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Author Topic: Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat  (Read 1661 times)

The Rooster

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Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat
« on: May 30, 2016, 10:11:08 PM »

I bought a 8'6" long and 4' wide Sun Dolphin plastic boat today. One of those that will fit up in the back of a truck and just has two swivel seats mounted inside. I wanted to get back into boating again in a very cost efficient but also easy and comfortable, low hassle way. That is why I chose such a simple craft.

I also bought a Minn Kota 30 pound thrust trolling motor for it. I wanted to ask if everyone thinks this is normally enough motor for a boat of this size? I sure ain't trying to break any speed records or go a long way up the lake, I just want to know if you think I'll find it adequate enough to maneuver the boat while fishing without finding myself wishing for more power. Will it respond fast enough and keep me from drifting into rocks? I know higher thrust ratings would be better but also I don't want the sudden jolt of too much power causing me to fall overboard from this tiny vessel, either.

Also, would getting the larger 40 pound thrust motor make the battery last any longer or drain it faster?  Reason I ask is based on the notion that a 4 cylinder car must work harder and use more gas to go the same speed as a 6 cylinder that does so easily, and actually can save gas as a result. Does this principle apply to electric motors too?

Finally, I hesitated on buying a battery. My tendency is get the biggest one they have, but it weighs a bunch. I am looking at Walmart Everstart deep cycle batteries. They have the large one, a medium one just barely smaller, and also one closer to a car battery size, enough I can feel the weight difference in hand between the largest one and the smallest one. The small one is rated at 96 amp hours, while the largest is rated at about 122 amp hours. Seems significant, but I don't know the current draw of the 30 pound thrust motor, so I dont know if one or both are adequate for all day fishing or not. The motor will be the sole source of propulsion aside from a paddle for when the battery zonks out. This boat will never be far from a dock. Maybe a mile or mile and a half. But paddling back isn't something I want to do more than once, and I've already had that experience in my old boat from a spun prop hub and a fried trolling motor on the same day. But I know in a small boat, every pound counts, and if a smaller battery is good enough for a 7 a.m. to noon trip then I could save some weight by going that route.

I sold my last big water boat and have been bank bound for two years. Now I am finally able to get on the water again in a much downsized, much simpler way, but I don't want to find out the hard way I made poor choices. Any help is appreciated.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 10:22:26 PM by The Rooster »
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topdsm0138

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Re: Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2016, 06:49:21 PM »

I have the Pelican Bass Tender 10.2 with a 36lb thrust trolling motor and Everstart group 27. The 36lb pushes my son and I around no problem. The battery seems to last about 5-6 hours at speed 3.
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Mike Cork

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Re: Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2016, 08:58:04 PM »

30 pound is going to be on the light side but should be sufficient, barring nasty weather which is why I'd recommend the largest your budget can afford.

If your concerned about inadvertently raising the power level and subsequently throwing yourself out. Look to a Minkota, they start slow and wind up to speed each time the button is pushed.

For half day trips, the smaller battery is fine. For electric motors I find that larger motors use less battery because they don't have to work as hard. my 109 - 36v system outlasts any 24 volt system I've had.
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The Rooster

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Re: Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2016, 09:59:28 PM »

I've already realized this is a fair weather vessel. I wouldn't dream of taking it out if I expected rain or storms. I didn't get responses in time so I had already bought and used the battery (Everstart group 27) and the Minn Kota Endura 30 pound motor. I was pleased with its performance. It will do well for what I wanted it for. It's gonna take getting used to such a small boat. Felt really small out on the lake tonight. Some of it was because I am seated so high. I'm used to gunnels that are higher. This felt more like a motor on a sheet of plywood. The good thing was, I ran it on speed 5 for over an hour, went way up the lake just running it, but not fishing, and my battery only went down to 76%, and that was the whole trip, up the lake and back. Not even a quarter used of available battery, so I know this will last for me in the places I plan to fish it.
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Mike Cork

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Re: Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2016, 06:58:03 AM »

That's excellent. Looks like your ready to go. Thanks for letting us know, this will definitely help the next angler in your position  ~c~
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snakeeater

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Re: Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2016, 11:20:59 AM »

I've got a 9 footer with a Minn Kota 46 lb thrust troller on it, and I ALWAYS take two fully charged batteries with me.  So far, not problems...knock on wood!!! ~cf
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The Rooster

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Re: Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2016, 06:31:15 AM »

UPDATE...So far this boat has been used about 6 times on actual fishing trips, and a couple of times just for fun, including one land and sea water cannon battle that left 3 of us thoroughly soaked and one 7 year old happier than pigs in slop.

