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Bumper Boats

In our continuing quest for the perfect family boat, we are trying to keep an open mind; considering even the most unorthodox boat types. Primarily because we want the kids’ input too, we recently had another new boat experience: the “Bumper Boat.” Amazingly, this hull type cannot be found under TakeMeFishing.org's Types of Fishing Boats.

“Fun!” was my wet kids’ complete assessment of this 72” diameter, 2-person vinyl doughnut.

I received mostly blank stares when I asked amusement park operators about technical stuff but found good information at J&J Amusement. Although the gas-powered version only has a top speed of about 4 mph, with a centrally located, 360-degree rotating motor, it can turn tighter than any other boat. There also is an electric version for a more stealthy inflatable doughnut, and it can only turn 200 degrees if you are not “into dizzy.”

Fun or not, I tried to consider any practical fishing applications. It is stable (This water park did not provide life jackets; please keep safety in mind!), but there is no place for storage of tackle. Loading and unloading requires handrails and docks. I suppose one could move the entire boat to another pond by rolling, but you will probably want to have a patch-kit handy. With the bulging sides, any body of water with abundant standing timber would be like trying to fish in a pinball machine. However, some models are fitted with squirt guns that might come in handy for guarding your fishing spot.

“Okay,” I asked my 6-year old daughter “bumper boats are fun, but could you really fish out of one of those things?”

“Not with Grammy driving!”


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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.