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hanson

Hanson's Otter Sled Modifications

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Alright guys, I know there are a few people out there who are anxiously waiting to see these photos. Here they are.

This was one of my small summer projects. The idea was to create something that would better organize my gear inside my Otter sled. This particular sled happens to be the Den sized icehouse from Otter. The general idea and design principles could be effectively applied to the bigger sized sleds as well as other manufacturer's fish houses.

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The basic idea was to try to keep my icefishing gear in place while pulling the Otter behind my snowmobile. I like to use the little Frabill minnow buckets because you are more durable than a regular foam bucket. Now it has a place where it won't get broken and my minnows are always right where I need them. Protecting my fish locator was also important. Now I have a little compartment with a hinged door on it to put the locator in. Underneath my seat is a tupperware type container for various items. I like to use it as a place to keep the fish I'm taking home for supper. My propane tank and tacklebox go in the back end of the sled. The tank is an 11lb which is perfect for this small sled. Notice between the first two pictures that I can either put my tacklebox (which is a soft side from Cabelas) or my buddy heater in the same location in the sled. Little Dipper ice fishing scoop fits in the back perfectly. My rods lay across the back of the sled. Right now I keep them in Ready Rig cases but a Stone Legacy Revolution will be replacing them this winter. According to the sizes on Stone Legacy's HSOforum, it'll fit perfectly in this location.

Two things that won't go in the sled are my auger and a lantern. The auger takes a ride on a luggage rack on my sled. The lantern I'm still coming up with ideas for.

Next couple photos show a little more detail of the compartment for the depthfinder and the tupperware container under the seat.

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Construction of the 'insert' is pretty simple. I just used 1/2" plywood and screwed it together with a little construction adhesive for good measure. I then carpeted most of the insert with marine carpeting I picked up at Cabelas. $4 for this nice remnant during their tent sale. I then just screwed through the sides of the sled to attach the 'insert' to the Otter Sled. The trap door is fastened with a couple small hinges and I still have to add a small handle or maybe even a latch to keep the door shut.

I spent many nights cutting & taping together cardboard templates to get the design just right. Believe me when I say it has come a long way! My early designs were horrible compaired to what the finished product is like.

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You may be wondering why the plywood sides of the 'insert' stopped short of the end of the sled. Basically it was for room. I couldn't fit my tacklebox & the propane tank next to each other if I had extended the plywood sides. Why the big tacklebox?? Its pretty much another compartment. I put lunch in there, couple cans of pop, 2 way radio, tackle, pliers, headlamp, lake maps, hand towel and a bunch of other stuff.

I'm basically putting this up here to help others with ideas. I have no plans, no measurements, no templates or anything that would really help in duplicating this 'insert'. I designed this to fit the way I fish and it may not be perfect for everybody or their gear but it works pretty darn good for me. I should be at most of the I.C.E. series events this year if anybody wants a closer look.

[This message has been edited by hanson (edited 08-22-2004).]

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Hanson,
That rocks!!! Very cool stuff! Drop me an e-mail, I have a question for you...

[email protected]

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
Matt Johnson Outdoors
[email protected]
Metro Area Ice Fishing and more...

Iceleaders
Catch-N Tackle and Bio-Bait
MarCum
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle
Fish Fever

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Looks sweet! I thought I was the only one with a Zercom Colorpoint! LOL grin.gif

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Nice job!! It's come a long ways since last March at Lake of the Woods!!

Now I'm getting the itch to customize my Otter.. grin.gif

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I have pretty much the same portable fish house and the problem I had was all my gear getting bounced around as I crossed the lake. I ended up using two snowmobile skis mounted with a 9 inch piece of square tubing on top of the leaf spring running perpendicular to each ski. Then I just took a slightly larger piece of square tubing and ran it across the back of the fish house and secured it with u bolts. I simply then take each ski with the square tubing and slide it into each side, slip and drop pin thru and the fish house rides on the skis with leaf spring suspension and the other end is attached to the snowmobile directly. I can do 40-50 mph across a rough lake and my gear in the sled rides nice and smooth and the bottom of the fish house will never wear out this way since the whole thing rides up off the snow about 6 inches. I'll try to post some pictures of it sometime. I do have an extra pair of skis with leaf springs if someone wants to try to do the same thing.

