There’s a 14’ Apache skiff with an eight horsepower Honda outboard on the transom sitting in my driveway right now, and it’s not going to get me into trouble – even though it should. When my wife and I got married we agreed to a fleet-limit of three boats. And despite the fact that this limit was already filled, I actually got permission to buy boat number four. Hint to spouses in a similar situation: blame it on the kids.

apache skiffs

The Apache Skiff: Plain. Simple. Perfect.

“You see dear,” I explained, “the kids really need a boat of their own. One we can leave in the water, so they can bike down to the community marina and take it out while I’m working. One they can use for crabbing and fishing, all summer long.”

Permission granted!!!

Now, how can I say that this is a boat I love, even though I haven’t used it yet? Even though (snicker, snicker) it’s for the kids, not me? I could talk about how happy I am that my children will be able to expand their knowledge of the ways of the water, through their own experience. I could mention how proud I am of the seafaring abilities they’ve already acquired, through countless trips with me and their grandparents. Or, I could just fess up and mention the fact that I owned one of these boats years ago, and had a heck of a lot of fun on it. Yes, I already know how plain (read: cheap) and imperfect (read: wet and pounding) this hull can be. But I also know how little maintenance this boat requires, how inexpensive it is to run, and how easy it is to handle. Besides, with that little Honda on the transom, it’ll barely plane. The ride won’t be nearly as rough since it can’t go nearly as fast as my old one did, nor will the rig be powerful enough for the kids to get into too much trouble.

As simple and unglamorous as it may be, the Apache (originally built as the Wenzel, in 14’ and 15’10” models in McHenry, Maryland) is something I would have dreamed of owning when I was a kid. It's great for trot-lining for crabs. Imagine all the perch, stripers, and catfish you could catch from one of these boats. And merely seeing it sitting on the trailer has already got my kids pining for warmer weather and summer fun. On top of that, they’ve agreed to “pay” me for the boat by supplying me with at least a dozen big, fat Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, every week once school’s out. So, what’s not to love???