Fishing Boats I Have Known
Blog by: Lloyd Tackitt , Texas 3/20/2014
There's something about getting into a boat and pushing off that sets the heart free. I'm not sure how to describe the feeling, but that moment is filled with sweet promise and a heady feeling of escape.
I've had a few fishing boats in my life. Mostly small, mostly wooden, and mostly wonderful. The major exception was an aluminum boat that had to be trailered. It had a 35 HP outboard. It wasn't a large boat, just large enough you couldn't pick it up and throw it in the back of a truck, or drag it down to the bank. I was glad to see the end of that one, sold it within a year, but all the others I kept as long as possible.
My first boat was one I found sunk in a marsh in Maryland. It was a wooden rowboat, rather heavily built with a planked flat bottom. The bottom had been smashed in to sink the boat. After a while I finally figured out it had been stolen from a rental place. I pulled it out of the marsh and took it home (before I figured out it had been stolen) - that was a lot of work but I was 15 and had tons of energy if not much sense. I removed the broken boards and replaced them with fresh pine boards and painted them. Then I went down to the nearest paved road with a bucket and a screw driver. I collected hardened pools of asphalt that had run off the edges of the road when it was paved.
I heated that tar up over a small fire until it melted, and while waiting on that I caulked the gaps between the boards with rope. I poured the melted tar into the joints. Then I drug it back to the marsh and watched it sink as water rushed in between the new boards around all that caulking and tar. I let it set under water for a couple of days while the wood swelled, bailed it out, and then admired how dry it stayed. I rowed it across the marsh to the place where it had been stolen from and offered to buy it. They were nice people and took pity on the not-too-smart-boy, they had lots of boats and my repair job didn't look very good to them so I got a great deal that I paid out over several weeks.
I loved that boat, truly loved it. It rowed awkwardly, was slow and kind of wallowed along, wasn't well designed for turning or even for going straight and it sure wasn't pretty - but I loved that boat. I spent as much time in that boat rowing and fishing as I could, and since it was summer break that was pretty much seven days a week from daylight to dark. I knew those marshes so well that local sport-fishermen started hiring me to guide them on fishing trips. Fifty-cents an hour was big money for doing what I was going to be doing anyway.
I've had other small boats over the decades since then. Boats that I built completely from scratch - and they've all been good boats. Small wooden boats. One I built, in South Carolina, was made of plywood, I built foot pedals that operated cables that turned a trolling motor side-to-side for power and steerage. In other words I could use both hands for fishing while moving slowly around. I even put a fish finder in it. It was a great boat that I got many days of pleasure from. I've built other small wooden boats that were either rowed or paddled. Currently I own a one man plastic kayak, it's a good boat and suits my needs quite well.
But no boat will ever be better than that first one in Maryland. When we moved away I had to leave it behind, and it felt like I was losing a dear friend, hell I did lose a dear friend. That was back in the year when man first landed on the moon, that long ago. Someone else can do the math, and don't tell me the results.
That boat still floats, if only in my mind, and I still take many a fishing trip rowing through the morning mists in that marsh on the edge of Chesapeake Bay...when I fall asleep at night.
Raskal, CO 3/20/2014 9:40:05 AM
Yeah - the first boat you build is the best one. I built one in my garage from a Folbot kit when the kids were young. Great memories building it with the kids and even greater memories from the years we all grew up fishing out of it. Had a tear in my eye when I sold it ... have wished many times that I had kept it.
Attila64, TX 3/21/2014 7:28:25 PM
No boat will ever measure up to your first boat. Many years ago my father found and rebuilt an old canoe he had found abanded 49 years ago. He still has it to this day.
Ajax5240, CO 3/21/2014 10:33:18 PM
I always enjoy your stories Lloyd! Thanks for sharing them
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX 3/22/2014 9:19:24 AM
The first boat is kind of like that first crush - I remember her fondly too :-) Thanks for reading guys, Thanks Ajax!