The Original Skinny Tinny – The Tinoo
  |  First Published: March 2009

I am a small boat person. I love the sea with a passion, but the sea does not love me and if it looks like blowing over 15 knots I am already thinking about which estuary, lake or river I am going to fish.

There is one problem with the push for bigger boats these days and that is access to many of the small-water options. Places like land-locked canal systems, the tops of many rivers and creeks, electric-only impoundments and more are difficult to access for those in boats that are 4m or over.

To solve this problem many anglers choose a canoe or kayak as a second boat. These are great, but they can be a little unstable for those who do not have experience with their use. And with these issues in mind, so it was that Blue Fin Boats designed the first Skinny Tinny.


The Original Skinny Tinny was designed to allow access to electric and paddle power lakes in south east Queensland, but after the prototype was tested, the team at Blue Fin discovered the uses for this little tin canoe were far greater than first thought. The prototype came in at 3m long, a neat little craft with obvious applications but the designers were restless and soon they popped out the first 3.75m Tinoo.

The Tinoo range was thus born and the prototypes were given a thorough workout on local Gold Coast waterways. By the time Mark II came around, the Tinoo range had improved markedly with a little extra beam, more serious gunwales, some bracing, extra pressings in the aluminium sheets and the development of tackle and bag storage tables. And all these developments were found on the 3.75m Tinoo we took for a run on an electric only impoundment.

First Impressions

My first impressions of the Tinoo were that this craft would access some of the freshwater reaches of my favourite jack streams. Up in those reaches the jack population is pretty much untouched as boats over about 4m cannot get over the sand bars. The 3.75m Tinoo at about 40kg is light enough to portage over these sand bars easily, yet large enough to take two anglers, a bagful of lures and some food and drinks.

As we unloaded the Tinoo I got a good feel for how well put together the little craft was. With the upgraded gunwale came extra rigidity and the checker plate foredeck and corner bracings at the aft end of the Tinoo really gave this little beast a sense of toughness. Greg Livingstone and I grabbed either end of the craft and flexed it as hard as we could and we did not notice any movement what so ever. The last thing you want in a small craft like the Tinoo is flexing when you’re on the water, so that was a positive.

On the Water

Launching the Tinoo is as simple as grabbing it off the roof and plonking it in the water. We chose to rig the Tinoo with an electric outboard as we’re all getting old and unfit, but there is certainly an option to paddle the craft around.

The 3.75 was rigged with a 40lb Minn Kota Endura electric motor and was powered by a 120Ah deep cycle battery. To distribute the weight better, we extended the electric cables so the battery could sit mid ship. This took away the weight of the battery and the skipper from the back of the craft providing better balance and more freeboard at the aft end of the Tinoo.

Into the aft section we slotted a large bag table that has been designed to fit neatly in the gunwale on either side. We also slotted in a tackle tray/workbench in front of the skipper to allow spare lures, scissors and the like to be kept within easy reach and dry. These two accessories I would consider mandatory for comfort and functionality. In a small craft like the Tinoo you will get water inside it and there is nothing worse than pulling your tackle bag out at day’s end to find it soaking wet from the bottom up. The same can be said for the tackle tray, but it’s biggest asset is keeping everything you need in easy reach.

With all the kit attached it was time to hit the water and see what this baby could do.

I found the first five minutes was a little interesting in the craft as I am well used to my 4.3m tinny. But once I got used to the feel of the craft I found the 3.75m Tinoo a really stable platform to fish from.

During the test we really gave that little craft a workout. For starters we drove it into bankside structure, swapped skippers mid-water, spun the electric around at full throttle and even stood up and fished in it. The Tinoo passed all these tests well. As the craft draws so little water the run along the drowned vegetation was more a test of the electric than the Tinoo, but the Tinoo did not baulk at the task and I even found myself over the back unclogging the prop of the electric without fearing a capsize.

Swapping skippers mid-water was interesting but a test we had to do. I found if you had good balance and stayed sensibly in the middle of the craft, there were no dramas swapping over. But this is not something I would do if you were at all prone to unbalance. It’d be much safer making your way to the nearest bank and getting out of the craft that way. Sending the Tinoo into sharp turns with the electric was fun. The boat lent into the turns and if you were not on your game you could get a bit wobbly. But once you knew this was going to happen it was just plain old fun seeing how close you could come to disaster. As for standing up and fishing, well the Tinoo had absolutely no problems with this. Fishing while standing was a great break for the legs and allowed a better overall view of the where you were casting. But sitting down and lowering your centre of gravity is the only way to go when under power.

We took the paddles out too and the Tinoo is a really easy paddle. We used single canoe paddles and I found the Tinoo easy to push through the water and quite simple to steer. If you’ve ever paddled a canoe you will take to the Tinoo like a duck to water.


The Tinoo features 1.6mm aluminium that is pressed for structural strength. The beam of both models is 850mm meaning you can fit a lot of gear in the craft and there is no loss of space due to a pointy forward and aft. They rigs weigh in at 35kg for the 3m version and only 38kg for the 3.75m version so they can be handled easily by one person, but to assist with transport Blue Fin has developed a set of aftermarket trolley wheels.

Suitable for paddling, electric power or even a small outboard, the Tinoo is packed with little features that will please. Best of all is that they are easy to fish from and as a cross over boat, they perform their task really well.

The Tinoo’s are priced around the $1000 mark and can be found at all Blue Fin dealers Australia wide. Log onto www.bluefinboats.com.au to find your nearest dealer.



Aluminium thickness:1.6mm
Power Rating:Suitable for electric motors and would be easily powered by a 2.5HP for the 3.0m and max of 5hp on the 3.75. If kept to these motors the Tinoo will not need to be registered.
Pricing:From $990 for 3.0m and $1100 for 3.75m

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