advanced fishermen alike.

The catfish eats a variety of foods which come within its reach. Items such as smaller fish, water insects and more all make up the eclectic menu for the catfish. For the avid fishermen out there who target catfish as their selected catch, there are a few tips which make fishing for catfish that much easier. The first tip is to fish for these varieties at nighttime when they are out and about.

Since they tend to hide during the daylight hours, fishermen who are looking to catch catfish should do so when night falls. As for bait, there are a few items which catfish are more drawn to than others. Tantalizing items for the catfish include live bait such as shrimp, chicken liver and worms whereas lures in the form of spoons, jigs and spinners will all do the trick of catching some catfish.

Catfish are a unique type of fish which many fishermen look for when they are out on the water. Fishermen who desire to reel in some catfish are sure to find that the previously mentioned tips may help them to land that perfect catch.

There is a website that has great information on most species of freshwater fish. It has details that pertain to each species of fish such as habitat, spawning, eating habits, the best lures and baits and more, the website is called: Fishing Stringer, and can be found at this url:


By Robert W. Benjamin

Catfish Fishing Tips

By Kim C Carson

I have done much catfish fishing and it’s a way of life for a lot of fishermen. For me fishing is very relaxing and an exciting day away from it all.
First of all, I have found that during midday catfish fishing is terrible because it’s to hot for me. So I don’t go fishing during midday anymore. The best time for catching small to medium size catfish during the summer months in most Southern California lakes is about 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, using shrimp and cut mackerel are excellent choices, but if you don’t get a bite here and there, you should change your bait about every five minutes are so.

For morning catfish fishing, I like to start at 6:00 am to 10:00 am; this seems to be a very active time for catfish. I start off with this rig I use a size 6 hook with night crawlers. Catfish fishing from the shore line is always good to fish in spots close to rocks and reeds. So before you get started check out the area for those spots.

Once you’ve found your fishing spot, and have your rig in place, its time to get started. Cast from the shore line about 20 to 40 feet this is about the average anyway, and slowly reel in your line. Movement is the key here, night crawlers will move on their on to help you get the catfishes attention. I call this dragging, make sure you have a bobber on your line to keep your rig off the lake bottom; this will help prevent your rig from getting caught on rocks or some other form of debris.

If you don’t get any bites after your first half hour of fishing, it’s time to try a different area. Sometime people get to comfortable and just stay in one spot, that’s not very good if you’re planning on catching some catfish. You have to be active and move around just like the fish you are trying to catch.

Catfish fishing in the spring time is the best time for catching the big catfish. You will need heavy tackle, because these fish can grow very large 50 pound or more and they will put up a very good fight. So 30 pound line, 7ft. rod heavy and a spinner reel is what you should be using. Use large hooks and large pieces of cut bait.

Start fishing off the points of the lake. A point is a strip of land that sticks out into the lake. A point will usually have a steep drop off that is wear the lake bottom gets deep. Big catfish will always be in deeper water than small or medium size catfish. Try using heavy chum like dough balls seasoned with garlic for scent. Dough will sink to the bottom very fast which will attract the big catfish to the area you are fishing. Now sit back and wait, but be ready because when the big catfish strike the baited hook, make sure you have a firm grip on your rod, are you will loose it. Your fishing success will depend on your ability to find concentrations of fish. So good luck, and enjoy your self!

Kim Carson has fished in Southern California lakes for 20 years.
For more fishing tips visit:

The Best in Fishing Bait For Catfish

Fishing is a hobby men and a lot of women enjoy, but having the right fishing bait for catfish is a very important ingredient to bringing home all those delicious mouth-watering catfish for an outdoor fish fry with your friends and family. Knowing which bait works the best for catfish will give you a fishing adventure you’ll remember for years to come.

Dead minnows are a wonderful bait to use when fishing for catfish. Live minnows tend to attract a lot of bass and that can interfere with the catfish you’re after today. Catfish really don’t care, live or dead, they’ll go after either so save the live ones for a day of bass fishing. Use the dead minnows with a bobber system to suspend them a foot or so under water especially in the summer and spring months and in shallow water.

