looking for a fishing plane

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fly2fish

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Feb 16, 2013
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Hello all,

Love the forum and this is my first post here. So here goes... I'm looking for a fishing plane.

Fly two 200lb occupants up to 250nm, land on a remote lake, fish from the plane all day like you might in a bass boat, and return home without refueling.
Must be an amphibian.

My research tells me there are many existing aircraft that can make the trip, but would be difficult to fish from.
Imagine two people comfortably casting all day, moving the plane from spot to spot, etc.

I realize it will never be as comfortable as a bass boat would be (it has to be an airplane after all). But how close could you get?

1. What would be the best existing design for this?
2. If you could design something new, what would it look like?

All ideas welcome. Thanks!
 

Pops

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Bearhawk or Patrol on floats.

The Bearhawk that I am building has the seats that fold down to make a bed and also has the rear cargo doors. Two people can camp in it. Build it by the plans and you can carry 1300 lbs of useful load on wheels for a gross weight of 2500 lbs. Has a GW of 2700 lbs on floats.
 

cluttonfred

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In terms of comfortable fishing, it sounds like you really need a boat hull amphibian, but there aren't many homebuilt ones with the capacity you need except maybe the Spencer Aircar which is an ENORMOUS project.

Among float seaplanes, Zenair CH801 on amphibious floats is the first one that comes to my mind. It's a four-seater so it would certainly have the capacity you need and you could easily bring a folding or inflatable boat along for more comfortable fishing.

jfbahamas11.jpg
 

Dan Thomas

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Airplanes on the water will drift badly in any breeze at all, and the pilot will be busy trying to keep it out of the weeds or trees or rocks and won't get much fishing done. Most guys try to carry a small boat, maybe an inflatable, to go after the fish, and tie the airplane up on the shore. Conventional airplanes on floats sometimes carry canoes on the struts.

maintenance3_1.jpg

Dan
 

TFF

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Lake Buccaneer probably can do it. The biggest problem would be fuel on the return trip. Can you do it without getting into your reserve. 500 miles is easy; its 500 miles with 2 takeoffs and climbs where you are eating fuel is the tricky part.
 

cluttonfred

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I am not a fan of inflatable boats, which are unpleasant to row and at the mercy of the wind, and the canoe-on-the-float-struts solution has always given me the creeps as it can't be good for yaw or pitch stability. Many seaplanes and amphibians have tubes or other arrangements in the rear fuselage to carry long but relatively light objects like fishing poles, skis, canoe paddles, etc. It would not be hard to plan such an arrangement to accommodate one of the many commercial and homebuilt folding canoes and kayaks out there. I have seen several schemes for adding an outrigger to a canoe or kayak, or joining two canoes or kayaks with crossbars, for safe, stable stand-up fishing. Some of the sit-on-top plastic kayaks break down into two or three pieces for easier storage. In any case, I would definitely focus on finding the aircraft that best meets the rest of your mission requirements and then finding a suitable boat to take along, rather than expecting to fish comfortably from the plane.
 

SpainCub

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I would go with a pack raft on the boat. On a C-180 on floats, it was miserable trying to cast from the plane, how ever you could land and just get out and about...
 
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fly2fish

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Thanks for the great responses!

For existing designs, it seems you compromise by putting a very small boat (inflatable) inside the plane.
Or you strap a decent size boat (canoe, etc) to the outside and compromise aerodynamics.

Would it be possible to design a set of small folding platforms to ride more comfortably on the floats by making them temporarily wider? Add a removable pedestal seat and you have a place to sit.

For controlling position, you would need an electric trolling motor.

All this would require some strong payload ability of course. But stay with me, I'm trying to think outside the box. :)
 

cluttonfred

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Taking another look at your requirements, that range is going to be tough with standard fuel on most aircraft. You are talking about 250 nm each way, so 500 nm round trip. For a comfortable reserve when flying out into the bush, you are going to want more like 600 or 700 nm absolute range. So, like I said, you are probably talking about a four-seat but with auxiliary fuel and reduced payload.
 

Pops

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4 seat and baggage, Bearhawk range-- 650-800 miles
2 seat and baggage, Patrol range -- 900 miles

Building my 4 seat Bearhawk as light as possible, with side cargo doors, seats fold down for a bed for 2, I'm using standard 55 gal fuel tanks,( optional 72 gal). I have all the float fittings and mods finished for installing on floats. With the rear seat removed, I have 60 cu,ft of baggage area with a 12" CG envelope.


Taking another look at your requirements, that range is going to be tough with standard fuel on most aircraft. You are talking about 250 nm each way, so 500 nm round trip. For a comfortable reserve when flying out into the bush, you are going to want more like 600 or 700 nm absolute range. So, like I said, you are probably talking about a four-seat but with auxiliary fuel and reduced payload.
 
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Battson

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I have to agree that the problem is you're dream only works in dead-still wind, no water current conditions. Otherwise you will need two anchors? Weight will be a problem with full tanks, a boat & gear aboard, two guys, and two anchors.
And then you're starting the engine every time you reposition the aircraft, which would be hard on the engine and probably scare the fish! I can't imagine one guy with an oar sitting on each float would be a fun way to get around. Maybe rig a strut between the floats to accept a detachable 2-3hp outboard engine? Again weight... You will need a big plane. Think Bearhawk 4-place, Murphy Moose, or Super Cyclone in order of cost... You would look at a Super Rebel but I don't know if they do floats, and it's heavy for what it is before you add floats.

