Last fall, I started kicking around the idea of getting a boat. Nothing special, just enough to float myself away from treelines on the half dozen or so farm ponds that I frequent...a step up from the S.S. Pond Scum paddleboat (see exhibits A and B for the stories), if you will. I even toyed with the idea of a fishing kayak after enviously following a friend's fishing adventures on Facebook. I shared my plan with my dad, and my boat dream grew one step closer to reality when he proposed going splitsies on one; however, this wouldn't just be any old boat. We were now searching for The Boat. A 16', modified V, tiller-operated bass boat. One that could comfortably fish four people, complete with casting decks, slick compartment hatches, a live well, 30-horse Mercury motor, and trailer. "Fall is the time to buy; no one wants to winter a boat!" he proclaimed. We searched from Labor Day through Christmas, finding deals on Craigslist, the local shopper adds, and via text message from a fishing buddy in Wisconsin. Several times, we thought we had The One, but for one reason or another, it never quite worked out for us.
I'm not saying our search for our ultimate boat is over, but I need somethng small in the meantime that I can manipulate by myself, something I can throw in the back of the truck and go at a moment's notice. Something without a trailer or motor. Something cheap. When a friend showed me Jon boat to bass boat conversions on YouTube, I was sold, convinced that I would join the Tiny Boat Revolution sometime in the spring.
Apparently, I am terrible at judging timelines. On a Tuesday, I fell in love with the Tiny Boat idea. On Wednesday, the perfect boat crossed my path from Craigslist, a mere 15 miles from my house. On Friday, with the thermostat on my truck reading a flat zero degrees, I traded some of my precious bow fund money for a 12' Jon boat, frozen to the ground. We ratcheted it in the bed of my truck and I hauled it home, blasting the heater and thinking of warmer days on the horizon.
I have a lot of work ahead of me from now until spring. Designing my layout has already begun, but I have to figure out how to keep down the weight so I can lift it in and out of my truck by myself. A winch and trolling motor are certainly in my future, and I'm currently in the market for a couple of gently used pedestal seats. I'm more concerned with the solo operation than the construction, but everything will work out in the end, just you wait and see. For now, my Tiny Boat is pushing me to finish up some jobs around the house so I can begin working in earnest with a clear conscience. Suggestions are welcome, donations are appreciated, and critics will be tolerated to a point as long as you're lending a hand during construction because I'm proud as punch that I managed to buy myself a boat, a truck to pull it, and a Yeti (not 110, but it still counts) iced down before topwater season hits.