Sardines, anchovies and shad are other favorite catfish baits. These work well in water that is deep and used more when you are drift fishing. Another favorite fishing bait for catfish is crawfish, this is a delicacy for them. The meat from the tail works best but crawfish can be used as live bait as well but the pinchers need to be removed if you’re fishing on the bottom or use a bobber rig to keep the crawfish off the bottom.

Shrimp is another catfish delight. These should be shelled before being hooked as the catfish prefer the shelled shrimp. The larger shrimp can be cut into small chunks while the smaller ones can be placed on your hook whole. Some people soak the shrimp in garlic oil, vanilla, anise oil, or any number of other things to add another scent to bait shrimp.

Night crawlers work very well too, catfish love worms. Worms are easily found at any bait and tackle shops, especially from the spring months into the winter. When you bait your hook with a worm make sure you don’t leave a long end hanging lose because a catfish will suck the worm off the hook before you know what happened. Place only enough weight on your line to allow your worm and line to drift naturally along the bottom with the current for the best results.

Chicken livers or gizzards are also great bait for catfish. Make sure they are fresh and not frozen. Place these on your hook and just wait for the catfish to come calling. The only draw back to using chicken gizzards or livers is they come off your hook easy after they get wet. It’s best to use a treble hook so you’ll get a little more time out of this bait.

There are also some lures and prepared fishing bait for catfish on the market today. Your best bet with these is to find someone who has had a lot of experience with lures and prepared baits and try those that have been proven to work. The bait shop owner can give you some tips on what’s been working lately and recommend some brands to try.

You can find more information about fly fishing at our site.

Fishing Rigs – What is the Right Tackle For Big Catfish?

There are no set specifications on what tackle you should use for big catfish in the over 20 lbs range, but if you have been a catfish angler for any length of time you understand that big fish like a 30 lbs blue catfish or a 25 lbs channel catfish will need some very powerful tackle. Our article today will focus on some suggested tackle.

When you are fishing big rivers and there is a strong current you need to go big on your tackle. A good surfcasting rod and reel combo spooled with 30 to 50 lb fire wire fishing line is a good start. The surf rod will get your catfish bait where it needs to be, and will help you when your fighting your big catfish. You will be able to cast your large baits into current areas and with the proper catfish fishing rig you will be able to keep you catfish bait on the bottom. When you fish strong current areas you will need a good supply of 4 to 5 oz pyramid sinks the are the best bet to keep your bait from rolling. You will also need hook sizes from a 5/0 to 7/0 size range. A simple fishing rig would include the pyramid sinker tied on the end of the line and your 5/0 to 7/0 hook tied on about 3ft up the line with a loop knot. You could use gizzard shad or skipjack herring cut bait cut in large chunks.

If you are drift fishing for big catfish such as blue catfish and channel catfish you may want to use a 7 to 8 ft medium power bating casting rod, or medium action open face reel rod with either a bait casting reel or a open face reel spooled with 30 to 50 lbs fire line. Make sure which ever reel you chose it matches your rod selection and is designed to use large pond test lines. The reason I suggest you get fire line is because the large test lines such as 30 to 50 lbs test have a diameter size about ½ of what monofilament line is. For you catfish bait fishing rig I suggest you use a what is called a three way swivel rig.

To Make a three way swivel fishing rig tie the three way swivel onto your line first. Next tie a 8 to 12 inch dropper leader with a 3 oz to 5 oz pyramid sinker. Next tie your 50lb test fire line leader 16 to 28 inches in length with a 5/0 to 7/0 hook. Just a note if the current is extremely strong you will need to go with a larger pyramid sinker, because you need to hold on the bottom to be successful.

For fishing large reservoirs a pontoon boat works great for fishing for large catfish such as blue catfish and channel catfish. But if you are fishing rivers they are not a good idea. If you plan on fishing large rivers with strong currents a good suggestion would be a 16 to 20 ft aluminum deep v designed hull boat. You want to have a larger boat so you have the room to maneuver when you are trying to land a large trophy blue catfish or channel catfish.

Well folks that concludes my article today about catfish fishing rigs and tackle. Have a great day and we wish the best of luck on your next fishing trip.

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Posted in Bank Fishing, Fishing Methods | Tagged , | 10 Comments