Zodiac Inflatable craft

I love this boat !! 

After many trips half killing myself trying to deploy baits with an aluminum tinnie, I decided to invest in an inflatable boat, the same that is used by Australian life savers, for quick safe deployment of baits through the surf line.

This boat is highly customised, it is a 13.5 foot Inflatable Zodiac Mark 2 with specialised foot straps , reinforced transom to floor strengthening bars, reinforced transom, bait deployment unit, extra handles, fuel tank straps, 4 quick evacuation Venturi water valves etc.

This  is matched up to a brand new 25 hp Force (Mercury)  3 cylinder short shaft outboard, with a specialised  stainless steel performance surf racing prop and a surf life savers custom stainless steel Prop guard.

This boat has BALLS. it has a top speed of about 30 kph, and a fuel consumption of about 40km on a full 25 litre tank of unleaded 2 stroke.

The boat is extremely responsive , being able to turn into and out of waves and surf very quickly. this is very important if trying to get out of the surf when deploying a bait. The boat is self draining with 4 chambers of inflation for extra safety.

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here I am at famous Point Lonsdale, doing a very quick turn away form the jetty at the last second before hitting the pier, the boat can turn on a penny.

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Doing Donuts . see how small the turning circle is.

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Notice how quick the boat can turn , ideal for turning into a wave before it hits you from behind. A moderate amount of skill is required when towing a bait out. Full concentration is needed with only short bursts of controlled throttle so as not to over run the game fishing reels.

Notice how my friend Scott's yellow Metzler has the bait deployment pole bolted to the transom, so that the bait and hooks never have to come inside the boat as inflatable's and hooks do not mix well !!!! that's a 20-25lb stingray for bait..

  A nice shot of Scotty taking his new Zodiac out into a typical surf at Moreton Bays Moreton Island

How do I carry the Bait out to the Drop Off Zone

This is a question which is often asked and over the years we have many fine tune the technique somewhat. 

The first thing you have to do is attach a largish stainless steel eyebolt to the transom on the side you (as the driver) normally sits, for me this is on the right hand side looking forward as I steer the Tiler handle with my left hand. Drill a hole in the transom and pass the eyebolt through, you may need to use some large surface area washers to spread the load, if possible place a washer either side of the transom and then tighten with the nut. Attach then to the eye (this should be over hanging the water not the inside of the boat!!) a medium size stainless steel clip. 

The clip is used to attach  to the start of the steel trace where it joins the double. the trace is then rolled up neatly on the boats floor and the bait sits in a square plastic utility box or fish box or even a 20 litre plastic bucket, making sure that all there containers have a snap lid so as to secure and contain the bait in a large sea.

By securing the trace to the transom in this manner you ensure that you keep the trace clear of the motors prop. 

When you reach your desired location, take your time and prepare the bait first. take it out of the container along with the sand bag or anchor and hold the trace and hook. then carefully release the clip holding the trace to the transom and pass this carefully over the boats sides to its drop point. Wait for bait to dissappear and then head back into shore. 

This will take a bit of practice but basically thats it in a nutshell.

Remember if the sea looks to big don't take a chance. It is always worth considering a personal Epirb as a safety locator in case you do tip the boat and you get caught in a tidal currant.

Tipping the Boat, What do I do ?

There may be a time one day when you will tip the boat, this is normally done on an incoming wave where the wave will pick you up and throw you overboard. Not a nice feeling . However if you take a boat out in a surf then likely it will happen. Firstly secure everything in the boat down from the fuel tank to the safety gear. When you do tip it, get the boat back on shore STRAIGHT AWAY.

You will need to get the sea water out of the spark plug chamber NOW. do not leave it otherwise it will rust up the pistons by the morning. Remove the spark plugs and spray shit loads of WD40 or similar into the chamber and keep pulling the cord until only WD40 comes out not a white milky liquid. When this has been done clean the spark plugs with a rag, replace the spark plugs. You will also need to remove the bowl under the carbie and ensure that there is no water in it.  Then  you can either spray a bit of WD40 into the carbie or wait for it a new product called "Start ya Bastard " - available from 4Wd shops and selected auto shops (Not KMART). This should kick the motor back over. Now add some more oil to the fuel to take it up to 1:25 instead of 1:50, this will  have the effect of increasing the oil and decreasing the corrosion. It might smoke more but so what. 

That's it Pick your pride up and go and set a new bait. PS don't tell yer mum or the wife !!!

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Zodiac launched from Tathra Beach 2000 - check this page out