The 12′ Folding Porta-Bote may be one of the best all-around
The 12′ hull folds flat, weighs only 83 pounds, can be strapped atop a car like a surfboard, fastened to the side of a van or motor home, lashed on top of a camping trailer or attached to the struts of a pontoon plane. Yet, it’s full 12 feet long (also comes in 8 & 10 & 14-foot lengths), has a 60″ beam and 24 inch depth amidships, and will handle an outboard motor. It needs only 4 inches of water to float.
On a recent houseboat-camping trip to Lake Powell it rode the highways inside a friend’s trailered houseboat. For the first day’s cruise we pulled it up on the rear deck and assembled it. The next day we lashed its bow high on the aft rail of the ‘mother ship’ and towed it behind us – stern in the water – like a dinghy.Paul Hawkins and I found the Porta-Bote a pleasure to fish. It’s comfortable for sitting in, roomy for moving around and steady enough for stand-up casting. Under full power it moved quickly up a water filled Powell canyon. Poking along, it nosed easily among the snags and rocks of fishy-looking coves. It turns quicker than any boat I ever tested – and without heeling over. It rows beautifully, with oars that clamp to the oarlocks so you can drop them to cast, that break in the middle for packing, and are foam filled to float.
Its hull (made of polypropylene) impervious to salt water is incredibly tough. I caught a nice Lake Powell largemouth by drifting the boat into a deep crack in a cliff face where an aluminium boat would have scraped noisily along the rock and a fiberglass hull would have scarred. We cast a fat plastic crankbait into the dark apex of the crack. In an open-ocean run a week later the hull showed its ability to ‘slither’ over wind-chop and boat wakes without the annoying bouncing of rigid craft.As far as I’m concerned, Porta-Bote may be one of the best all-around fishing and hunting boats made!