All posts by The Adventurer

2016 Adventure – Lower Saranac Lake

I received a very unexpected invitation to go camping at Saranac Lake Islands Campground.  It was an annual trip for my friend Igor and his buddies.

I must make a short pause here and make an introduction.  I know Igor since the turn of the millennium.  He is a super techie guy, do it your-self kind.  He takes great interest and pleasure in all kinds of outdoor activities time permitting.  He is an excellent companion but it is very hard to get a hold of him due to his busy work/life schedule.

Earlier in the year Igor decided to become a member of Porta-bote community and a proud owner of brand new 14′ Porta-bote.  He rigged it with Suzuki 6HP motor and same trolling motor as mine which is a Minn Kota Riptide 55lb trust.

The trip was scheduled for early July.  It was a 5 day camping trip.  Our site was on Eagle Island on Lower Saranc Lake.  The only way to get to the site is by boat.  We planned taking 2 vehicles outfitted to carry porta-botes on roof racks.  Igor also had a hitch carrier which accommodated both of our outboards.  My car was designated as passenger carrier and Igor’s was gear hauler.

We left home the day before.  Picked up my boat and gear and went over to Igor’s brother in-law to spend the night.  Rest of the crew were coming to our designated meeting point early the following morning.2portabotes

Igor owns Ford Expedition.  For these not familiar with this particular model, it is the largest truck Ford makes.  I was certain we could fit everything in it and than some.  We loaded up initially and the truck was already getting full.  In my mind I was calculating how many trips it would take between marina and the camp site.

At the meet I learned that we have more cargo to load.  Food, water, more food and more drinks and of-course more gear.

We were on our way to the final destination around 8 am.  Expedition was full to the point that I think it exceeded the weigh limit.  My rear seat passengers had to take at least one large pack inside with them.  But all was great and we were all excited to be on the road.

Getting to destination was easy.  It took us about 5 hours with a few pit stops.  Finally we arrived at the boat lunch facility.  It was a well maintained place with plenty of parking and a small dock.  Once we had our boats down they were inspected for aquatic invasive species.  The inspection consisted of a few questions pertaining to the last boat use and visual inspection to ensure boats are dry and do not have any organic matter stuck to them.

Setup was quick as usual and considering we had 6 sets of hands boats were in the water in no-time.  But then the hard part… Our gear and food stretched entire length of the dock over-spilling on the beach.

We loaded boats up to the brim and it made no visible dent in overall amount of things we brought camping.  We took one passenger each boat and started moving to our camp site.  Boats moved at 8 MPH with 80% throttle.  I tried to go at 100% but it made no difference.

We did not know the lake very well and had to find our island, I was following Igor.  It is a large lake for porta-bote and at 8 MPH it was time consuming.  We could take a few short cuts due to the fact that our boats have extremely shallow draft.  There were places with rocks inches below surface.

lowersaranclake_boat_rt

After 30 min boat ride we were finally at the camp site.  Access was not easy with a big boulders obstructing tiny beach.  Then there was a nearly vertical hike.

We unloaded cargo and left our initial passengers at the island.  Ride back was much better, I clocked 15 MPH on my Humminbird.  Going faster and boat started flexing.  We did not take external tanks so we had just enough gas to make one round trip.  In total it took us 4 trips with 2 porta-botes to bring everything and everyone to the camp site.

We could definitely do away with half the things but it was all worth it at the end.  View from our camp site was unbelievable and with a little more effort we were all setup and ready to take in the first evening on the lake!

To be continued…

 

Return to Mongaup Falls Reservoir

After letting my work get the best of me in 2015 I decided not to let it happen this year.  I has been an uphill battle, but I am sure I can win it.

First available weekend, when there were no weddings, birthdays, kids parties or worst.  I decided that it is time.  Sure enough my Brother and steady fishing buddy declined the invitation.  Is that going to be the end of the dream?

