Woods & Water
Aluminum boats: Rock and roll!
Of all the boats in the Bay, the aluminum boat is one of the most ubiquitous and important. They can perform a variety of chores and do them well, as long as we don’t expect to see heavy water, for aluminum boats are not meant for that.
They are, however, at home in our waters, even when whitecaps are forming and foaming. More than any other time, they are at ease in shallow water.
Aluminum boats, obviously, are made of aluminum. One of its properties is that it can withstand knocks that would sink fiberglass boats (except maybe a Crestliner). This is where it shines.
Aluminum boats come in a variety of forms: johnboats, v bottoms and modi- fied v bottoms; each has its followers. They come in lengths from 10 feet to 18 feet, and in Canada I have seen “sleds” larger than that.
Although I have owned a variety of them, one of my last boats was the ideal boat for our waters. It was 16 feet long, modified v, deep enough not to tilt when boating a fish off either side, it had plenty of pickup and it scooted up the rocky Susquehanna.
The down side was that it had had so many owners who bashed it into rocks that my son Kenny and I called it the “three-hour boat”. That’s how long it was good for in the water, for at that point it took on enough water that it needed to be drained.
We pulled it, filled it with water, and found the spot. So we fiberglassed the spot and hit the water. Soon a new hole formed elsewhere. After three fiberglass jobs at different spots we gave it up.
Then I got a Crestliner, which would have been the ideal boat for here, except for the Susquehanna, where great rocks were born. This boat was 16 feet, deep v and great for everywhere else, including good days on the lower Bay. (There are days on the lower Bay that even 35-foot boats are not safe.)
It was perfect for the Flats, and, when I got stuck (it drew about a foot of water) I had to go out as I came in, or wait for a higher tide.
It was perfect for fishing, and plenty of fish were landed on it, including croakers, sea trout and blues, as well as everything that swims up here.
Once again I’m in the market for a 14-foot aluminum boat that will be at ease in the Susquehanna.
After a three-day run of herring, the rockfish started to appear, not in classic numbers, but a few, a least, but not enough that you could really expect to catch one or two if you tried. The 100-fish days are long gone, thanks to lots of things, from ESPN’s expose of favorite holes, to pollution and run-off, and to the huge number of boats that try to catch rock- fish.
Adam Jacono, however, tried a different approach. Adam is a paddler and operates a stand-up paddleboard. After hooking his favorite choice, bunker (menhaden) he paddled to the Flats and landed a good-looking fish, his first of the year.
Adam Jacono holds up a striper that he caught using a stand up paddle board.