Interesting…I would have never even considered a round boat as anything but a joke, but the “flying saucer” concept has some merits.
So, I’m waaaay out in the middle of nowheresville on the Delta last week, right before sunset, when I come across the interesting sight above. A little boat; One guy in the bow and another in the water, attempting to drag it…against the surging flood tide.
As we got closer to the vessel, the guy in the boat said they’d had engine trouble and the chap in the water said he’d been dragging the boat for quite awhile.
Keep in mind that my graph was showing a water temp of 49-50 degrees!
Then we discovered that the two were beyond inebriated…so intoxicated that they could barely function. We pulled alongside and tried to help the guy get back in his boat, but though the water was only 3.5 feet deep, he couldn’t, and the sides on my boat where way too high.
So, I had him hang on as I slowly towed their boat to shallower water.
Between the alcohol and completely numb legs, he could barely climb aboard…
Once onboard, I told them I’d tow them and asked the guys where they had come from but they had no clue.
The sun was now setting and wet guy started shivering uncontrollably. We offered him a dry jacket but he refused, opting for another 12 ounce round of liquid “warmth” instead.
I started fearing hypothermia would set in as darkness fell and realized the situation was quickly getting worse. Particularly after they both nearly fell out of their boat into the swift current during the tow.
Thinking that they may need medical attention — and certainly a ride home, I called the Coast Guard. The boys in orange showed up and our part of the mission was complete….
These guys were so lucky we happened by when we did. It had been a very quiet day on the Delta and we hadn’t seen another boat in a couple hours. If we didn’t come along, there was nobody else coming in behind us way out there in the boonies to help.
The really crazy thing about it all was they were so hammered that they had no clue that they were in trouble. Case in point, when I offered up the jacket to the wet guy, his buddy, who was perfectly dry said; “No thanks, I’m good,” not even realizing it was intended for his shivering buddy.
With the incoming tide making the water deeper and the sun going down, wet guy surely would have died. He was just too cold, drunk and weak to hang on much longer. And who knows, the other guy would’ve either eventually fallen over the side too — or passed out and woke the next morning to find his buddy missing.
I bring this up because there are a lot of people out there that don’t respect the water enough. These guys were in a tiny, narrow-beamed 12 footer on a waterway that can turn ugly in a hurry. No safety equipment or running lights and, apparently, no common sense, since one guy was trying to drag the boat against the current — rather than use the paddles they had.
Booze and boating don’t mix and without our random crossing of paths, the water almost claimed another victim or two.
Be safe out there, people!!
I just got back from the ICAST show in Vegas (insert debauchery themed joke here), where the top names in the fishing industry gather to show off their product lines.
This is where manufactures also introduce their new products to the world. Talk about a kid in a candy store! The main thought that kept running through my head: I want that, and that, and that…and two of those…
Over the course of the next week, I’ll show you some of the coolest things I saw at the show (which is closed to the general public).
To start with, here’s my Top 5 watercraft from ICAST:
Inflatable Drift Boat
NRS recently came out with the boat I’ve been dreaming of for a long time: The inflatable drift boat! Talk about the best of both worlds! The Clearwater Drifter gives you all the room, storage, high freeboard and rowability of a hard drift boat, combined with the worry-free piece of mind that a raft affords.
Rocks and shallows pose no threat to the durable drop-stitched construction and running big water is a much safer proposition because the boat is self-bailing and unsinkable.
The hull material pumps up so tight that it feels like a hard-sided vessel and the internal frame can be customized to suit any style of fishing you want to do.
The hard transom can accommodate up to a 10HP outboard, so the Clearwater Drifter’s got you covered in several types of situations. The boat comes in two models: 17 and 14 feet.
To read more, visit www.nrsweb.com
The Ultimate, Do-Anything Skiff
I’ve long been intrigued by Hog Island Boat Works’ roto-molded, high density polyethylene drift boats which are virtually bulletproof (on YouTube, you can find owner John St.John blasting the side of one with a .12 gauge). Unsinkable, quiet and constructed with no welds, seams or joints, you can put these things through hell and back. They’re also super easy to repair and never need painting.
Well, now Hog Island has put that same technology into a 16-foot shallow water skiff that can, thanks to a plug and play interior, be anything you want to to be from a lake troller to a flats boat. Of course, my devious little mind thinks it would be the ultimate little jet sled, capable of doing thing mortal boats can’t.
The boat can handle up to a 40 HP motor and, add some oars and oar locks and you have one super sweet little “power drifter.”
Here’s a cross-section of what the roto-molded foam “ice-cream sandwich” hill material looks like…
For more info, check out: www.hogislandboatworks.com
Inflatable Fishing SUP
Unless you’ve been residing someplace other than Planet Earth over the past few years, you’re well aware of the explosion of SUP’ing — Stand-Up Paddle Boarding. Well, as things often do the sport has evolved and now folks are fishing off their SUPs. That’s where the Creek Company’s new Osprey SUP comes in. They designed the boat to be wider and more stable than a traditional SUP, so standing up and casting is no problem. The boat is also inflatable, so you can easily pack it on a plane or in the trunk of your car, making it perhaps the most versatile personal fishing device around. Lakes, bay, rivers, ocean…
The Osprey also has lots of fishing-minded features like bungee tie-downs for gear, special pads that accommodate Scotty rod holders, a place to lash down a cooler that can also act as a seat (cooler sold separately) and a removable foot brace.
Oh the places you can go with one of these babies! See more at: www.creekcompany.com
Frameless 1-Person Pontoon
Okay, so frameless pontoon boats aren’t exactly new, but I’ve never seen a more impressive, built-to-last model than Outcast Sporting Gear’s new FishCast Stealth Pro. The boat weighs a mere 35 pounds and fully inflates in just minutes. With no frame to assemble, you’re on the water in no time. Plus, it packs up into a luggage-sized bag so you can take the Stealth Pro wherever you want.
In addition, there are saddle bags to throw your gear into and integrated pads that allow you to mount Scotty rod holders and accessories.
The Stealth Pro is 8 feet long, has a generous carrying capacity of 400 pounds and is constructed of tough PVC surrounding durable vinyl bladders. It comes with a 5-year warranty.
Read more about it: http://www.outcastboats.com
The SUP-Yak Hybrid
I love it when somebody takes boat design to the next level and that’s exactly what the folks at Diablo Paddlesports has done with their new lineup of Stand-Up Paddle Kayaks! You get the stand up and fish ability that a SUP affords, combined with the nimble paddleability of a kayak.
The boats come with ‘yak-style accouterments like dry & wet storage, comfy seat and plenty of room to stow gear and mount accessories and feature a try-hull bottom design that makes them super stable and able to handle shallow water.
To lear more about these slick rigs:
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You know, with the economy still in the tank it’s a great time to find some really good deals on that next fishing boat. Take this little 185.5 footer for example. The ad I found posted on The Yacht Market says that the owner is very motivated and has decided to go with a “major price reduction.” You can swoop in and steal this baby for a song…a mere $5 Million.
Quite a deal when you consider this 1999 Sanuki features a cruising speed of 12 knots and a 900-mile range. It also can accommodate up to 300 passengers, 6 crew and 12 service staff. According to the website, “This unique yacht is ideal for dinner cruises, private parties, corporate events…” which means it can be a valuable tax write off too for the enterprising angler! Click here to read more…