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Monday, May 09, 2005 

New old boat

I bought my Great Uncles boat yesterday

It is an old boat with a 1975 Johnson 25 hp outboard motor. I learned to fish in that boat. My Uncle John died years ago and it has sat in the weeds since. His Son my something cousin died recently and I bought the boat from his wife. If you saw the boat you would laugh, or you might not. It is aluminum a V-Hull sort of an all-purpose fishing boat. The wood floor had rotted out of it and the carpet was rotten, I ripped it all out. The motor looks good. I am one of those sentimental people. This boat means a lot to me.

I remember Uncle John taking me fishing when I was a child. No older than 8 and teaching me to fly fish. He was a patient man. I remember once his grandson and I went fishing with him. He got the two of us up before dark, prepared breakfast for the two of us, got us dressed and set about to ready the boat and getting a lunch ready for us. In the mean time my cousin and I set the water nozzle in such a way so that when he turned on the water he would be drenched to the skin, I was a rotten kid, this of course happened and while I would have snatched us bald, he laughed and went in to change clothes and go fishing.

I remember him taking me in this boat to fish. He kept any fish that was large enough to stretch its mouth over the barb of the hook. I remember seeing him deep fry a fish no larger than a silver dollar, and eat it whole fins bones and all. He believed to throw back a fish was wasteful. He was raised during the great depression. His attitude differs greatly from today’s anglers who are not concerned with their next meal.

He was a fun old man, he was crazy as well and you had to watch him, as he would take unnecessary risks in the pursuit of fish. He took my Dad fishing into the bayous of Louisiana and pointed the boat at a low lying branch containing a snake and told Dad to kill it with a paddle. This was in the 1950s.

In latter years he lived into the age that is unsafe to go fishing alone, but could not be stoped. He slipped away and piloted the boat into the tailraces of a hydroelectric dam. He was too close to the turbines, when they opened them, with his anchor down. He cut the rope with his filet knife and was tossed from the boat. The motor was running causing the boat to run in tight circles around him. He managed to grab the bow of the boat and thread his finger through a hole and hold on until someone came to rescue him. He was 67 years old then weighing around 265 about 6’4”. He was upset that he did not catch any fish that day.

When he died he left me his fly tying kit. I have used it to turn out a great number of flies. My 7 year old and my 5 year old both tie flies, as does my 3-year-old daughter with this same kit.

I will restore the boat to fishing shape and teach my sons and daughter to fish from it. Might take me 8 months to do it right.
After that, does anybody want to go fishing?

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