I love old bird dog boats.
A true bird dog has the outboard motor up near the bow with a hole cut in the hull so that the prop is in the water. Her stern will have a cut-a-way transom so that a gill net can be flung out the back as you circle a school of fish ... usually mullet.
The beauty of a bird dog boat is that as she comes on to a plane, the bow of the boat lifts up and thereby raises the motor shaft so that the propeller rides up in the water column.
As long as you haul arse, you can zip across very skinny water in a bird dog boat due to that simple fact.
I've driven them and they are wet boats in any kind of chop, plus they steer funny if you are used to normal boats.
I love their uniqueness and the way they evolved to do a particular function well.
Who was that first fisherman who cut a hole in the hull of his perfectly good boat?
The bird dog name probably comes from the fact that you drive these boats from away up at the bow while scanning ahead for schools of fish. When you spot the school, ya point in their direction and yell so your mate knows to get ready to deploy the net ... hence the name "bird dog".
(See ... you are pointing at game ... do I need to draw a picture here?)
Originally, these were net boats. Nowadays, they are mainly used for the clam farming industry ...at least around Cedar Key.
The net ban of 1994 severely limited the types and size of netting that could be used to catch fish, so for awhile, a lot of bird dogs sat high and dry with nothing to do. Once the clam farming industry took off in Cedar Key, many old bird dogs found new life as clam boats.
The skiff above is a wonderfully expansive work boat, but she's no bird dog.
Above and below are shots of an exquisitely beautiful bird dog retrofitted for the clam farming role it now plays.
She has a spray shield added to her bow to keep the driver a little dryer ... nice touch.
A side view of her bow shows how up front you are when you drive this beauty. The motor is tilted up to keep her away from encrusting critters while she's moored.
Just another view of the bow area. The plastic baskets are for the transport of harvested clams.
She has a nice shade cover and work area. The mesh bags piled on the table are clam grow out bags that are used on the clam lease. You can learn more about this process by searching this blog for clam farming ... I've written about it a few times. One post in the past takes you through the whole process.