Life lessons of a boat angler

When I first started fishing for pike as a young novice angler, it was before the social media era had really taken off.

My information was limited to the obscure websites that you needed to load with your 56K modem or from reading the magazines that were way more popular than they are now. Information wasn’t as widely available as it is now in this era of abundant technology.  

Even back then, my first impression was that a boat was necessary to catch big fish. I collected all my savings and managed to buy a small little polyester boat with a 2.5HP engine. By a stroke of luck, the maximum speed turned out to be the ideal trolling speed at the time, between 3 and 4km/h. A few months later, I bought a simple sounder to get an idea of the depth of the water around my house, as I had previously always been guessing the depth.

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Way, way back in the days in my first boat!

I didn’t want to risk losing my lures, so I ran them just below the surface. This was also due to the fact that I didn’t have any idea how deep my lures would run. This was the period in my angling career that taught me the most. I noticed pike would cross several meters to strike my lure. I noticed the bigger lures I used, the bigger the average size of the fish caught would be. I also realised that better gear definitely doesn’t mean you will be a better angler.

A few years later, I bought a Quicksilver 450SF with a 25HP engine. Until that point, I would fish while moving from spot to spot. I couldn’t go any faster, so I would fish the entire day. I learned about spots that I now, based on certain ideas, would normally skip. But once I got that bigger boat with a faster engine, I noticed the number of fish I caught decreased. I got less patient and left spots much quicker than I had before. Was the better gear making me a worse angler?

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A fun sight after a long day of fishing.

With better equipment also came more maintenance, and when you use stuff intensively, it tends to break down once in a while. Flat tires from trailers, props that are damaged, engines that need maintenance, old lead-acid batteries that die every couple of years – you name it, I’ve experienced it. Usually, bad luck comes in a hot streak and can cost you several hours or even days of labour, not to mention the financial aspect. It’s in those times that you wish you could just grab a rod and a box with some lures. Leave all that fancy stuff behind you and go back to basics. Life as a boat owner isn’t as glorious as it may seem sometimes. It comes with its own set of more complicated problems. I might devote a future article to this subject, but for now, just remember the next time you see a fancy fishing boat on your spot that all that glitters is not gold.