Tinnies are tough, cheap, and easy to transport. They can skip through the skinniest and shallowest of waters to reach just about every species of Queensland fish—and that’s a boat straight out of the factory!
To really get down to business, there’s tons of tinny modifications you can complete on your little aluminium vessel. Let’s take a look at some of the best tinny fit out ideas out there, to make your boat a little more comfortable, a little bit safer, and a little better at catching whoppers.
Image from YouTube
For those who like to try different lures to test what works, you might find that your lures start to become rusty when you throw them back into your tackle box without drying them. To prevent this from happening, you can use silicone to attach a piece of closed cell foam rubber to the side of your boat, where you can stickly stab your lures, spare rigs, squid jigs and flies, allowing them to dry off and be quickly grabbed when you need them.
An alternative method is adding rows of hooks to a storage box, where you can easily organise your lures and allow them to dry off. Lure storage is undoubtedly one of the most useful tinny storage ideas.
Front and rear casting decks
Casting decks mean different things to different types of anglers. To the hardcore lure fishers, a casting deck gives you 360 degrees of unobstructed casting. To the bait fishers and prawn collectors, a casting deck is the best spot to throw a net. And to every type of angler, a casting deck is a valuable addition to any tinny!
Not only do casting decks provide a lot more space to catch fish, they also provide you with underfloor storage options, for items such as cameras, tackles, and more. They’re one of the most useful boat fittings you can find.
Live bait tanks
If you’re a live bait angler, one of the best fishing boat accessories is a live bait tank. Buckets are a poor alternative, especially if you’re on the water day and night, at which point your livies will quickly die unless you change the water frequently. And when the bite is hot, changing the bait bucket is probably the last thing on your mind.
With a live bait tank, you can throw your livies in as soon as you get them, and because they have a constant flow of oxygenated water, they’ll happily swim about for as long as you need.
If you prefer to spend your fishing time flicking for a fat barra or yellowbelly, an electric motor is a must. It’s one of the more expensive tinny fit out ideas, but pays dividends for dedicated lure fishermen. In a quiet and serene freshwater creek or dam, the rumbling of a petrol outboard will scare the fish away like nothing else. With the silent glide of an electric, the fish won’t know you’re there until you’ve pulled them into your boat.
Image from Fish Finder
When we think of tinnie mods and ideas, some of us go straight to technology, and side scanners are a great example. They are the latest in depth sounding technology, providing a clear radar view horizontally as well as vertically, giving you a precise picture of where the best catches are located, regardless of whether it’s feeding. Essentially, they provide you with vision that allows you to place your lure squarely on a fish’s nose.
Underfloor fuel tanks
The underfloor fuel tank is one of the more popular tinny fit out ideas, especially for bluewater (game) fishers. By shifting your fuel tanks underfloor, you’ll be able to carry more fuel, and have a lot more space in the rest of the boat.
Underfloor fuel tanks can also improve your tinny’s ride, with the extra weight in the hull helping to stabilise the boat when it gets choppy. The same goes when you’re driving the tinny to your local fishing spot—the extra weight can help to stabilise the boat and make it bounce around a little less.
Rod holders (or rod racks)
As well as keeping hold of your rod for you, rod holders allow you to use multiple lines at the same time, giving you a better chance of catching fish. With rod holders, fishing not only becomes a little more relaxing, but also more effective. You’ll be hauling monsters into your boat in no time.
Image from Indepth Angler
If you’re a serious fisher who has been in the game for a while, you know how expensive rods can be, and how frustrating it is to damage or break them. With a little DIY, you can fashion custom-made rod storage that sits along the inside of the boat, providing you with a place to slot your rods until you’re ready to use them. Or if you want a cheap and dirty solution, a length of plastic pipe can help to protect your rods from damage.
Fishing at night is cooler, allows you to use different lures, and provides the opportunity to catch a diverse variety of fish. But stumbling around in the dark can be challenging, and the last thing you want is an ultra bright light scaring the fish away. Installing LED tinny lights inside and outside of your boat can make the trip safer, more enjoyable, and even help to lure fish1. It’s best to choose red lighting rather than blue, as they’ll keep your night vision intact.
There isn’t much space on a standard tinny, and an esky is usually one of the biggest and bulkiest items that you take on fishing trips. If your tinny has casting decks, you can use some of the spare space to install an inbuilt esky, fashioned from aluminium. You’ll probably need the help of a professional for these kinds of tinny modifications though.
Inbuilt eskies are also one of the most versatile of tinny accessories, doubling up as a live bait tank—swapping beers for yabbies.
Image from Fishing Victoria
If your back isn’t what it used to be, and you need decent lumbar support to prevent it from aching, installing a comfortable seat in your tinnie can make your fishing trip infinitely more comfortable. As with the inbuilt esky, you might need the help of a pro (unless you’re extremely handy), but the luxury that it provides is well worth the cost and effort.
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