Most bush planes are high wing too, which would be a pain in the ass for casting, but probably saves on the sunscreen!

It sounds like if money were no object..... you want a low-wing boat hull design with big wingtip floats as well, and wings strong enough to be walked upon all day. That would be ideal for casting. But probably just a pipe dream, like so much on this forum.

In reality, I'd get a proven larger home built aircraft with extended tanks and put it on floats. Accept the deficiencies... Then figure out a way of modifying it with hard points to sling a canoe or two kayaks underneath it like a pod on a Skywagon would. Or strap a kayak to the top of each float. Maybe even custom build a canoe to match the contour of the fuselage and reduce the drag. Weight and balance will be the key, but if you're carrying extra fuel cans in the floats, you can probably move them around to help sort that out, but you'd need to think about the pendulum effect of all that weight under the plane too in terms of turning and stalls.

I like your idea and your initiative.
 
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Pops

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I like the idea of custom building a Kayak for the interior of the aircraft. With the rear seat out of the Bearhawk, make a door in the rear bulkhead to extend the baggage area for the length of the Kayak,( several people have extended the baggage area ). I have built several Kayaks and the weight will by next to nothing.



I have to agree that the problem is you're dream only works in dead-still wind, no water current conditions. Otherwise you will need two anchors? Weight will be a problem with full tanks, a boat & gear aboard, two guys, and two anchors.
And then you're starting the engine every time you reposition the aircraft, which would be hard on the engine and probably scare the fish! I can't imagine one guy with an oar sitting on each float would be a fun way to get around. Maybe rig a strut between the floats to accept a detachable 2-3hp outboard engine? Again weight... You will need a big plane. Think Bearhawk 4-place, Murphy Moose, or Super Cyclone in order of cost... You would look at a Super Rebel but I don't know if they do floats, and it's heavy for what it is before you add floats.

Most bush planes are high wing too, which would be a pain in the ass for casting, but probably saves on the sunscreen!

It sounds like if money were no object..... you want a low-wing boat hull design with big wingtip floats as well, and wings strong enough to be walked upon all day. That would be ideal for casting. But probably just a pipe dream, like so much on this forum.

In reality, I'd get a proven larger home built aircraft with extended tanks and put it on floats. Accept the deficiencies... Then figure out a way of modifying it with hard points to sling a canoe or two kayaks underneath it like a pod on a Skywagon would. Or strap a kayak to the top of each float. Maybe even custom build a canoe to match the contour of the fuselage and reduce the drag.

I like your idea and your initiative.
 

Battson

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I like the idea of custom building a Kayak for the interior of the aircraft. With the rear seat out of the Bearhawk, make a door in the rear bulkhead to extend the baggage area for the length of the Kayak,( several people have extended the baggage area ). I have built several Kayaks and the weight will by next to nothing.
If you moved the flap splitter-cable one step further back (easily done), you could open up a massive baggage area and fit a very large kayak. The trick would be sliding doors to get it out, and being careful with your balance calculations for C of G.
 

Pops

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Yes, That has been done. As far as the CG, the CG of the kayak would be forward in the cabin and the light weight of a Kayak would not make much difference.

BTW-- Are you staying with the streamlined shock struts on the LG or going with the round tube shock strut?
Are you plan on putting your Bearhawk on floats?

If you moved the flap splitter-cable one step further back (easily done), you could open up a massive baggage area and fit a very large kayak. The trick would be sliding doors to get it out, and being careful with your balance calculations for C of G.
 

Dan Thomas

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For controlling position, you would need an electric trolling motor.
You'd need a really big trolling motor to control any airplane on any water other than a really small, well-protected lake, and you can't land or take off on such a lake. There's a lot of airplane sticking out in the breeze and controlling it even with the engine running can be a chore. Take a couple of floatplane lessons to find out, and paddle the airplane around a bit to see what a light wind does to it. If a rubber dinghy is a pain in the wind (and it is, in my experience) an airplane is far worse. Lots of sail area. Shoot, even my 16-foot canoe with its 2 hp outboard gets unmanageable in a ten-knot crosswind.

Dan
 

Battson

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Shame about that 600NM range requirement eh?

Pops - I have stayed with the standard streamlined shocks at this stage. I do plan to put amphibs on at some stage in the future, once I can afford a good set. There just aren't enough safe water-airports around here for straight floats to be a practical choice, despite their lighter weight and cost efficiency...
 

fly2fish

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It sounds like if money were no object..... you want a low-wing boat hull design with big wingtip floats as well, and wings strong enough to be walked upon all day. That would be ideal for casting. But probably just a pipe dream, like so much on this forum.
i think this sounds ideal. Too bad no one makes ones. Seems like there would be enough of a market for such a model.
It would be great for recreational bass or bone fishing, and also for use by guide services offering day trips.
 
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