Rafts have been used for hundreds of years to travel down waterways. Therefore, a fishing raft can be a great alternative to fishing in a boat on a lake or pond. The rafts that are available on the market today are made out of vinyl, metal tubes, and even wood. If you want to, you can easily make your own fishing raft. One advantage is that you can design it exactly the way you want it to be.
The first step in this project is to decide how big your fishing raft will be. A raft that’s eight feet by ten feet will carry two people plus their supplies comfortably. After you build the basic raft, you can personalize it for your own use.
Now you’ll need several dry tree trunks. Each trunk should measure approximately four to six inches in diameter. You’ll need several logs that measure ten feet long. After they are laid side by side, the width will be eight feet. You’ll also need two logs that measure eight feet long.
Spruce is a good floating wood. If you’re not sure of the floatability of the logs, toss them in a small pond and test them out first before you them.
The next step is to lay the longest of the logs together in the rectangular shape of the raft. Then, lay the eight foot pieces of wood across the logs widthwise. Spread the two pieces out so they are approximately a foot from the edge of the raft. These pieces will help to hold the main pieces of your fishing raft together.
The third step is to use a hatchet to cut notches at intervals that are approximately eight inches apart. These notches will be in the underside of the two shorter pieces. You’ll also need to use the hatchet to cut notches in the logs that make up the width of the raft. It’s important that the notches of the main logs and the two top logs match together.
Once the raft is put into the water, the wood logs should swell and hold the fishing raft together easily. If you’re not sure about the holding power of the wood and the notches you made, you can also use lengths of strong, water resistant rope to tie the logs together. This will be some insurance that your fishing raft won’t come apart, especially in rough waters.
The fourth step is to add floatation devices. Metal barrels that have their lids sealed on make great floaters. You can usually find old barrels at factories for a small fee or even for free, just because they want to get rid of them. I found several at a cookie factory one time. When they received them, the barrels were filled with cooking oil. Once they were empty, the cookie factory just wanted rid of them and gave them away.
You can also use heavy plastic barrels, but this type is not as durable as metal.
The final step in building the main raft is to use additional lengths of the strong, water resistant rope to tie the barrels to the underside of your fishing raft. Also, attach a long piece of rope for tying your raft up to a dock when you are on dry land.
Now you can add whatever you want in order to personalize your fishing raft. That is, you may want to build seats, storage containers, et cetera.
Finally, add a pair of oars or a paddle to your raft, and you and a buddy can be out fishing on a lake or pond this weekend!