Tommy Giles owns an insurance company in Shreveport, but that didn’t stop him earlier this year from becoming a boat dealer — of sorts.
He can’t outfit you with the latest 24-foot bay boat, or a lightning-fast 17 bass boat, or even a 15-foot flat-bottomed boat, for that matter — but he’s definitely got you covered if you happen to be in the the market for a perfectly round boat that's 6-feet in diameter.
Yep, you read that right — a round boat.
It’s called the Ultraskiff 360, and Giles decided to become a dealer for the Tampa, Fla.-based company after he purchased one himself earlier this year.
“It’s 123 pounds, you can throw it in the back of your truck and you don’t need a trailer for it. It rolls if you want to roll it or if you want to drag it, you can drag it,” Giles said. “And if you want to put it on a utility trailer, you can.
“It’s all molded in one piece. There are no rivets or seams.”
And unlike a kayak or pirogue, Giles said your 360-degree view of the water is from the elevated height of a boat seat, which makes it ideal for fishing. His Ultraskiff is powered with a 50-pound trolling motor.
“This boat gives you the feeling of a $60,000 boat. You can comfortably stand up on it,” he said. “You can sit on a traditional boat seat, and when it’s fully loaded it’s only 4 inches in the water, so if you do any kind of marsh-fishing, it’s perfect.”
The inner hull of the boat, which is manufactured in Gainesville, Texas, is angled on a gradient, giving it a lower center of gravity. And shock absorbers in the detachable pedestal mount allow the fulcrum of the seat to shift and flex independently from the hull.
The result, Giles said, is a stable, comfortable to platform perfect for a wide variety of fishing applications.
“That’s probably the No. 1 selling point, to be honest with you,” Giles said. “You can stand on the side of it and it doesn’t flip over. I went and did all my own tests - I didn’t take it at face value with watching the videos. I said, ‘Let me see if this works,’ so I threw it out in the pond in the backyard.
“The stability is the biggest seller of it. But don’t take my word for it - jump in a boat and go.”
The boat features three large storage compartments that can be used for things like ice or a custom livewell, a designated battery storage area, four 5-inch cleats, four cup holders and six rod holders.
And just like with a full-sized boat or even a kayak, you can add options limited only by your imagination and your pocketbook.
“The customization capabilities are ridiculous,” said Giles, who is working to outfit his boat with a homemade spider rig for crappie fishing. “What I mean by that is you can keep it as basic as you want — or you can add an aerator, a depth finder, more rod holders or lots more.
“Some people want to pimp it out as much as they can get it. And then your weekend warriors just want to throw a trolling motor and a battery on it and go fishing.”
But not everybody wants to just fish from an Ultraskiff. One popular customer request so far is to create a custom duck blind for the craft, and Giles is working on it, he said.
“That’s the majority of what I’ve had requested up here in Shreveport,” he said. “Everybody has been like, ‘I’ll buy three today if you can put a custom duck blind on it.’”
And the boat definitely isn’t limited to smooth ponds or calm waters — the craft is already being mother-shipped for extreme fishing experiences in Florida — with tuna, amberjack, and other offshore species being landed from the Ultraskiff.
Check out this video of a 350-pound bull shark caught on an Ultraskiff in Florida.
The boat sells for $1,595 delivered to your front door, including the basics and the pedestal mount. (You supply the trolling motor and the seat.)