Did you know fishing boats are for cheaters?
I can remember back about five years ago when my good friend Tommy--who we all call Tucker--asked me, "When was the last time you used your fishing boat?" His question was meant to rip me for letting it collect dust one summer, as I fished in other ways, like using a float tube or simply walking a local creek. He also told me he'd snuck into my yard one night and drilled a dozen holes in it knowing that I'd never find out due to the lack of my actually putting it in the water.
It then occurred to me that those floating bastions of weekend relaxation and (responsible) beer-drinking delight are simply an unfair advantage. Whatever you use, from a pontoon boat to a Jon boat or a bass boat, that deep or shallow-water fishing machine, replete with a trolling motor, dual console and rod holders isn't how fishing was meant to be.
No longer do we have to watch from a distance while our favorite gamefish wallows in a backwater swampy area we can't get to. Now we can cross the big water with a 150-hp Mercury outboard engine and tackle storage loaded to the gills (pun intended).
In my youth on the Great Lakes, we became familiar with the deep-V-style boats that would rock back and forth through the waves, either lulling someone to sleep, or coaxing another to the side of the boat to barf. Now, we could anywhere, turn on the electronics, and lower a bait onto fish that never knew we were there.
Fishing boats are now the stars of the inimitable boat show. We used to tie flies and check our line for nicks, but now it's more about buying the best boat.
What happened to us? We used to know the closest pond, and now we only know the closest dealer.
Once we took to the water on these versatile boats, fish no longer stood a chance. Now, instead of relaxing on the shore, we had fishing teams and even an owners club. Instead of walking the stream with your buddy, you argued over who was driving the boat. Even worse, they come with livewells! Now we can just stare at our catch and maybe cull fish that used to only need a quick look and a decision before we slipped them back into the water.
When did we become such cheaters?
What we need now is a return to the days when it was more about how much beer you could carry in a backpack than it was about whether you could put it on ice in the livewell. We need to go back to a time when taking two rods and a folding chair was the limit.
We never caught fish like we do now. Once we starting using boats, we basically started cheating ourselves out of half the fun. And, I'm just as guilty as the rest of you!
They say if you're not cheating, you're not trying. If that's the case, we all deserve an A+ for effort.
What are your thoughts?