If your neighbor told you he just punched a couple of big holes in his fishing boat—on purpose—you’d probably discreetly reach for your cell to call for help before he blew another gasket.
Dave Genz of St. Cloud, Minnesota, isn’t just any angler, however, so when I saw his recent Facebook post featuring photos of his new Holey Boat, I knew there had to be a reason.
Genz, best known as “Mr. Ice Fishing” in the northern half of the country, is an inventor, innovator and an all-around hero to ice fishermen everywhere. Among his many laurels is the fact that he pretty much single-handedly gave hardwater anglers the gift of mobility when he developed the first highly portable flip-over ice shelter in his garage back in the day. He also introduced the use of fishing electronics to the sport.
Together those two innovations turned ice fishing from a static pastime meant to while away winter days waiting for Spring to arrive into a vigorous endeavor in which the goal is to locate and target active fish.
In recent years Genz has helped design and develop countless pieces of modern ice fishing equipment, including dozens, if not hundreds, of the small jigs and flies that are the hardwater angler’s bread-and-butter. Thus, the reason for the boat renovation, custom-built at Frankie’s Marine in Chisago City, Minnesota.
”We do a lot of design work and testing during the open-water season,” he says, “and (because transducers are typically mounted on a boat's transom or trolling motor housing) have always struggled to keep these small jigs in the sonar cone.”
Each hole is topped with a riser tube and equipped with a removable plug to keep water out when the rig is underway. Additionally, a Vexilar FLX-28 flasher is connected to a SP200 SonarPhone T-Box, which sends wi-fi sonar and location signals to an iPad mounted on the deck.
When he locates deep-water panfish, Genz simply anchors the 18-foot boat, fore and aft, overtop the school, uncaps the hole and drops a jig. “It replicates ice fishing situations perfectly,” he explains, “and allows us to better test new lures during the off season.”
Bonus Video: Video Game Bass