Woods & Wa­ter

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By Ken Sim­mers

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.

Lo­cal fish­ing

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.

Con­grat­u­la­tions, Adam!

SPE­CIAL TO THE WHIG

Adam Ja­cono holds up a striper that he caught us­ing a stand up pad­dle board.

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