To my aid came a very unlikely candidate, my Wife!  To what was a hopeless, rhetorical question: “Alex is not going, will you go instead?”… I received a positive response.  It took me a little while to make certain I was not dreaming or hallucinating, and the answer indeed was in agreement to my proposition.

We quickly agreed that a day trip was out of question, we were going to find a place to stay so that we could fully enjoy a day on the water.  To me this could pose a problem.  Catskill area motels were terrible in my experience, I was also concerned about my bote being on the roof in unsecured parking lot overnight.

I decided to try Airbnb.com.  It was late, only few days before the weekend.  I though, one miracle already happened, was there room for the second, and fortune was on my side.  I found Barbara!

Barbara owns a house in Glen Spey, which is under 15 min from Mongaup Falls.  She has a wonderful house with every amenity I and my wife needs.  And most importantly availability for the weekend!  I was sure to book it before someone else did.

Finally Friday came.  Once the business day was over, I packed the car and off we went.  I must say that there is something terrible going on in New York this summer, I cant recall spending so much time in traffic.  We arrived at B&B around 11pm, so our trip was almost 4 hours instead of the usual two and a half.  But it was all worth it!

Eddie, who is the gentlemen of the house, greeted us upon arrival. Having received instructions for the house and  set time for breakfast we hit the bed.

Me and my wife were up just shy of 6 am.  Eddie was waiting downstairs, drinking coffee.  We joined him for a quick breakfast.  Shortly after we were on our way to the lake.

My navigation was telling me that the lake was just around the corner.  I had my windows open and I could hear the lake and even smell it.  At the time when I was mentally setting up the bote, my wife asked if I seen her put sunblock in her bag………  Quick trip back to the house and back to the lake…

We were first to arrive at the lake.  As we were unloading at the ramp, two more fisherman came.  My bote was almost setup so I quickly got all heavy things out of the car and to the side of the ramp, I pushed the boat on to the water and got my car out of their way.  Ten more minutes that took me to come back and finish loading the boat, felt like eternity.  I was jealously watching the other fisherman motor away as I was attaching my minn kota to the transom.  I pushed the boat away and went about connecting  all the gear.

Mongaup Falls Reservoir, New York
Mongaup Falls Reservoir, New York

With motor and sonar operational, I pushed the boat south just in time for my Wife to take this picture.

Mongaup Falls in the morning
We were on the water just in time for my Wife to take this picture

I decided to troll and so I did without much success.  I used two rods rigged with RediRig Instant Downriggers, one had a large worm and the other had a soft rubber minnow.  I had them setup at 8 and 12 feet.

After few hours of enjoying the lake and no bite my wife suggested we change tactics because she wanted to see a fish.  So up came down riggers and out came float.  I gave rod with float and worm to my wife and used white minnow my self.  We started working east side of the lake.  In no time I had this 12 inch crappie in my hand

We navigated further south along same shore line which produced more fish on both minnow and worm.

After a while bite died down and we went on shore for some lunch and stretching.

I decided to finish the day in the river at the north end of the lake.  I was looking for some perch there.  I knew there was a place where a tree branch was under water and that spot was very productive.  I used navigation to find it, but I did not find the tree branch.  Maybe it was washed off by water release or it was too deep due to higher water level.

I used worm and float to catch enough perch for a soup.  They were biting very well all alone grassy bank.  I switched back to the white minnow and started casting towards the middle of the river as we made our way back towards the ramp.  On the second cast I was in a fight with this medium sized pickerel.  It was fun on the light tackle.

We enjoyed the day on the lake on our porta-bote.  With the sun going down we unloaded the boat and went on to break it down.  Local folk had some funny comments about the time it takes to get everything ready for leaving, but we had the fish and they did not, so the extra time was well worth it.

We spent that evening drinking beer and telling Eddie about our day.

Next morning we slept late and started our trip home where my wife cooked the fish we kept.


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Fishing on Wallkill River

One day in July I finally convinced my cousin, who is a die-hard shore fisherman to come and fish on my PortaBote. I know he was very skeptical about it and in general not a fan of boat fishing, but he agreed anyway. His only demand was that we are going to fish Wallkill river, I reluctantly agreed.

