So You Want to Build a Skiff?
I have been told that I am just a hair on the crazy side on more than one occasion. The tendency to take the path less traveled somehow seems to find me even when I am not actively searching for it. So began this journey. If you knew me as a kid, you would know that I grew up chucking plugs from an 18′ Lund V Hull that my fathers employees aptly named “The Master Baiter”. (mom was so proud) My father ended up selling the boat as I got older and have been a walk and wade fly fisher for over 20 years. Deep down I have always missed having the boat and would often lament to my wife about the day that the kids grow up and I can buy my dream boat.
Long long long story short, I decided that that time was now. No… the kids are not grown up. No I don’t have the budget for the boat I had my eye on…. and I truly had no clue what I was going to do. As luck would have it, my friend Dale Fogg is a pretty handy guy and makes beautiful hand crafted fly tying stations. He turned me on to J and J Dream Boats (https://www.facebook.com/JJDreamBoatsImagineThat on FB) up in Union City, PA. Jim and Joan are truly amazing folks and not only do they sell beautiful hand crafted drift boats, but they offer classes for the novice (like me) who would like to build their own.
Now, if you have read any of my previous posts you’d know that I had purchased a small hull with the notion of rehabbing it. After some sense was talked into my head by Mark Sikora up at International Angler, I realized that the boat did not have enough displacement to carry the weight of what I wanted to do…. So at that fateful moment, a skiff was born! I found a perfect set of plans for what I wanted to build on Bateau for a fair price but if you look hard enough, there are plenty of free plans available in books or on the web.
My journey started with a FaceBook message and then a phone conversation with Jim and Joan. They were not only helpful and insightful, but they agreed to schedule a class to accommodate my crazy schedule. In a full day, Jim walked me though each and every step with hands on experience and patient explanation.
Not only did I walk away with knowledge, confidence, and excitement, but Jim fed me a lunch of some of the best deep fried blue gill fillets I have ever had! According to Jim, Joan caught most of them and is deadly with light tackle.
J and J have sold boats to all different kinds of folks, including some of the most well known guides in Pennsylvania.
So building a 16′ boat is at times not a one man operation so I recruited my good buddy CW and my neighbor Rich to give me some much needed help. (I pay in beer, but always really really good beer!) So this week it began with the goal to have the boat in the water for our late May pilgrimage to Presque Isle Bay.
Yes… I know, I know… It doesn’t look like a boat yet. The early stages are a ton of prep and joining of boards. Stay tuned for more to come as things take shape. We are still searching for a fishy name so if any of you have some cool ideas, let us know!
Tight Lines and Loose Pants,