I've spent countless hours of my fishing career in johnboats, canoes, kickboats and kayaks, and immensely appreciate the benefits small boats offer. The ability to access waters I wouldn't otherwise be able to fish is, of course, the primary benefit. But I also enjoy the quiet and peacefulness I experience when fishing solo.
The negative comfort factor that comes with cramped quarters, however, has been the only downside—for me at least. I know other anglers who can do a 12-hour shift in a canoe or kayak, and still go dancing like a teenager on prom night. Not me.
So, when I caught wind of this odd-looking platform, I was instantly intrigued. The Ultraskiff 360 is a floating disc, 6 feet in diameter with a flat bottom and a V-shape bow. Power comes from a 12-volt trolling motor you bring to the party.
It's the creation of Jeff Lizzio, a Floridian who says he'd been a diehard kayak fisherman until a back injury laid him low.
He writes on his website, "To me, both kayaks and jon boats where unstable, uncomfortable and inconvenient. I ended up a healthy and fit 30-year-old with a herniated disk in his lower back. While I may of had trouble walking and sleeping for the next year, I had plenty of time to come up with new ideas; from that point on I've been working on making this concept a reality."
Continual lifting and hauling played parts in causing his back troubles, but he also says "…only the top half of your body can twist around quickly. Kayaks make your spine do all the work whether you stand or sit." Thus, he designed his rig so it can be outfitted with just about any swivel chair or bicycle seat you choose.
The rig's light weight and round shape make it easy to store, move and launch.
I've not seen one in person, but it's evident Lizzio put a lot of thought into his design. Besides comfort and apparent stability, he built convenience into the mix. Three sizable storage compartments keep the deck clear, while molded sockets hold rods, landing net or even the seat pedestal. Plus, there's a pretty smart through-hull drainage system around the seat base.
Three compartments, one of which can be rigged as a live baitwell, offer a fair amount of storage space.
Right now, the only way to get one of these 110-pound rigs is to take $1,199 to Tampa, Florida, and pick it up yourself. Being a startup company, Lizzio is still looking to develop a distribution system. But from what I can tell, that should happen quickly, and I can't wait.
Don't get me wrong. I still love my kayak, but I sure want to check this thing out on the water.
What do you think? Will the Ultraskiff 360 fit into your program? Join the discussion here.