I fished Wallkill before, we used to catch plenty of carp there.  We would use the boat ramp for our fishing site as you can see on this Google image (hope I am not infringing)

 

wallkillriver

We headed out Friday after work, quick stop by my brother’s house to pickup the boat and off we went.  The plan was to fish for carp over night, take turns to catch a few hours of sleep and then go by the boat as the light starts to brake.

On the way we stopped by Walmart to get some bait and other supplies.

We arrived at the boat ramp just shy of midnight.  Many years passed since I have been there last.  To my surprise, the parking lot was in very poor condition.  I guess bad economy hit there as well.  So I had to rely on my cousin, who was outside with flash light, to avoid driving into foot deep potholes .

Once my car was safely parked, I went to see what the river was like.  I was worried about the current and if my 55lb trust electric motor would be able to handle it.  I got to the water edge and, well I could not see the river.  It was covered in heavy fog.  I touched the water, it felt hot.  Air temperature was below 60.  The view was beautiful but fishing was not promising.

We setup 2 chairs with the cooler in the middle, cast some corn and ate some sandwiches.  I added a worm to the mix and we were greeted by a steady bite from small bullheads, while it was fun nothing big came our way and everything we caught went back to live another day.

At some point we both decided to call it a night, pulled out carp rigs and went to sleep in the car.  I must say, sleeping in the car is not for me, I wished I took the Element instead of Sonata, but it is what it is and I made the best of it.

Morning came fast and I was happy to stretch.  We quickly setup the boat, loaded our gear and… I realized that I did not take the anchor, well river was not moving at all, so a few curse words aside we pushed off and were on our way.

wallkillriver late morning

 

Wallkill river turned out to be very shallow for the most part.  I worked hard trying to find deep pools, to no avail.  We went up the river for a few miles, stopping at deeper spots.  Fish alarm never went off, I did not see anything resembling fish either.  The only entertainment we had was the unexpected kind.  Someone was practicing landing a float plane right next to us.

It was apparent to us that we are not going to catch anything and we headed back to the ramp.  Once I let my cousin out of the boat, I went about the area to which we cast from the shore line.  It was the deepest spot of the river I have seen so far.

We setup for carp, attached little bells so that we do not need to watch our rods and went to sleep in our chairs.

I did manage one small (~10lb) carp, which was very weak.  Water temperatures must have been extreme for the fish.  We called it a day and went home.  I think that was my last trip to Wallkill, at least in the summer months.

 

 
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Fishing Mongaup Falls Reservoir

Trip 1 – first week of July

We arrived at the boat launch around 8:30 am.   There was a pickup in  the process of bringing a trailer down the narrow path to the launch site.  The boat on top of the trailer was 16′ aluminum outfitted with electric trolling motor.  Me and my brother walked down behind the pickup to see if we could offer some help.

The boat ramp was in a bad shape and trailer launching was out of question, so we offered to hand launch the boat.  It was easy between 4 people, so the site was clear for us to come down in no time.

I backed down the car trying to keep my tires on the paved part of the path.  Bote was setup under 20 min, I left rods and tackle on the grass for my brother to load while i took the car to the parking site.

I think we were very optimistic by buying 4 dozen minnows, which were happily waiting in outboard bucket such as this one .

Frabill Flow Troll Minnow Bucket
Frabill Flow Troll Minnow Bucket

I will run ahead of my self and say that with water temperatures around 74 F we had no dead bait fish in 8+ hours spent on the water.  Other then good survive-ability of our bait, this bucket offers a neat way of getting minnows out.  This is done by lifting the bucket horizontally, which drains the water through numerous holes on the backside of the yellow top making it very easy to get next bait fish.  The bad thing is that the bucket adds constant drag on the side of the boat.

