How I Built and Tricked-Out My “Minnie Me” Hydroplane Fishing Boat by Capt’n Tom Ruley

Introducing… My Brand New Hydroplane Fishing Boat Design… “Minnie Me”

A Great Little Saltwater Flats Fishing Boat, A Great Little Pond Jumper, A Great Little Bassboat… And A Great Little All Around Hydroplane Fishing Boat:

hydroplane fishing boatENLARGE THIS PICTURE (2600 pixel width)

***8-20-2018 – OOPS!!!… duh stupid me… Please disregard everything you read here on my website about reproductions of my “Minnie Me” being for sale. I have just read that… according to the United States Coast Guard it is illegal for me to advertise and/or put a boat to market without first passing certain USCG and other requirements. I will be rewording everything here over the next few days. Much of this wording will be disappearing. My “Minnie Me' is at this point… “Withdrawn from being offered for sale”… Tom Ruley

GREAT NEWS!!!… I have just found a very competent local company to manufacture my “Minnie Me” in volume. Below is one of their productions:

Paddleboat rental operations at Baltimore City’s Inner Harbor. Note the cute Dragon Paddleboat center. The same company who designed and manufactured this Dragon Paddleboat is producing my “Minnie Me”.

Capt’n Tom’s Boatworks is O’FISH’ially IN BUSINESS!… I am just now putting my “MINNIE ME” to market nationally. You may have been invited here to take a look… Welcome!

Attention Marina Owners: “Minnie Me” can make a nice little RENTAL BOAT for people to enjoy fishing, cruising or sightseeing the local waters around your marina. “Simple and Easy” when powered by electric trolling motor only.

You may have already read the following paragraph on my “HOME” page:

I’ve spent the last several months building a little 11′ hydroplane fishing boat with 23 rod holders. That’s two rod holders per foot ha ha. It’s great for pond, lake, river or saltwater flats fishing. The wing (Or Spoiler) that you normally see on hydroplane speedboats doubles on my boat design to hold ten rods out of the way. This way you can have various rods all rigged-up with various rigs ready to go without wasting valuable fishing time tying knots ha ha. (Any fisherman should love this) The wing also (optionally) has a poling platform for flats or skinny water fishing. Not shown on this picture are two outriggers for trolling. This hydroplane design while good for speed was conceived of mostly as a stability consideration. I just finished building this boat mid July, 2018. People have been giving me “Thumbs up” while trailering it down the road and I’m getting really cool comments while out on the water fishing. This is really a cute little very functional fishing boat. I call this design “Minnie Me”.

Before I start explaining how I built and “TRICKED-OUT” my “MINNIE ME”… let me tell you this interesting little story. I think you’ll get a couple laughs:

Back in March 2018, Springtime here in Baltimore, MD., I had fishing fever pretty bad and decided I would take an old “one-man” “Bantam BassTracker” boat out of my shed that I have had since about 1980, that I hadn’t used for a long time, and get it ready for fishing.

A Bantum Basstracker

I mounted a nice (heavy) captain’s chair on a swivel base and a electric trolling motor on the bow. A 12 volt battery and permanent battery charger under the seat. A 6hp Johnson outboard, A 6 gallon fuel tank, A custom rod rack for eight rods made out of pressure treated 2 x 6 on the transom, more rod holders, outriggers, various electronics, a kayak paddle for backup and launched my little boat. I only weigh 130 pounds. Apparently I had exceeded the weight capacity of this little plastic boat ha ha. I knew before launching this could be a problem. I only had about 3 or 4 inches above waterline and when I leaned back to start my outboard motor, water rushed in over the gunnel, (gunwale), and my little boat sunk immediately and quickly. Luckily I was only mid-chest deep in cold March Baltimore water just after ice and still in the boat ramp. I was able to wade ashore, wade back to my boat with the winch cable and with considerable effort while soaking wet in 40 degree weather I was able to crank my little boat back onto the trailer and go back home. It could have been much worse if I was in deeper water and out of winch cable range. I suppose I should have known better ha ha. Luckily I had the good sense to stay close to the shoreline!

Here is the only picture I have of my little Bantam Basstracker Boat fully loaded before sinking her ha ha:

I should have known better ha ha:


Above: Notice the 2 x 6 rod rack on the transom. Below: Here was my inspiration for the rod rack:

God’s hand working and Good Karma I think… duh?

