In The Beginning, There Was a Jon Boat

My First Boat

My current Bass Boat is the third boat I’ve owned but only the second that I’ve actually used. I’m pretty new to boating. My first boat was a 14 foot Jon Boat with a little 15HP outboard motor on it.

Beginner Mistakes

Upon purchasing this boat, I decided that I wanted to get it launched the following weekend. Upon launching it, I immediately realized that putting the drain plug INTO the boat is very, very important. As I frantically hauled the boat back on to the trailer, I vowed that would never happen again. I am happy to say that, thus far, it has not. Upon launching it for the second time, I came to yet another startling revelation…be sure you know your motor is good. My wife, who is not a swimmer, was with me on the boat’s second journey when the engine failed catastrophically after having gotten us about a half mile from the ramp. Limping pathetically back using only the trolling motor, I learned lesson number three. ALWAYS make sure your batteries are fully charged before going out. We literally coasted into the ramp under only the strength of the river current. I bought a new (used) engine for it and went out a number of times without incident and with fish aboard. Then came my first time alone…

Out Alone For The First Time

That day started as perfectly as possible. Quick launch (I was still learning how to launch a boat properly) motor purring, plug in, batteries charged. I cruised down river for a while and settled on a fishing spot. Today was a bottom fishing day. I put in two lines, pulled out my Thermos and sipped coffee. About fifteen minutes later, I hooked a 7 pound catfish and boated it. Life was more than good, it was grand! I fished and cruised for about another three hours but my fish luck had apparently been spent on that catfish. I didn’t care! I was on the water and it was beautiful, peaceful and quiet. I decided to head home. I cruised easily back to the ramp, my thoughts delightful as I listened to the purr of my new to me engine. I tied the boat to the dock and hopped off to get the truck. OOPS! I’d forgotten that my truck keys were in my jacket pocket, still on the boat. I stepped back on to the boat, grabbed my jacket, tossed it on to the dock and went to step back off. Have y’all heard the phrase “Your life flashes before your eyes”? In trying to step back on to the dock, my foot got caught on one of my fishing rods. I tumbled forward, the entire world going into a kind of slow motion. As my balance was lost and I shifted my weight, the entire Jon Boat shifted as well and I was unceremoniously dumped into the water right there at the ramp. Now, the “silver lining” here is that I didn’t fall off the front of the boat as that would have resulted in landing on the concrete ramp and potentially serious injury. I fell off the rear of the boat and into about 10 feet of water. Fully clothed, cell phone on my hip, wallet in my pocket, cigarettes and lighter in my shirt pocket. I plunged into the water with zero grace and was fully submerged. As I swam towards the surface, I reached up to grab the dock and steady myself. I was dazed but, other than my pride, unharmed.I did not, however, grab the dock. As my hand broke the surface, another hand grabbed it and pulled me the rest of the way up. That hand belonged to a young man that had been bank fishing nearby and had seen me fall in. He helped me out of the water and then he and his friend helped me load my boat on to my trailer. Fishermen and boaters, as a general rule, are very caring good people. That was the last lesson that Jon Boat taught me.

Going forward with this blog, I will detail the nightmare that was my second boat and offer tips on what to look for when buying a used boat.

Also, I will offer fishing tips, boat modification ideas and much, much more!

So, stay tuned to “Fishin’ and Wishin'” as we all journey into our boating and fishing adventures!

The Offending Jon Boat

Leave a Reply