With minnow bucket floating on starboard tied to the middle seat we started exploring the lake.  Having some idea from NYS DEC site about Mongaup Falls Reservoir we started closer to the east shore and made our way alone with few lines out baited with minnows.  I had what i though to be 1 to 1 1/2  oz egg sinker through the main line keeping it down.   We moved about 1 mph on the GPS.   It did not take long for me to land our first fish, which was Chain Pickerel at about 18″.  It took the bait from what felt like the second strike and after a short fight it ended up in the net.  It was a very clean hook-set in the corner of the mouth.  I marked the location and we kept moving south.  Shortly after I caught a nice 11″ Crappie on the same setup.  Now we had 2 not so happy fish swimming in our bucket.  Alex had few hits which did not produce.

We went all the way down to the dam, crossed over  to the west side of the lake.  I did not mark any interesting structures on the fish finder (I am still learning how to read it, so it could be just my bad interpretation), i did mark depths of almost 40′ closer to the dam.  West side of the lake appeared to be shallower and did not produce any strikes.  This could be attributed to our bad fishing technique and limited bait selection.

At noon we wanted to get out of the sun and take a brake.  We picked a small natural harbor on the east side which was situated just south of the 3′ shallow bed and was very much at the point of drop off.  We beached our boat and set to have lunch.

It was a great day, we really enjoyed the lake.  An eagle family made this lake their home, matter a fact we were having lunch somewhere not far from their nest so we had a great chance to watch these magnificent birds go on their hunting sorties.  Unfortunately we did not get to witness a successful hunts.

I took this the opportunity to check the gear, the battery was reading at above 75%, prop was clean, there was nothing to worry about.

We enjoy the shade for a few hours during which we did some float fishing.  This was very entertaining as there was endless supply of small yellow perch and bluegill for us to catch and release.  I did catch one small mouth bass, which could not wait to be released.fish jumping back

He took my worm under the tree (behind me), gave me a nice fight on super light tackle and decided not to wait as i was walking back to the water for a release, he wiggled him self out and dove into the water like a champ.

After the afternoon break we headed across to investigate west side of the lake.  There were some promising spots.  We did catch some more fish mostly trolling.  Alex had some  more bad hookups.  We seen some very nice and promising sites but fish was not cooperative although I did have the fish alarm go off number of times on the sonar.

We then went towards the river mouth.  On the way there Alex finally picked up his first fish trolling, it was a jumbo yellow perch.

At the river mouth there is a bridge and remnants of an old bridge.  That day there were people fishing both sides of the bridge with their lines in the narrow passage the river takes into the lake.  Passage appeared to be shallow on the east side, we took the center not to interfere with other people fishing.

River had more current, water level seemed to be average.  There was definite activity in all the natural pike hunting grounds.  What me and my brother saw next was out of si-fi.  Some 50 yards from where we were we heard lots of splashes.  We though it was gees or ducks landing on the water, but we did not see any where the sound was coming from.  Then Alex said “It is a Pike!”.  “You had too much sun” – was my reaction to his statement, but then I seen it as well.  My view was largely covered by some grows on flooded patches of land, all I could see was the aft of the area where the sound was coming from.  I could see a massive tail which had to belong to enormous Pike.  The tail came up and down making major splashes, it appeared like the Pike was trying to get at something in shallow water, according to Alex Pike’s mouth was opened and it was trying to launch it self on the very shallow in order to catch something.

Following this display Alex was bent on hooking a pike, in which he succeeded after number of casts with a shallow diver lure.  I managed another unattended catch on a live minnow, which was still hanging off my rod i used for trolling.  It was almost black in color jumbo yellow perch.

Sun was about to set and we decided to call it a day.  We “raced” back making just about 3 MPH, this seem to cheer up other fisherman.  I think they found amusing that my Riptide was actually audible at 100% throttle.  I guess it was just like watching a Honda Civic do 60 at 5K RPM.

Well, just like any other trip, this one ended.   We broke down the boat and took the 2 hour trip back home.

 
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Porta-bote Gets 1st Wash

Unfortunately did not make it fishing this weekend. Went rafting instead… Now I know for certain I am a fisher not a rafter 🙂
The day after rafting and just about an hour before Germany vs. Argentina WC final game I decided to clean the Bote.   All in all it was very easy and kind of fun – considering my brother decided to do most of the work.

