Boat Memories

By Capt. James McManus

My dad turned 94 this year. He said as you get older time speeds up and only a little over two decades behind him I feel that acceleration already. Can’t believe it’s December with lots of outdoor venues to keep a man busy, one of which involves a boat.

I think back on all the boats I have registered over the years, some really fine ones, some way less so and a couple that were downright dangerous. Raised in eastern North Carolina I was lucky enough to have a pond on my granddad’s farm to fish whenever I wanted. Remember helping dad hold the stake as he shot the outline of the pond. After filling and stocking he brought one of those little wooden sculling boats that resembled a coffin. It was great until fly fishing one day the wind pushed me across the pond, I back cast, the little coffin rolled up on a stump and over I went.

Probably fifteen or twenty boats down the line I purchased a little boat in Florida for my personal getaway boat. To guide you need a big boat, lots of horses and tons of stuff. This was going to be a simple thing; couple of rods, casting platform front and back, remote trolling motor, 25 horse Yammy—just perfect for solo trips.

I invited my other half to help break it in on a small lake in SC. As usual I backed the thing down to the water and as I released the bow hook and climbed in I very nearly tipped over before even starting the motor. Oh well, that was weird, but I loaded my better half anyway and off we went to the far end of the lake.

Ten minutes in I knew I had made a horrible mistake. Coming to my first fishing spot, even turning to grasp a rod brought the gunnels precariously close to the water’s surface. Needless to say, within a half hour we were back at the ramp having sat very still, perfectly centered, or else we would have ended up like the little coffin boat but in 65 feet of water instead of 3. All this I guess is just to say be careful when you find that perfect vessel. Make sure it’s enough boat to get you out and back.

My dad’s other saying was, “The two proudest days of a boat owner were the day he bought it and the day he sold it.” I was one happy camper on sale day with that one. Boats can bring lots of joy, just be careful, especially this time of year, and thank God for our protection. l have a really nice big boat if you want to go.

Later, Capt. James

Capt. James McManus owns 153 Charters. Give him a call for a great day on the water at (828) 421-8125