The next day (After drying-off and warming-up ha ha) I was outside looking at my failed attempt at going fishing and the overloading of this poor little boat, scratching my head and thinking to myself, I will need something maybe a little bit wider and a little bit longer.

Just then… (No Kidding… You can’t make this stuff up!)… Within the very same minute!… A guy pulls up in his pickup truck, gets out and starts taking pictures of my little boat. He explains that he is a friend of a fishing buddy and neighbor of mine who lives up the street. My neighbor had told him about my little boat and instructed him to come by to check it out. I said to the guy… “I just sunk it yesterday ha ha”. I went on to say with a laugh… “I think I need something a little bit wider and a little bit longer”.

He then says… “I have a paddle boat sitting in my yard that I want to get rid of. You can have it. I will drop it off here tomorrow”. I reply… “Okay cool man… Yes drop it off here tomorrow… Thanks much dude!”

Sure enough he was a man of his word and the next day he dropped-off a “Pelican” paddle boat. I did not take any pictures of it because I had my cell phone on my hip when I sank my boat two days before. Cell phones do not like water you know… ha ha. And oh yes, It was a little bit wider and a little bit longer.

While watching a few videos of these paddle boats on the net I noticed that even though they are a little wider and longer, they are still prone to capsizing. The open space pedal area on both sides forward is especially vulnerable to filling with water causing it to go down by the bow.

A Paddleboat Capsizing Video

Another Paddleboat Capsizing Video

Another Paddleboat Fail Video

Anyway, so I am sitting in front of my computer and save a picture of one of these paddle boats:

In Photoshop I then create my first boat plan:

I decided to add hydroplane sponsons mainly for stability and safety, not speed.

My inspiration… Miss Budweiser – A well-known standard in hydroplane designs

I developed and implemented other plans as construction went along. Helpful boat plans were available to me on the internet. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of early production stages as I had not replaced my cell phone yet.

THE WING: On my first little boat above, I had constructed a rod rack out of 2 x 6 on the transom to hold eight rods out of the way. Coincidentally, a hydroplane wing, (spoiler), works perfect for this. Then the idea of a poling platform hit me!… Perfect!

While constructing I also decided to eliminate the centerline tunnel hull where the actual paddle mechanism is on paddle boats. My design is a flat bottomed boat, not a catamaran, (two hulls with center tunnel), like on most paddleboats and also hydroplanes. Every cubic foot at or near waterline adds 45 pounds of additional flotation. Doing this created a more shallow draft and gave me more space inside the boat along the centerline for stowage of battery or batteries, anchor, lines and such.

The next pictures I have were taken after I had already added the sponsons and was working on additional add-on flotation capacity by adding boxes behind the transom. These transom boxes help to support the weight of a person in the aft seat or up on the poling platform… and the weight of a larger outboard motor. The transom boxes, sponsons and other areas are filled with a combination of closed-cell rigid Styrofoam and 2-part A-B foam. She should be unsinkable. See picture to the right below.


On the picture to the left above, the blue topsides is actually from a fiberglass pickup truck bed cap that I used to give me the curved contour that you see. As you can also see, the construction material is mostly plywood, covered with polyester resin, fiberglass cloth, mat, woven roving, much fairing compound and gelcoat later.

Below is another picture later in construction after gelcoat base. A 12 volt bow mounted electric motor with foot pedal control mounts perfectly on the bow between the sponsons. Also shown here is my Garmin GPS Chartplotter with plenty of room for my depth/fishfinder and another accessory, (Maybe a spotlight) starboard. I am thinking about getting a underwater video camera with an adjustable forward/down looking bow bracket here:

A note for my neighbors:

During construction I had made a terrible mess along the street and in my yard. I do apologize for this and I am very sorry. It couldn’t be helped. I did the best it could. My project is complete now and my mess is all cleaned-up. Thank you for your patience.

First Launch and Sea Trails:

She Floated!… I Knew She Would!… My good buddy Mike tending to my boat just after launching and before taking her out for her maiden cruise while I am taking the pictures:

hydroplane fishing boat

A very cute little fishing boat eh?… And very functional too!