I write this post in commemoration of Alex’s hard labor on a Sunday afternoon!
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Porta-bote Online Resources

Originally I ordered my boat at the show early March of 2014.  It was delivered beginning of June, about 2 month late.  Sandy apologized number of times almost complaining about how many boats they sold at various shows at the start of the year.

Before I was hard-pressed to find much information or at least active porta-boater, but now things have changed.  I will keep updating this blog with links to other porta-bote resources online.

First link goes out to RUDYAKAHALIBU77, who is a new owner like me.  He is also an avid fisherman and boater (unlike me), which makes him very valuable in terms of proper rigging of the porta-bote.  Keep up the good work and keep posting:

Youtube Video with Scotty Rod Holders which gives you an alternative way to add equipment to the bote.  Granted you loose some cup holders :-).

Updated setup by Rudy, worth watching

Or you can directly go to his channel and see other porta-bote and other boat/kayak/fishing videos Rudy posted.

Second link goes out to Yahoo official Portabote Group.  This group is private and supported by Sandy.  There is plenty of info there I just wish it was not Yahoo.

Very good official resource but terrible Yahoo experience.  Remember if you have a technical issue with the bote email and call porta-bote. 

iBoats buy CBD products good forums on portabote.  Give them a shot if you can’t find an answer.  Crazy gentlemen who goes by nick barato2 is an active porta-bote owner on that forum. 

This post on iBoats is my favorite.  My proof barato2 is a crazy guy 🙂  Hope to see some new reports from him, God Bless him!

Cheap gunnel mount to accept Scotty rod holder

 

Porta-bote Fun on Bashakill (with oars)

The account of my first trip with the Porta-Bote!

I asked my wife’s cousin to join me and my brother for the maiden voyage to which he gracefully agreed, considering he has issues with water due to the simple fact of not being able to stay above it on his own.

Addition of Roman on this trip was very helpful in terms of man power since I have not mastered one man loading/unloading of the boat and my brother being in another state was not very helpful in this regard.  I was also very happy to have the extra man for the company.

We loaded up around 7 pm and headed out to my brother’s house in NJ.  I was understandably worried about things staying on the roof rack and decided to mount my GoPro with the Jaws Flex Clamp mount to the gunnel of the boat so that I can see how things are as we drive.  I gave it one last look over and off we went.

I had my phone in the mount with GoPro video preview streaming.  Everything looked good,  I could see my straps, I could see my bag and the boat.  We started moving…  First turn.. and I hear metal hit metal and then a thumb on the pavement… “S*&# what was that?!” I ask as I pull over.  To my relieve it was only my folding knife which I used to cut a safety line for the GoPro and forgot on top of the boat.  We picked it up and continued on our way.

I noticed that we were getting a lot of looks as we rolled down Ocean Parkway.  I immediately checked my impromptu ‘surveillance monitor’ -everything was fine.  The GoPro on top of the roof rack was the attraction.  We drove on.

I stopped a few times to check on the straps, but otherwise rest of driving was uneventful.

We spent the night at my brother’s house and left before 6 am for the Bashakill

41.517712, -74.539180

41°31’03.8″N 74°32’21.1″W

The trip to the boat launch took about hour and a half.  I was happy with the way things looked on top of the car.  I had to slightly adjust the straps for light softness once when I stopped half way for the checkup, they were tight when we reached the destination.

It was a fine morning, we did not need any jackets as there was no wind and the sun already started warming things up over 70 F.  There were more people than I expected at the launch, some were taking their aluminum boat out of the water, others just hanging around with tripod mounted optics for bird watching.  As it turned out there are lots of eagle nests in the area, one of them being on Bashakill.  Older gentlemen who was a member of Bashakill Area Association  kept telling everyone to try and not to disturb the eagle near the nest as there was a baby in there and there is a chance for the eagle to abandon the nest if disturbed.

