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Perfect fishing boat is the one you’re in

What would be the perfect fishing boat?

I thought of that question while watching a TV show about a fishing tournament. These anglers were competing for some big cash prizes and their boats certainly seemed perfect for fishing tournaments, as a lot of money was riding on their success at catching fish.

Those of us who fish for fun, however, do not need a $50,000 fishing boat. Even if we did I doubt we could find sponsors to help pay for it.

Fishing competition boats are covered with more decals than a NASCAR racer so you can be sure that the competitors have help with their expenses. So if you just fish for fun maybe the first item to check off in your search for a perfect fishing boat is your budget. That can make a lot of difference in which boat is best for you.

Over my several decades of chasing fish I have often chosen my boat with some severe budgetary restrictions. Mostly any sort of boat was too expensive while raising a family, and that meant I fished from shore while dreaming of the big fish I just knew awaited me only a few yards farther out. Such are the dreams of the budgetary restricted angler.

It’s true that much of my boat selection has been dictated by my budget, but by fishing from everything from kayaks to a pontoon boat I have learned that fishing from a boat beats sitting on the shore and watching fish dimple the lake’s surface just beyond my casting ability.

Once I realized this I entered my anything that floats as long as it’s safe period, and I fished an abandoned strip mine pond many times from a beat up aluminum 10-foot John boat. Certainly not an elegant vessel, but I caught a lot of nice fish sitting in that safe, little rowboat.

Once you decide if your budget will allow you to own a boat, your next decision should be where you intend to use it. My little rowboat was really meant for calm waters like a pond, but I have seen 12-foot aluminum boats fishing offshore in Lake Erie.

I’m afraid I must question the sanity of any angler fishing Erie in a boat that common sense should tell him that it is not equal to what that big, dangerous lake can throw at you. I’ve survived a couple frightening Lake Erie storms, but I was in a 30-foot sailboat and not a rowboat.

Thankfully Morning Journal Country is blessed with several smaller lakes where a large boat is not necessary to fish safely, as long as you follow Ohio’s boating regulations.

Perhaps the prime requirement is to use a proper PFD (personal flotation device). PFDs were once bulky and I often just had mine on board to be legal, but didn’t wear it all the time. Modern PFDs are so light that I often forget I’m wearing the one I now use when ever I’m in my boat. I especially like the ones that will automatically inflate if you end up in the drink.

You can get a lot of PFD information by going online to mustangsurvival.com, but I got my information from my grandson, Trevor, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard.

On duty he wore the MIT 100 PFDs, but thought now that he’s out of the Coast Guard he says he would wear the DLX 38 for calm water fishing, and that is what I wear.

Check out what’s available and choose the best model for your safety and fishing style, but make sure you wear one while you are on any boat. In fact I might start to insist that anyone on my boat wear a PFD even if it is a little cumbersome. It could save your life.

So what is you perfect fishing boat? There are so many to choose from so it might not be an easy choice, but having the right boat will make your fishing experience even better. And you do not need an expensive Ranger Bass Boat with a big Mercury outboard.

One of my best fishing experiences was sitting in my little John boat on a small pond at twilight. The world was still and only the voices of night surrounded me. The wind was calm and bluegill broke the water surface as they fed on insects.

I left them alone and had stopped fishing and was simply at peace in a world I dearly loved. What a great reason that was for owning a fishing boat.

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