Trollcraft 16′ flats fishing skiff

My good friend Eric Bornstein and I have been discussing the problems of fishing alone in a flats skiff having to pole about with an unbalanced skiff. What about just designing a skiff that is just set up to use a trolling motor for singlehanded fishing?  Forget about poling about and just have a balanced skiff that has enough battery power to push or pull you along all day long. 

This is my concept drawing. My idea is to have the weight sitting as low and as central as possible. The skiff will be very rough water capable to get you to and fro but be very quiet when the trolling motor is in use. This design is for guys that have bad knees so it has easy steps up to the Chittum designed enclosed fishing cage. I have drawn in twin small rudders that will be linked up to the tower pad via Dyneema lines to a whipstaff tiller. You will have your trolling motor controls right on the Chittum cage in front of you. You steer the boat with a nudge to port or starboard with your toe or foot. Super simple low tech.

The best thing in fishing with trolling motors is to set one low speed and just creep along. No up and down speeds to alert the fish you are coming…. Just a low constant hum. Now with you in the Chittum cage you can just cast about at leisure.

The bow is straight to help it not blow about so much. Just like in a Whitehall rowing skiff. When running at speed it’s always out of the water.

This skiff can have a tower too for when you’re lucky enough to have someone to pole you about.

Water ballast tanks are drawn in to give the skiff solid weight in windy conditions. They can be filled and drained without electricity.

Just think of all the no motor zones that will be happening soon. 

The trolling motors shown can be both or just the one on the stern.


CONCHFISH 16′ plans for sale

I have updated my old Whipray flats skiff design to reflect my current thinking. I feel the design shown here will be superior in many ways to the past design. I have changed the upper spray rails, the bottom chine, and added in an outer skeg to control high speed turns. 

The plans can be purchased through me direct at for $275.00 for the PDF files and as much email help you will need to build.

I will have a complete build discussion on my blog for this skiff and all skiff builders.

I have named this design after the small CONCHFISH that lives alongside the live Conch shell a highly shought after mollusk and shell that is very tasty in the Caribbean Sea. The fish will swim up inside the living conch when danger approaches. Bahamaians will tell you that the very small fish that you have just speared is a CONCHFISH because it is so small. In real life they are 1-2″ long. Your grouper  might be 20″ long but to them it’s just a CONCHFISH.

Conchs can be found on grassy shallow banks.


More old drawings

I drew these when I was 15 years old. I am posting them here in case I lose them.

Just a bunch of school drawings for Biology class.


Drawings from teenage years

I found these the other day. They were drawn from the age of 15-19. I post them here because they will not be lost as I live a tenuous sailing Gypsy lifestyle of moving about. Our home in the Bahamas is a good place but it’s in the hurricane alley way. Once online then they are kinda safe… Or as long as this internet thing continues.

I have had boats on my mind forever.


ICKRAMOCK more details

I have had a few requests for more information on this pocket cruiser. I live on my sailboat the HOGFISH MAXIMUS full time and only have Internet when I go ashore where I can pick it up. I have not reached the point of buying antennas to reach long distances. With this in mind please just email me questions as I can then answer them back on the boat at night and send off when next ashore. With the blogs, and facebook I need WYFY to get at the questions so I then have to do this when ashore. Sorry I just don’t have the time for this….. But at night yes as I have time then.

Look at the scale for the drawings. You should be able to print out and draw up your own plans to suit you.

It takes me 80-100 hours to do a full set of plans for a flats skiff and the same for a boat like this being a bit less with all the calculations and such.

I hatch these ideas when on watch and cess them out over time. I have drawn in some people here to show scale for the dreamers in us. I’am 5’3″ tall. Perfect for most any boat. The people shown here are 5’6″ with that being the headroom designed. 

You need to really get along to have two people onboard for any length of time.

My guess for the costs to build this boat today would go from a low of $5,000.00 on up depending on materials and your resourcefulness.  



Here’s what the difference from the two building methods will look like. My shapes are a bit complicated but I feel the extra work is worth the effort. I would still make a strong back jig to build or lay the panels over to make it easier to assemble.

This skiff could be built in core panels by laying the core on a flat surface butting up the pieces. Then glassing one side over the entire panel. This panel will then be very flexible. Lay the glassed side down to form the inside skin. Temporarily screw or stitch together. Pull off and fillet and glass the inside. Roll over and really round the panel edges- Chines to soften the chine, then glass.


You know you want one

The GNARLEY 18 Jsfm is my concept for the over the hill crowd that still wants to pole about. In flats skiffs you have to sit elbow to elbow when running to and fro. With this design you get to have your own Captains seat. Using a jet drive adapted 300 hp engine she will fly along in inches of water annoying everyone on the flat watching you do doughnuts at 50 mph.


MUD MULLET a flats skiff concept

This design revolves around the idea of being quiet, dry when running, easy to pole, no skidding in a turn and to keep the weight out of the stern. With length you can balance to boat with three people and have very shallow draft. Most likely 4″. The stern will be quiet and easy to in.with the Jack plate she will run in inches. The bait well is in the middle for weight and to stop all the moving back and forth. It goes down to the hull bottom to not need a pump. 



Some of My life’s treasures consist of many wonderful shells I’ve collected off of beaches after their builders demise. I think shells are one of natures best kept secrets. Here you can find for free, for just the effort of just looking and bending over and picking up off the shoreline. I love the simple effort of evolution in shells making their own protective homes. The variety is overwhelming but the simple fact is they might all look the same within species but they are all just slightly different. Just like us , and boats. 

Here is my idea of what could fit me and Rachel at the smallest length to live on and cruise in, in warm waters.

An ICKRAMOCK is the Bahamian Spanish Wellsmens name for the spotted Cowerie. A nice home for sure anywhere in the warm waters of the world.

  All the writing on this concept drawing is my adding up the weights, sheets of plywood ,displacement and the costs to build.

A recent 19′ flats skiff design commission

John Royall from Texas hired me to design a flats skiff to fit his specific needs. John wanted to fish with up to 3 big guys including him, use his 150hp outboard, to have a small console with a removable ice chest in front and to look like a classic skiff. Well as classic as I could get using my bottom ideas. She had to be able to pole in shallow water and be level with a good fordeck. Yes and could she take some good chop too.

The best part of the commission was that he wanted to build it all in wood as John is a Master craftsman and makes his living rebuilding others dreams.

This skiff is to be built in strip plank, using core in between thin plywood veneers in the deck and cockpit sole. The rest is to be plywood in the flat chine and pad areas.

This will be a pleasant skiff to build as you will be smelling the wood the whole time. When fairing for the glass layer it will be wood dust. The glassing is nice because you are just laying over layers of cloth.

John requested that this be his exclusive one of a kind design design. No problem as I have lots more stuff  tacking back and forth in my head.

Please use the detail info here freely but respect Johns wishes.