We went to unpack and at that point elder birdwatcher recognized the porta-bote.  He asked how fast it is to ready it up so we invited him to watch with the warning that this is the maiden voyage.

I, as the most experienced porta-bote mechanic took the lead.  I spread it open with the wooden spreader, pausing to figure out which end of the middle cut out should be away from the gunnel to hold.  Then my brother and Roman went to put the seats in and I did the transom.  The birdwatcher was happy with what he saw, so was I.

As the saying goes, nothing goes smooth the first time.  When I first put the boat together on my driveway I did not care much to have all the seat feet lined up proper, here we had to.  The middle seat would not budge no matter how we asked it.  We ended up relocating outer feet closer inwards and that solved the problem.  This cost us about 10 min and made the birdwatcher smile.

I threw a pair of oars in and pushed the boat in the water.  I jumped aboard as it floated away from the shore line.  The fact that no water came as I floated about made me very happy.  I mounted oars and rowed around letting Roman take a few pictures with his cellphone.

The start of Porta-Bote Adventure
Rowing Porta-Bote down Bashakill
Standing in the porta boat
I am standing in the porta boat during maiden voyage

Alex, my brother, was yelling at me to get back as he wanted to catch his first fish of the year and I had to paddle quickly before he got angry.

It always seems like we take too many things, but eventually got everything loaded up and with Alex at the bow and Roman at the stern I rowed away and into the narrow waterway into the ‘navigation channel’.

I should say that we fished Bashakill many times before, but never on the boat.  There are few access points which are fish-able, otherwise most of the lake is covered in heavy vegetation which leaves about 40′ wide almost clear channel snaking around  2,409 acres (according to DEC).

I rowed slowly enjoying the views and letting my brother throw his spinners and poppers.  It was not long before he landed his first Pickerel.  It was a nice fish well over the size limit and it made him happy, I was happy that the first trip was turning out good and I kept moving us forward to more fishing holes.

Alex caught 2 more pickerels and the bight started dying out.  I setup a float for Roman gave him some worms and found a nice shaded spot to drop anchor.  Fish did not seem to be into worms much except for sunnies.  I was enjoying the boat and the nature.  There were thousands of dragonflies of different species buzzing around.  They were bumping into me, landing on my pole and float, sometimes on my head or shoulder.  I think it was the mating season for them.  

I managed to catch one dragonfly and it went on the hook instead of the worm.  My theory is simple, there are no supermarkets in the water, so fish must eat what is available and this day dragonflies were on the menu.  I was correct, as soon as my line hit the water I had a large yellow perch tasting the offering.  Through out the day whatever dragonfly was not careful enough ended up on our hooks and produced a fish.

There were many other people on canoes of all kinds and small aluminum boats.  Both under electric and muscle power.  Some were fishing but many were just out for a joy ride.  We could hear a large group of people approaching on kayaks as they were talking loudly to each other, it did not seem to bother the eagle, he must have been very much used to people by then.  They waved hello asked how was fishing and if it was ‘that collapsible boat’ without waiting for any answer as they passed us.  We could still hear them for a while after they made the turn.

Another couple riding each in their own kayak was passing by when the guy decided to stretch his feet and got up…  I did sport kayaking back when I was in middle school and I would have to be very brave to attempt standing up in one with stability floats attached like we used for novice paddlers.   Sure enough half way through getting up he was swimming around.  The thing he said I remember the best was “#$(*& My NEW PHONE”.  His girlfriend was more experienced kayaker and it appears that she got up before so he tried to follow suite with wet consequences.

I could see that he had his PFD on so I was not very concerned with water temperature over 70 F.  I asked my passengers if they wanted to go and save the poor guy, they did not seem to be very enthusiastic.  I screamed if they needed help and the girl assured me that they can manage as the guy was seemingly upset about drowning his new phone.  My phone was safe in the dry bag along with my keys and wallet… and I have the unsinkable boat…

The girl towed her boyfriend and his kayak to the shallows where he tried unsuccessfully to mount.  I told them that they had to go around the vegetation through a short waterway (which they could not see) to the shore.  Again I asked if they needed help which was again declined by the girl.  They thanked us and went in the direction I gave.  We later saw them at the boat launch as we were leaving.

