Boats

Is owning seven boats a problem? Or a solution?

I have seven boats.

I say that not to brag, but more like a confession in a 12-step program. There I said it. I have a problem.

It’s slightly embarrassing. It’s an expensive habit on which I’ve wasted far too much money and even more time, but… I literally can’t help myself.

It started innocently enough.

After years of riding and rowing friend’s rafts I scored my first beat-to-crap Aire Super Puma and instantly fell in love. I was free! I could go where I wanted, fish, row whitewater and camp for a week out of that thing with two people.

But there was a problem. That nimble little raft just wasn’t ideal for the bass lake I have access to. I needed something I could leave leave at the lake. Something easy to set up and launch. Something that wasn’t a pain to go out for an hour if I wanted. It needed to hold up to the elements. Uncovered and ignored for months on end. Obviously a cheap Jon boat was solution here. A 10-foot, all-aluminum craft seemed to be the answer. I could move it myself, put on top of the car if needed, and fish out of it all day when “required.”

A few months after acquiring said “bass boat,” Outcast sporting gear asked if I wanted to test a boat they made years ago called the Power Drifter. It was essentially an inflatable rowing canoe. Super narrow, like 11 feet long, and it was incredibly easy to bring as an extra “fun boat” on any river trip. I liked it so much I bought it, built a custom frame and in my circle of river rats we call her Mini-boat and she’s been all over the country. On photo shoots down the Rio Grande, the Smith river, and multiple tiny creeks along the front range. Just don’t let the lateral waves get ya when rowing her.

Of course what self respecting river rat and angler wouldn’t want a drift boat? So after begging my friend Andy Toohey who started Boulder Boat Works for the rotting wooden prototype in his boatyard I embarked on a multi-year restoration project, only to have it utterly obliterated in a vehicle accident the day I finished it. In turn I took my insurance money and bought my dream boat. Granted it was about 10 years earlier than I was planning, but at that point I wasn’t gonna argue. It’s still my prized possession.

And… of course the 10-foot jon boat just wasn’t gonna cut it at the bass lake when my daughters became big enough to go. So after scouring the inter-webs for weeks for a cheap aluminum v-hull, the boat gods spoke again. I was given, a Sears “Gamefisher” that was found in the back of my buddy’s work trailer that was stolen, then found. More on that crazy story later, but it came with a trailer too. The 10-foot topper is now the designated duck blind boat.

There’s the incredible Oru folding origami kayak I use occasionally for traveling and fishing hard to reach places. I mean, who doesn’t need a kayak that folds up into a box?

And lastly I knew after the full rework on the wooden drift boat I “needed” to build a boat of my own. So of course I decided to build something meant as a sailboat and turn it into a rowing dory for flat water. I found the folks at Chesapeake Light Craft turned their Northeaster Dory in a rowing and fishing machine.

Whew! I feel so much better now.

What about you? Anyone else out there have a “boat” problem? Let me know in the comment section below how bad or good it is.

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