As for the fishing, the boat is excellent. It is a bit cramped on space for large tackle storages, rods, and all other essential gear, but I am revamping those things to provide relief. I've already moved the paddles to the outer top gunnels using velcro straps and that has been a tremendous improvement. I'm currently lookkng at moving from a 3700 based utility box tacklebag down to a 3600 based system so it just takes up less room and can slide under the seats. My large bag just won't do that. Also, the smaller boxes (I have a few now) seem much easier to handle on this boat and the one currently being used can even be laid down in the trays along side of the gunnels and still not be in the way.

Two people have plenty of room to cast. Hasn't been a problem at all. Maneuverability in this boat to retrieve snagged baits is very good. Mobility is also very good and battery life is exceptional. Average trip uses just 13% overall, and I recharge each time on the 3% trickle setting. Boat speed could be a bit faster but I have no complaints at all, none whatsoever. Stability is very good as well, even allowing standing for me, and I'm not small. 6'2" and 250 pounds. I have noticed, however, that a resistive bait will drag the boat in the direction of retrieve. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits alike. Also the absence of a rear rudder (trolling motor at the bow) means the boat can be unruly at times but generally we don't fish moving waters or high windy days, and I plan to make one from wood to add on to help anyway.

Modifications I have made include new folding bass boat seats, because the plastic seats it came with are just not comfortable. Also I love the idea that the boat fits my truck to allow access to remote places, but mostly I use it on lakes with ramps, so for ease of use I now have it on a Harbor Freight trailer, also modified with 2x10 bunks bolted down end to end, and 2x4 sides attached lenghtwise with those also. The boat fits perfectly inside these, and launching is super super simple. I can do it alone easily. Tie a rope to the front cleats and tie the other end to an anchor in the truck bed with just a bit of slack. As I back down the ramp, all that is needed is just the end of the trailer in the water about a foot and the boat will slide right off. To retrailer it I do the same, and the rope works to pull it right back up on again. Also, if this proves difficult at all, I can simply walk down the 2x10s right to where the boat is floating and grab it from there. Never get wet at all.

So far, I have also achieved a new personal best largemouth bass from this boat, already posted in the Catch of the Day forum. Man, that fish will be remembered for a long time! I have found the pot of gold at the end of the fishing rainbow with this setup, and I could not be happier when it comes to fishing. More mods planned, many more trips planned, and the possibilities seem endless.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 06:36:31 AM by The Rooster »
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snakeeater

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Re: Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2016, 07:43:34 AM »

Glad to hear things are working out well for you...I have fished my small boat for years and have absolutely no regrets....a heckuva lot less maintenance and cost, and I'm catching more fish than ever because I go to and get in a lot more places than the big expensive boats.  I've also found I can not only get by, but also catch more fish with less gear to haul around...four or five basic choices for me are plenty, as are only three rods.  I've found I can fish a lot more effectively when I work hard with the baits I carry instead of constantly searching for the magic bullet.

I've also been spending a lot more time fishing out of my tube...got 28 (up to 3 lbs) in 2 and a half hours yesterday in a small lake near my home that I've never seen a boat on. 

Frankly, I'm done with the big boats.  JMHO... ~gf
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The Rooster

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Re: Bought a Sun Dolphin pond boat
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2016, 11:42:54 AM »

I have also cut back to 3 rods, down from 5-6 at times. I enjoy it a lot more. Seems much less hassle. Need to do the same for my tackle, I have way too much to choose from which mostly just stresses me out thinking I need to keep switching baits to find "the one". I collected such an amount thinking I'd go to the water and based on conditions I would choose a given bait, and having so many I'd for sure have what I need. But that never happens. I go to the water and choose baits based on conditions compared against what I know I have in the bag. I could do the same with far less and likely be even happier. Not to mention, having so many lures means far more hooks to keep sharpened. Most have never seen water.
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