This is a “sort-of” review. What is a “sort-of” review? Well it’s when I sort-of kind-of review something that I got to experience for a short amount of time but didn’t really plan or reviewing or at least didn’t get the time to do it. Let me sidestep for a second here and mention that Inshore Power Boats no longer has the same owner as when I dealt with them, so that also puts a damper on the part of the review where I would tell you about the company. The old Inshore Power Boats (IPB) owner sold the company to Bonefish Boatworks which is a parent company of about four or five skiff companies right now, with IPB being one of them under the umbrella.
The company was sold just before the New Year in 2014, so I can’t speak for the new boats being produced. I believe the guide green skiff that you see here is the last boat to come out of the mold with the old owner. I am also not aware if the new owners (Bonefish Boatworks) have pulled any hulls out of the mold yet. With that said, lets talk about the performance of the boats themselves which will remain as a constant no matter who owns the company.
Here’s the specs of the IPB16 from the current website which was carried over and only slightly modified by the new owner:
Transom Height 18″
Max Horsepower 50hp
Max Persons 4
Fuel Capacity 13 gallons
Livewell 13 gallons (optional)
Weight 550 pounds
Not bad for a skiff, but how do we define “not bad”? I guess that depends on the price you’re getting it for, market competition compared to that price, and how it performs for your application. You can see in the specs above a livewell is listed as well as a gas tank, I believe that’s an addition by the new owner.
Some More History…
The IPB16 hull was originally designed by Tom Mitzlaff who also designed the popular Mitzi 16 line of skiffs (which was also sold around a few times). Tom has experience making hulls and puts some “street cred” behind the design of the skiff. The concept of the IPB16 was originally to essentially be another Carolina Skiff-type boat, a modular boat which could be configured in any way the user wanted to. Everything besides the hull and liner is a screw in or bond-in piece that will add to the skiff’s end functionality. So let’s say you liked flats fishing, you would drop in two front and rear decks. Let’s say you were a hunter, you would forego the decks and just put in maybe a grab bar for your mud motor and some other metal work. There [was] an infinite amount of ways you could customize the boat with center boxes and the like. Let me again mention that I don’t know the current company’s plans for the layout of the skiff. From the current website, you can still access a page which shows you a ton of layouts for the skiff.
After the hull was made by Tom (and this is where my memory gets foggy) the boats began to be made by East Cape Skiffs who at the time was in partnership with the last owner of IPB. East Cape went on to other ventures and designs in the current line-up of skiffs, so the IPB molds were sold to the last owner in 2010-ish who in turn sold them to Bonefish in late 2013. This leads us to where we are today.
I outfitted the IPB16 with a 20HP Honda 4-stroke tiller motor. The idea I had for this skiff was just a super light skinny water poling skiff. For the short time I had the skiff, I was able to rig it with trim tabs and an 8 gallon aluminum gas tank up front.
The boat itself is very wide and the 6′ (72″) beam provides lots of room and stability for the user.
On the Pole
The IPB16 poled very easily, for the width the boat has it glides across the water very nicely and drafts extremely shallow. I would put the IPB16 up there with the most shallow boats I have ever seen. Again, this is probably due to it’s width and the minimal amount of gear and accessories I had on the boat. One problem with the hull’s design is that is lacks poling strakes. In any kind of wind, you’re going to get pushed around and if you are poling a tight creek you can expect to hit the sides of it. The lack of poling strakes make its maneuvers on the pole somewhat sloppy.
The boat got on plane very quickly, even with a 20HP 4-stroke motor. When the boat was at WOT it needed very little tab to get down to a comfortable riding height in my experience. The only real issue I had with the hull was again due to the lack of strakes- the boat slides in sharp turns. I stayed dry most of the time while running the boat, but I did not take it out on any rough days while I had the skiff. For the way I had it setup, the water spray broke just aft of the centerline and caused some spray to hit me while leaning against the poling platform when sitting down with the tiller. With the way the hull was designed there is essentially no spray rails or spray management system built in. The lip on the hull where it meets the cap is also very small, providing maybe 2.5″ of straight overhang which doesn’t do much for combating spray.
In some photos of the IPB you will notice a somewhat sharp lower-nose portion that I thought was going to dig into turns when under power but this was not the case. The stern provides enough lift to keep that sharp edge out of the water so that was a nice surprise.
Things I Can’t Comment On
I thought about making some points and comments on the build quality of the IPB16, but I chose to truncate those from this “sort-of” review due to the company being sold. It wouldn’t really add anything to this article if I were to talk about how the boats USED TO be made. From this point on, the hull mold is in the hands of Bonefish Boatworks and their quality standards.
One thing I can say, is that this boat’s design and the way it performs will put you near the fish and get you to where you need to go.