We fished all day with a few anchor stops for lunch and relaxation.  We saw many beautiful fish some of which ended up in a fish soup later on.  We saw the eagle and it was magnificent.  But it was time to return and we had to paddle back.

Half way I decided to let Alex row and we did the ‘switch seats dance’, the boat is very stable but we were nevertheless careful not to scare Roman.  Alex did splendid job at rowing the boat, I do not think either of us done this in more than 20 years.  We had to remember how to give directions to steer the boat correctly, it was lots of fun and I think both me and my brother felt much younger as we remember our times as kids vacationing by the river Zbruch where we had large wooden row boats.

At this time with my hands free from fishing and rowing I had the chance to take a short video

Back through the narrow channel and out of water.  We tried to lift the boat with our belongings out and it felt very heavy at the stern, sure we forgot to take the anchor out…  Once next to the car it took us all about 5 minutes to break the Porta-bote down.  I tied it to the roof rack fighting back Alex’s insistence to help, tied the duffel bag with seats and oars and home we went.

We talked about future trips and what could have been done different.  We all agreed that we need to buy and keep on the boat a butterfly net like the kids use, which would as we though give us endless supply of best bait…  Before jumping on the highway 17 we decided to take a detour and get something to eat.

I suggested my old favorite restaurant Danny’s which is at the first traffic light across from Stewart’s Shop.  Everyone agreed and we all had good food and cold draft beer.
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After a little brake we headed back.  Everyone was happy tired going home from the first great trip to Upstate New York with Porta-bote.

How to get the Porta-Bote on the roof rack?! 12′ model


I though once I have the roof rack it would be a no-brainer…  Matter a fact when I bought the boat I did not even consider what it actually takes to transport it on top of my car.

Well, maybe I tend to take things sometimes too seriously and over-think the obvious but loosing my new boat to a semi or even worst, injuring someone would be a terrible experience I want to avoid.  This post is more of a summary as I have it nailed down which I want to share with all who is in the same predicament as I was a month ago.

I decided that I will use my Hyundai Sonata, model year 2011.  My other choice would be Honda Element, but that would come with an angry wife and not so good gas mileage. And either way, there was some equipment I’d purchased from https://tennisracquets.com/ that I’d forgotten to remove from the back compartment of the car.

Roof rack I ordered from e-trailer, it is Rhino-Rack 2500 Series which is packaged for my car with the following components:

Code Item Quantity Price/Ea. Total
DA126B Rhino-Rack 2500 Series Roof Rack with Aero Crossbars – 50″ Long – Black 1 $243.00 $243.00
DK250 Custom DK Clamps and Pads for Rhino-Rack 2500 Series Roof Rack System 1 $62.10 $62.10
P580007 Putco Element Window Visors – Tinted – 4 Piece 1 $29.99 $29.99

 

Install took under 1 hour, without major issues.  I do read manual before assembly.  All parts were quality and hold things nicely, I also happen to think that it looks nice as well.  Price is less than similar offering from Thule.  At this point I should add that I did not expect roof racks to be so expensive… was I wrong.

During the long wait for the boat I searched the net on how on earth to secure it to my new rack.  I found some posts on how to do it with mobile homes and trailers but nothing specific enough to a regular 4 door sedan…  In anticipation of the boat arrival I went out and purchased:

  1.  military duffel bag from military surplus store.  I bough the largest they had I think it is 36′.  Reason for the bag is to put all the other (not so portable) porta-bote parts and be able to mount it on top of roof rack along side the porta-bote (see the image).  This was around $40
  2. Set of cheap green lashing tie-downs with cam-buckles from Walmart under $10
  3. Set of regular tie-downs, the once that have hooks.  under $20… DO NOT BUY THIS unless you have a pick-up truck and need to use something with hooks on both sides.
  4. Set of lashing Ratcheting Tie Downs from Lowe’s under $10.   These are not the best but do the job well.  You need to put something soft under them (i use folded cloth) so they do not scratch the surface of whatever is under the ratchet.   To this date I could not find similar with no scratch solution…

