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tkettel

Fish caught under false floor.

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Got a unusual question. I just returned from a fishing trip and during the trip I had a nice 15" walleye slip out of my hands and went down into the bilge area. Before I could snag the fish it flopped it's way under the floor and I could not get it out. We felt it flopping about half way up the boat. We put some water in the bottom and tried various tactics to slide it back down, but nothing worked. Looking at the floor it appears to be riveted down and not easily removed. I have a 1998 Alumacraft Lunker 16' tiller. So any suggestions for removing this thing? Has anyone ever had the same problem and can tell me how long the stench lasted and if you were able to clean it out with something? I was thinking bleach but I believe that will corrode the aluminum.

Any thoughts appreciated!

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I had a 10" smallmouth do this exact thing. Smell lasts for a while. Cant say how long but it was never bad enough we couldnt fish. But your fish is bigger. Mine washed out after about 4 years. Only thing I thought of trying was maybe a plumbers snake. Never got around to trying it. I could have tried powerwasher from the opening in the front. Good Luck.

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I'm not completely familiar with the boat, but if it is riveted down and thats the only option, drilling out the rivets isn't that bad. If it was mine, thats what I'd do. I wouldn't want that stinky thing stuck under there.

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Have you tried tilting your boat up as verticle as possible, while on the trailer and use a garden hose and gravity combination?

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Don't know your set up but pulling the plug and letting water flow into the bilge area and then putting the boat up on plane to remove the water through the open drain might work. But I have a feeling that if it has been there awhile it has already stiffen and got itself hung up on something. A remote camera like the plumbers use might be helpful, maybe you can con a plumber into helping you in exchange for a great story..

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Send a cat in after it!

How about leaving the plug in and putting a garden hose in the bilge to fill up the bottom of the boat? Might get lucky and it'll float to where you can get your hands on it when the plug is pulled.

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I wonder what a CO would have said / done if he just happened to pull a creal check on your way off the lake? Or better yet does that walleye continue to count toward your limit as long as it is stuck in your boat?

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I would think you could rig up some sort of gaf to pull it out of there.

Yeah, some sort of stiff wire with a hook bent into it might work. Work it through the drain plug opening.

You might need to run some water first to soften the bugger up a bit.

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Thanks for the ideas guys. For the record, I have tried getting water in the bilge and bouncing on some waves and pulling wheelies, brought the boat to shore and lifted the front, I have filled the bilge several times in the driveway, changed elevations and tried bumping it free and hoping is would float aft. Nothing had worked and the stench is horrible! I took the boat to a isolated spot tonight so no one will have to smell it for awhile. Problem is a buddy is borrowing it next week, I have warned him already. I may tackle the rivets in the forward section as it is only 2x3 feet. I also might try a gaf like device, I was thinking about a rapala tied to the end of a broken rod.

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How about parking it in the sun and opening everything up to see if the fish will dry out? If it does maybe you can hook it with some wire or something and it will break up and come out more easily.

If it's opened up the flys will also get into it and start getting it decomposed more quickly.

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Well Tom, that is pretty much what is happening, so we shall see. I removed the boat from my driveway and parked it at a location that is vacated. I did not open any of the compartment doors, but it is baking in the sun and heat.

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My dad swears this is true.

His friend was having issues with his small town bank and they really torqued him off. So one day he caught a carp and took it to the bank where he put it in his safety deposit box.

He said it recked in the whole building for several months. Hope your boat doesn't.

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I must have dislexia because I thought you found away to fish through the floor of the boat. I was thinking that a little further than I would go to get the feeling of ice fishing.

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The carp revenge sounds like something I need to keep on file. As much as a walleye smells, I can only imagine a carp placed somewhere inside and hidden! That is awesome!!

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As a follow up to my original post I have some observations to pass along. After two weeks of dealing with stench and trying various methods to flush the fish aft I finally decided to drill our the front rivets and take up a section of floor about 3x3. Getting the floor out was not to hard as the rivets were soft and the heads popped off easily after being drilled. Once the floor came up I was able to see how the floor is constructed, which essentially is a long channel from the front to aft about 1 1/2 wide which has some small pieces of foam on the edges. I was able to get my head low enough to see all the way aft and I could not locate a body. What I did find was many maggots that looked very well fed. I did flush many times with the garden hose and then a high pressure with soap. I then started to get parts out, but mostly just big chunks of fin and then a fish skull. I believe that the fish had decomposed down to nothing but fins and bones but I was still left with a strong smell. So I have dumped two gallons of vinegar which I added some water with the plug in and drove around the block several times. I then rinsed, allowed to dry and dumped in two boxes of baking soda which I then added water to and again mixed up good and let sit. I am now going to rinse and drain and dump more dry baking soda and close the boat back up as my friend it taking her north tomorrow. Moral of the story, don't drop a fish in the bilge area!

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See, I tried to tell ya, drill the rivets. If it was mine, the motor wouldn't have even cooled off and 'ol stinky woulda been gone.

Use aluminum rivets when you put it back together.

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I am going to put screens on all the boats at camp, covering the bilge hole - so this doesn't happen to any of my boats.

Thanks for the lesson.

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tkettel, If you're near Bloomington I have a rivet tool and some alum rivits that you're welcome to use. Just let me know.

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