As I hope you may notice by this picture, I’m glad I added the extra flotation boxes to the transom. Look closely and you will notice her stern is riding a little high. I wanted this. This way a second person in the rear seat, a person up on the poling platform and/or a larger outboard motor should all be okay. On this picture there is only a 6hp kicker on the transom. Note the poling platform. On this picture it is brown and was not fiberglassed and painted yet. I have stood on the poling platform and all is good. Small Boat = Easy Poling!

A bow shot:

hydroplane fishing boat

Nice looking from the bow too eh?

Another view:

hydroplane fishing boat


Sea Trial/Test Drive Results:

Everything went perfect exactly as planned. With the 12 volt 65lb thrust electric motor she spins on a dime and moves along reasonably fast. I did not test the 6hp Johnson outboard. I still need to get a carburetor rebuild kit. My outboard sunk with the other little boat you know. I have tested it and it runs as long as I am squirting gas into the carburetor ha ha. I imagine she will get up on plane with a 6hp but this is untested. As mentioned further above, I think she will support more outboard horsepower… 20?… 40?… More?… You will notice on some of my pictures that I have already installed stabilizers, (Trim Tabs) on the transom in anticipation of adding a larger outboard. Also please note that my outboard is controlled at the helm and not the rear seat although it can be run from the rear seat if needed. There is extra room port-aft, for a starter battery for a larger outboard. If weight distribution is a problem a starter battery could go center or center forward.

In addition to being a great little saltwater flats fishing boat… she makes a great little Bassboat! The color scheme can be changed for the Bassboat version. I have created a 11 foot Bass Skin graphic that can be applied to the hull just like those “WRAPS” you have been seeing mostly on trucks these days. These wraps are computer generated and easy enough to apply. Here my Bass Skin graphic:

11′ Bass Skin Graphic

size-full wp-image-38198″ />A nice truck wrap that I found on the net.


The image above is not real. It is a quick Photoshop creation using the “Replace color” command. This is reasonably close to what a bass green all over color scheme could look like.


Above, here I am playing with Photoshop again. This image is not real either but it does come reasonably close to giving you an idea how a bass skin wrap could look.

More pictures and details: (Click Image To Enlarge any of these)

hydroplane fishing boat

For a small 11′ boat there is plenty of storage/stowage beneath the deck via various hatches. There are actually nine stowage boxes. Practically all space below deck is used for stowage.

hydroplane fishing boat

Beneath the forward two hatches both port and starboard are two big fish or stowage boxes that used to be the paddling areas. These are big boxes! Ice can be poured before fishing to and still have plenty of room to keep a catch fresh. Aerators can be added for bait or catch live boxes. On my boat I have cut a hole in the most forward port hatch for a 5 gallon aerated bait bucket. I can still drop smaller fish into the box through the deck plate on the other hatch or open it to drop in larger fish.

hydroplane fishing boat

Here on the starboard side the big box is underneath the electric motor foot pedal control on the forward hatch. The other (rear) hatch also has a deck plate and works the same as on the port side.

Another interesting feature of these two large boxes is that I’ve designed the hatches so that the rear hatch of each box flips backwards flat to the deck. When in this position a person can actually sit on the deck on either side of the captain’s chair with their feet in the box similar to where people would sit when this was in a paddle/peddle boat configuration. For me this is great because you can still control the helm sitting here and it makes it great for one-man crabbing. When crabbing, being close to the water helps when working a troutline or snagging-up crab trap floats. There is actually room for four people to ride in this little boat as long as they are not size XXL ha ha but I would not recommend it. Maybe two kids in the side boxes with PFD’s would be okay.

hydroplane fishing boat

There are also two middle hatches and stowage areas port and starboard of the front seat. On my boat I use one for stowing docking lines and the other, a small mushroom drop anchor for holding over tight fishing spots. In the photo above you can see my mushroom anchor. It’s upside-down on the hatch to the right of the rod holders. The anchor line is in the stowage area below for easy out-of-the-way dropping and retrieving with a cleat for tying-off and not having anchor line cluttering the deck.

