Do you want to fly a hovercraft? Yes. Do you want to fish from a hovercraft? That depends…
If the idea sounds crazy, it might not be as outlandish as you think. In fact, inventive anglers around the globe have been using small, portable hovercraft to fly (on a few inches of air) over ice, mud and shallow water for years.
Hov Pod, a UK-based recreational hovercraft company, has recently opened a stateside office in San Francisco. And they say that for about $20,000 anglers can order a Hov Pod to get them on and off the water quickly, and into areas a boat can’t reach. What kind of areas?
If that doesn’t look like a good time, we don’t know what to tell you. But ice fishing is one thing—how does a hovercraft fare on the open water? For the answer to that, we’ve got to send you over to Australia (of course).
So what’s the verdict? Noisy and windy. Easy to launch. Strangely successful. If you squint, you can almost picture one of these unusual, flying fishing vessels running through the Florida Everglades.
Hov Pod says their craft can fit rod holders, VHF radio, GPS and fish finders, and that the high density polyethylene hull is easier to mount gear to than a fiberglass hull. “All you need is a self tapping screw,” they told us.
“You can get over fast running and shallow water to get access to areas boats cannot reach,” said Hov Pod Global Sales & Marketing Manager Mike Glanville. “The Hov Pod has a flat bottom, so it is really stable and allows you to stand up while fishing—it floats really well.”
Glanville says the only real obstacle his company’s hovercraft face for anglers is finding a place to fit a fish finder transducer. Because a transducer fitted underneath the hull would be destroyed flying up a ramp, Hov Pod has designed an arm that can be hung from the side of the vehicle while fishing and hoisted back on board before flying on to land again.
Glanville says the Hov Pods range in size from three seats to seven, and sales are strong. However, most of their vehicles are sold via word-of-mouth. “Hov Pods attract positive attention,” he said. “The product is a bit of a showoff, so we don’t need suits and showrooms to sell them—customers just refer others and get a little commission in return.”
From an industry perspective, it’s hard to imagine hovercraft replacing the tried-and-true fishing boat. But suddenly, it’s not so hard to imagine a company like Hov Pod carving out a niche in the same way airboats have. After all, what angler doesn’t want to fly to the fishing hole?