September 29, 2009

A Fisherman without a 'boat' is still a Fisherman

There was a time in my fishing life, where I thought I had to have a boat as good as a Bass Tracker or Triton, in order to be a good fishermen. After all, it works for all those other guys right?

So a few years ago I bought a used Lowe semi-V, and decided that I had to modify to make it look as close to those bass-catching machines we always see on ESPN outdoors. Believe me, it needed it.

I basically gutted it, and spent close to 10 straight days recarpeting it, redoing the electrical, new pedestal seats, new trolling motor, fish finder, and even fabricated a new casting deck. It was a labor of love, and I could envision it so clearly in my mind as I was building it that it pushed me to finish it faster.

And for someone who has zero skill with tools, Id say it came out pretty good. My friends all loved it. Its too bad I hardly even went fishing in it, and eventually sold it. What happened? Well, life happened. After two kids within a span of 2 years, the boat sat. And sat. And sat some more.

Eventually, I decided to sell it.Every day it sat in my garage was a 14 foot reminder of how much fishing IM NOT doing. I cringed each day when I looked up on it. I didn't have to go, but then again, it had to go.

The guy I sold it to was in love with it, and was ga-ga even more when he came to pick it up (I had listed it on ebay). He was smiling the whole time he was here, probably only-half listening as I tried to explain the various quirks the electrical had.

After the boat left, I thought that was the final nail in coffin, with my fishing life ready for burial inside. I sulked for a long time. How could I fish without a boat? How could I fish without a boat that had a 9.9 outboard and a 50lb thrust trolling motor? Impossible I thought. There is no way I can fish without those things, every fisherman NEEDS those things.

Actually, I found, they don't. At least I didn't.

Several months later, I figured I would try to replace the boat with a canoe. I had never owned one before, and I figured I was taking a huge step backwards in my fishing life by using one, after previously being able to fish from my kickass boat. So I started to do some scouring around on ebay, and I found this ugly black canoe located in PA. This was not your father's Old Town Canoe; this was a black plastic monster made by Coleman, and it looks it had even been repaired (poorly) in a couple of spots.

But none of those repair spots where anywhere near the hull, or any other part that came in contact with water. I was desperate to get back on the water SOON. After all, I already had the cash in my pocket, enough rope to tie down an elephant, and I wasn't driving back two hours empty handed.
My ugly ebay canoe purchase.

Eventually I lassoed the canoe to my Jeep (after it fell on me a couple times during the process) and headed home. I took the canoe off the Jeep by allowing it to fall on me clumsily, at least I cushioned the blow with my body. The one positive thing about this canoe was that it already had a sturdy aluminum trolling motor mount; well I thought, at least I'll be able to have SOME kind of motor on this thing.

Several fishing trips (and a couple minor back injuries later), I eventually realized that there are just thing about my old boat that I did not miss. I do not miss hitching and unhitching the damn thing. I do not miss the fact that my trailer lights only worked when they felt like it. I do not miss trying to launch my boat at crowded launch, especially with big burlier, surlier fishermen waiting behind me. I do not miss trying to get the boat back on the trailer when the wind is blowing 20 mph or higher. I do not miss it. At all.Hey guess what? I'm still fishing, boat or not!

The only thing I do miss is being able to stand up from time to time, but other than that, I have had a hell of a time fishing with my canoe, and in fact, I am having more fun fishing now than I ever have. And I know this has nothing to do with it, but I think as a result, I have even caught more AND bigger fish as a result! Why?

Well, I don't really know, but here is what I do know. I don't ever have to worry about fuses going out on the boat, or if I have enough gasoline, or if the outboard is going to start, or if my backup battery is going to work or not, or if the water I am in is too shallow,and a whole 'boatload' of other things I no longer have to worry about.

I even got to the point where my big ugly 16' Coleman stays on the canoe rack at my 'home' lake, and I was able to stumble across a much more manageable sized 13' Indian River at a garage sale, which is even easier to move by myself.

The only thing I really have to worry about now is if I am using the right color Rapala.

But I suppose that problem is never going to go away.