Speaking of upside-down, you may have noticed I’ve installed many of my rod holders upside-down. This works for me and saves a little leaning over or reaching-out to grab a rod.

hydroplane fishing boat

Nice steering wheel eh? The production model has a chrome wheel.

hydroplane fishing boat

Atop the helm sits a compass and outboard motor shifter and speed controls. The entire helm sits on top of a hatch and tilts forward to reveal a large center stowage area where I store my electric trolling motor battery, a permanent battery charger for simple plug-in charging, a danforth anchor and line for anchoring off the bow in rougher seas where the mushroom anchor is not enough. My anchor line also doubles as a tow line in case of emergency towing needs. Teleflex steering and outboard motor control cables run underneath the deck.

My electronics were not mounted when I took these pictures. If you look closely here you will see brackets for my Garmin Chartplotter, GPS receiver and depth/fish finder. My marine radio is mounted under the Captain’s seat.

There are 5 rod holders on the helm itself plus one at my feet both port and starboard. From the captain’s seat all are within grabbing range and pointing everywhere ha ha. There are two more rod holders on each side further aft and (not pictured) are two outrigger bases both port and starboard. Trolling four lines (Or more) is easily accomplished especially when using the outriggers. Counting the 10 rod holders on the wing/spoiler, there are 23 rod holders on this 11 foot boat. That should be enough to make any fisherman happy ha ha.

hydroplane fishing boat

On the photo above, you will see there is also stowage under the front seat. On my boat I have a am/fm radio/cd player here, (not mounted yet in this photo), and room for my tackle bag and various onboard tools. On the photo above also please note also that behind the front seat I have a 5′ stowage area that runs the entire width of my boat. I use it to store a collapsible kayak paddle, a boat rod, a manual water pump, (I haven’t installed a bilge pump with float switch yet), and two extended rod holders. This 5′ box can also double as a catch box for longer fish like barracuda, kingfish, dolphin, northern pike and muskies for the freshwater fishermen, etc. Note on this photo and others that I have my poling pole mounted on the port side.

Hint, Poling Pole: If you plan on poling your “Minnie Me”, because she is only 11′ long, a standard “Poling Pole” may be a bit too much and difficult to mount because they are too long. Here is a good solution for you; Go to Home Depot and purchase a 8-16′ Collapsible Ribbed Aluminum Pole for only $29.95 – GET YOURS HERE

hydroplane fishing boat

For a little boat there is a second aft seat. It is on a pedestal and not a box. Speaking of seats, under each seat on my boat I have a slider rack so each seat can slide forward or aft and each also has a swivel base. While I haven’t had a second person on the boat yet, I do not expect a problem. Note also that there are three stowage areas aft. One under the rear seat, one port and one starboard. I have a 6 gallon fuel tank starboard. Note the fuel pump bulb above the hatch cover. The fuel line runs through the hatch. As mentioned earlier, an outboard motor starter battery could go back here along with anything else. I intend to install a blower back here with a couple vents on the rear hatches. The photo above also shows my 10 rod holder rack, a ladder and grab-bar starboard for getting up and down from the poling platform. The deck is a little dirty. Sorry about that. Oh by the way. The deck is designed for water to drain quickly off the transom. I expect that water may be coming over the bow from rough seas or boat wake but most water should drain aft without filling the stowage boxes and bilge. I have given thought to installing custom plexiglass windshields/watershields directly on the bow to deflect any water coming over the bow but I have cleats, electronics and rod holders mounted here.

hydroplane fishing boat

Another aft shot. Here you can see my rod holder rack, (rod holders not screwed-in yet) and unpainted poling platform. Notice how easily water should drain off the deck at the transom.

hydroplane fishing boat

Another aft shot showing my stabilizers, (trim tabs) to compensate for a larger outboard motor when underway.

hydroplane fishing boat

Another view.

hydroplane fishing boat

Another view.

hydroplane fishing boat

Another view.

hydroplane fishing boat

Another view.

My boat design is UNIQUE!… A one-of-a-kind design!… Do a Google web or image search for “hydroplane fishing boat” and you will NOT find anything similar!

For even more information and HOW TO ORDER YOUR MINNIE ME… (Wholesale OR Retail)… CLICK HERE


Capt'n Tom Ruley

(Too soon old. Too late smart ha ha!)

Capt'n Tom Ruley

Capt'n Tom's Artworks

Capt'n Tom's Boatworks

111 N Stuart St
Baltimore, Maryland 21221 USA


CALL ME: 410-702-8233

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