When boat arrived after unboxing (you-tube video for unboxing) I tried to mount it on the car for the first time.  Here is what I learned as in DOs and DO NOTs:

DO NOTs:

  • Once the boat is loaded on 4 door sedan DO NOT open the trunk all the way! unless you have transom on in front, if so DO NOT open the hood!  Reason is simple, there is a row of metal staples at the end of the boat and they will be happy to leave a mark on your paint job…  (this may not apply to smaller size pora-bote or very large sedans, but still check first to make sure your trunk lid clears the transom)
  • Do not let your tie-down straps overlap.  This will reduce rigidity and may lead to ‘Oops where is my boat’ situation.

DOs

  • Find center of gravity of your Bote and try to have that between your racks.  This will help distribute the load.
  • You do not need bow and transom tie-downs if you are using Hyundai Sonata like mine with 12′ porta-bote model (or similar roof size/rack combination).  I travel up to 80mph on highway with just 2 tie-downs on mine and it is solid
  • Go ahead and put the wooden spreader inside the porta-bote.  I put it there when it is folded just before i add 1 tie-down to keep it that way when off the car
  • use something under the ratcheting buckles to protect the boat surface as it will get scratched
Ready to go Porta-Bote Style
My car with sport roof; Porta-Bote; duffel bag with seats, oars and life jackets

Now the final part, how to tie-down the Porta-bote.  The process will take you under 5 min for both the boat and the duffel bag.  It is simple and as I tested safe.

  1. Place the Porta-Bote on top of your sport rack with the gravity center being between your cross bars
  2. Place 2 pieces of folded cloth middle of your boat over each bar
  3. Place ratcheting head on the piece of folded cloth
  4. Pass the strap over the boat and right under the cross bar, bring forward over the boat and left under the cross bar, place it in your ratchet, pull it through to remove slack and ratchet 2 or 3 times so that strap does not come out
  5. Repeat step 4 for the other tie-down
  6. At this point you have both ties in position but fairly loose so the boat can be moved.  This is the ‘check everything is OK’ time, so make sure your straps do not cross each other.  Also make sure that your straps go under the cross bar at the boat edge.  If straps go under the cross bar under the boat edge or far outside boat edge your boat could get loose while you are moving!  If straps are under the boat, move the boat around so they get spread, if they are outside just adjust them by hand.  I try to make sure that boat edge is as close to rack feet as possible, otherwise the duffel bag may not have enough room on the other side
  7. Once you have checked and are happy with the way straps and the boat are – go ahead and tighten each strap.  Do not be afraid the boat has flex room.  After you are done ratcheting down the second ratchet, go back to the first and see if you can ratchet it down some more
  8. Wrap loose ends of your straps around your bars and tie them so they do not flap as you drive.  You can also give them a few wraps and just throw inside passenger door.  Shut door will hold them just ok (remember this is only noise situation at this point)
  9. You are done with the boat so go ahead and place your duffel bag on the other side of the car
  10. If you do not have hard bottom on the duffel make sure one of the longer seats are on the bottom, otherwise things may move and you donot want that
  11. Do the same routine with tie-downs as you did with the boat.
  12. I like to pass excess straps through eye lids which my duffel bag has on both sides and then wrap around either bar and tie them down

At this point you are good to travel.  Like I said I went safely at 80 mph but considering things on my roof I try to keep it down and close to legal.  You should find your own safe speed.

When I drive with this setup closer to 60 I get over 30 MPG which if consistent with what I get without the boat or roof rack.

I also like to stop at least every couple of hours and check to make sure everything is secure.  I find slight softness once in a while but have never had a ‘loose’ situation.

Use the post function to ask questions.  Have fun!