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ChuckN-

I remember that trip quite well!! One lost shovel, one broken minnow bucket, and one almost lost Strikemaster Lazer auger. This idea is a product of that trip. I'm good to go now smile.gif I just have to put some hyfax on the bottom of the sled.

One thing I've noticed about pulling tub style fish houses like the otters, fish traps, polars, etc. The smaller ones like mine, which lack the weight of the bigger ones, bounce around ALOT more!!

Hope to hook up with you again this winter Chuck!

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Thanks Hans! I'm going to do something very similar with my den. I appreciate your hard work and ideas.

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rod bender-

How'd you know my knickname????? Everybody I know calls me Hans. Maybe its obvious, I don't know.

I hope this gives a lot of people some ideas for what they can do with their portable. You're given a tub... what you do with it is up to you. I think we might be only touching the surface with ideas on customization.

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Thanks Hanson, great design! I had to change it alittle because of my seat combo fish bucket. I used a stadium seat, put a plywood base on it and added a swivel from a boat seat. Can't wait for ice so I can try it out.
I think it will work good.
Here is a web site with a couple of pictures on it.
http://www.geocities.com/ms_popeye/ottersled.html

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I have mine mounted on my 4-wheeler rack with a IPI ice auger holder. I bought the holder at cabelas.

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kans_ice,

Thats awesome! I think you pretty much nailed it down. I think the minnow bucket idea is the best part. I always buy my minnows bagged so I just set the entire bag in the bucket and typically just scoop out of the bag anyway. If I have to run somewhere else, I'll just rubber band the top of the minnows again so they don't spill or splash.

Northlander- Yep, I'm going to be carrying my auger on a luggage rack on my sled. If I had a larger Otter sled, I'd probably carry it in the sled.

I just had a 3 day thrash this weekend in the rain to get my permanent house built. Its not done yet. YIKES! Its 75% there.

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Hanson,

I like your set up.

I have a buddy the did similiar modifications to his otter a few years ago. The problem he ran into was weight. He used stuff that was a bit heavy for foot travel.

How much weight did your modifications add to the setup?

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Weight is a little bit of an issue but its not bad. Pretty much all the weight that was added is about a 1/3 sheet of 1/2" plywood. With just the sled, insert, and seat, I have no problem lifting the sled into the back of my pickup alone. If I keep my gear in the sled, I'll need extra help to lift it up.

We'll find out this winter how fun it is to pull by hand. It still shouldn't be that bad. But for the most part, I'll be running with the Otter behind my snowmobile so I'm not too concerned about the weight.

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I don't think a 1/3 sheet of plywood is too bad for weight. Usually the only time you are pulling a portable for longer distances is early ice but then there is little to no snow so it would pull fine anyway. Only problem is pulling it long distance when there is 2ft of snow on the ice, then every ounce counts!

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Anyone have any pics of mods they have done to a Fishtrap Voyager? I'm looking for ideas to hold my power auger, minnow bucket, gear compartment and still have 2 seats. Any ideas would be appreciated.

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where in plymouth do u leave in plymouth, so i can drop my house off for modification... wink.gif

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aprowl-

Just North & East of Medicine Lake close to 169.

I'd be more than happy to let you take a look at it.

As for fixing your house up, you are on your own for that one. grin.gif

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ChapstickCharlie-

Those are Otter Outdoors rod holders.

Many stores carry them or they are available from their HSOforum for approximately $10 a piece. There is no doubt in my mind the rod holders were one of the best accessories I added to the house last winter.

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