Trying to choose my favorite boat is like trying to choose my favorite bottle of wine: the one I’m currently with is, generally speaking, my favorite at the time. Right now I’m just glad I found a way of relating this choice to something other than women, which could have gotten me into loads of trouble with my wife. Anyway, our official Blog Goddess, Lauren, has informed me that I have to make a single selection. I have to think back through the countless boats I've owned, been invited on, and tested, and come up with a winner.
I’m tempted to go with the most versatile boat I ever had, a 19 Twin Vee Bay Cat, because I could use it to fish for everything from redfish in the shallows, to yellowfin tuna 32 miles off the beach. It handled a chop better than most boats with five more feet of LOA, it was easy to tow and launch, and it was relatively inexpensive. It also had a crappy fit and finish, a T-top that cracked welds like it was made of plastic, and those silly pingpong-ball scupper drains that work about as efficiently as the United States Congress.
So maybe I should choose my present boat, a 22 Glacier Bay, which may be the smallest boat on the face of the planet with legitimate canyon capability. But truth be told, much as I love that boat, she’s pig-slow. Why I thought a guy who is too impatient to wait for the pee to stop before he flushes could live with a 21-knot cruising speed, I’ll never know.
No, I have to go with a pick that’s sure to inspire ridicule and mockery. A boat that everyone would point at and laugh if they saw it on the water. A boat that’s made of plastic, is under 10 feet long, has a maximum horsepower rating of five, and can barely hold two people (or a single average Wal-Mart shopper). Yes, my favorite boat is the Leisure Life Bass Tender I owned back in the early 90s, currently branded the Water Quest Bass Hound. It was small enough to use anywhere you could get a canoe, but stable enough to handle open lakes and small Chesapeake tributaries. Its diminutive nature meant I could shove it into the bed of my pick-up truck, yet it was so rugged that the time it fell back out of said truck — while I was doing 40-mph — it bounced along the asphalt and then came to a rest on the shoulder, free of damage. None of its systems or accessories ever malfunctioned, because there were no systems or accessories to malfunction. I spent a hell of a lot of time on it, caught a hell of a lot of fish from it, and took my wife out for our first date on it.
What about all those big, glorious, multi-million-dollar battlewagons I’ve been on through the years? Though I love those boats I also hate them in a way, mostly because I know I’ll never be able to afford one. Also, every time I glance down at the engine monitors and see that I’m burning 80 gallons an hour I have a distasteful vision of Exxon-Mobile executives doing rounds of high-fives. So yeah, I’m choosing an eight-foot plastic tub over those gold-plated sportfishing machines. That mini-boat gave me more fun and enjoyment than I could ever hope for. And isn't that what owning a boat is really all about?