On some days when I have pulled on the starter rope until my arm is aching and the (S.O.B.) engine is still not wanting to start, my thoughts and fantasies go to a simpler time when such smelly things weren’t considered a regular part of the hunting boats necessary equipment. On one of those days, the seeds were planted for the simple Poleboat. This is a proper boat that can haul and hunt up to two hunters and one that can be properly rowed and or poled out to the hunting grounds. Back in the days when you didn’t have to run out 5 – 10 miles to get to the hunting area and back in the days when there weren’t established launch ramps all over the place, these types of boats abounded. In fact, what you would have seen is many flavors of these types of boats with a compact and stowable sailing rig hunting all over marshes (where birds can be found). Rowing out in the morning before first light and before the wind built for the day, and at the end of the hunt as soon as your limit was reached, stepping the mast and sailing back as quickly as possible. This is a real hunting experience and one that few of us hunters these days can and will experience.

The Poleboat is light enough in weight that you could car-top it (if the bed of your truck is filled with something else) and you can launch it without much fuss in an area that doesn’t have formal launch ramps. I often find that it is easier to unload from the truck at marsh’s edge and simply grab onto the bow and slide it over the grass and cattails until I reach deep enough water to float her. If I wear hip-waders then I can flip over the side into the cockpit, reaching down to grab the push-pole and force her the rest of the way through the cattails to deep water. Some of this hunting with only a dozen high-quality hand made decoys at most is really productive and enjoyable. Think about it, there might be a better way to hunt than with all the junk that has to go along with a motored boat. Sometimes simpler is indeed better, and in that case, the Poleboat shines. — Sam Devlin

The Devlin Poleboat is available in study and construction plans.


Poleboat Specifications

Length 13 ft. – 2 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 8.5 in.
Draft 5.5 in. Loaded
Power Oars, Pole
Displacement 98 lbs.
Max Load 360 lbs.

Artfully Designed and Crafted Boats since 1978

Shop tours on Fridays by appointment

Pin It on Pinterest