I hope that I never become one of those people who gets a new boat and drolly comments that “It’s just a tool,” or “It’s just my office.”
There are guys out there – Steve Kennedy comes to mind – for whom it is a true statement, and not a matter of posturing, but most of the time you hear it, it’s just a smokescreen, a manner of trying to state that you’re one of the cool kids.
By contrast, I am refreshed when I hear Charlie Hartley, who could afford multiples of any boat he wanted, talking about how he babies each new one. Now Charlie is admittedly a little bit OCD about the whole thing (you have to step onto a towel when getting into his boat), but I get where he’s coming from and I admire his honesty. As a kid, he never expected to have such nice things, and as an adult he treasures them.
When I first started fishing club tournaments in the mid-90s, I couldn’t foresee a future where a boat like my 2018 Bass Cat Eyra would exist, let alone that I’d be able to own one. When I picked it up from the dealer on Saturday, after waiting for what seemed like an eternity for it to get built and delivered, I was in such a hurry to get to the lake and break it in that I didn’t take the time to step back and admire the boat and all the technology that it contains. Only when I got home and put it in the garage did I get to admire it as a work of art and science and to realize how fortunate I am to be able to own it.
When I bought my first bass boat in 1996 – a 17’10” gem with a carbureted 150 that I absolutely beat the snot out of – I was so thrilled to have it that on the days I couldn’t fish, I’d take the cover off, sit my butt on the (bench) seat, and just enjoy knowing that it was mine. This morning, that same feeling came over me. I woke up long before the alarm sounded, got dressed and went out to the garage for some seat time. The feeling is just as good now as it was 22 years ago. It’s the number one feature I expect on each new boat, and while the boats themselves change, I hope that excitement never goes away.