Tuesday, July 10, 2007

7/10 - Big differences just 2 states away

Ya know, I can't help being totally amazed at the reactions I get when I pull up to a boat ramp in my Black Lab Alloy Plate 26 footer. And believe it or not, the #1 response is, "NOW THAT'S A REAL BOAT".
I'll admit it's an eye catcher for sure. Which is a good thing, and a bad thing. Because some people want to take up some of my valuable time when I'm in a hurry. And other's I just don't plain care to talk too. And the good part is, when people see it they don't forget it.
Although I'm amazed at some of the comments I get, it's because I think all boaters are like me. I'm not only a fisherman, and a fishing guide. But I'm also a surfer. No, not the catching that Kawabunga wave "dude" surfer, but rather a surfer of the World Wide Web. Cyber-space, the open door to the WORLD. Where knowledge can be attained as easily as clicking a mouse.
That's how I found my boat, after 3 years of surfing, reading, studying, and contemplating. I figure, everyone knows what the Internet is, and everyone uses it.......NOT!! So to the dismay of others in the boating/fishing world, I just may be smarter, and just plain more......"learned". I like to make it my business to know all or at least been exposed to as much of the life style, as I can.
Which brings me to the topic of Aluminum boats, and their popularity.
I've been a long time reader of Louisiana Sportsman magazine. And share a common fascination with a friend named Dave (another Dave) of the differences between the fishing here in N.E. Florida, and the fishing in Louisiana, saltwater fishing of course. Mainly inshore fishing.

Unfortunately, for me I've never fished there. But Dave has....a lot. His brother-in-law is a fishing guide out of Venice La. So Dave rubs in the stories of 75 Specks and 44 Reds, throw in a few drum, sheepshead, and Flounder that he'll catch with his brother-in-law per day, each time he goes to visit. Yeah, yeah, "we"- the knowledgeable, already know that they have the damn near if not the #1 Trout (aka: Specks) and Redfish fishery in the whole United States, from La. to Texas. And lucky for me, Dave gives me all of his Louisiana Sportsman Magazines after he's done reading them.

And if you've never seen a REAL fishing magazine like this one, you ought to treat yourself sometime, and get a years subscription just for shits and giggles. Big in size, and monstrous in Speck and Redfish articles.
But there's something else I've noticed for a long time. And have never mentioned before except to a few. Every 5-10 pages or so of this magazine has Boat Advertisements of course, like most "sportsman" type publications will. BUT, many of them are for ALUMINUM BOATS.


Just two states away, and it's a different world over there. Every dealer will have your average Cobia's, Hydra-sports, Skeeters, Triton bay boats, but will also offer a aluminum boat or two, usually a Sea-Ark, Tracker, G3 or Express, Jon boat style aluminum bay or bass boat, manufactured by big corporate type manufactures.

And then there's the smaller manufactures, like Scully's, Hanko's, TunaDawg, GatorTrax, Lifetyme, to just name a few that build custom welded plate hulls. (pictured here from Bay style to flats to big offshore) Painted or not these are Aluminum boats built in Dixie!

So when I hear people tell me, "yeah they make all those aluminum boats up yonder in Washington state." They are partly right, that's where mine was built, but Louisiana is a big time aluminum boat state too. And just two states away from Jacksonville, Florida. Other states where aluminum boats are very popular is Oregon, California, Idaho. And the entire countries of Canada and Australia!

I think the uniqueness is that people see a big silver boat about once in there lifetimes here in Jacksonville Florida, if they are blind to the St. Johns River Bar Pilot boats, many Mega Yachts that travel our river's, the St. Johns River water management, the Jacksonville Fire boat. All large aluminum boats too. That for some reason people don't pay attention too. (again, I'm more learned...)

So what's the difference between here and Louisiana? Probably the difference between here and Washington, or British Columbia.

Aluminum boats are for people who work their boats hard, in tough areas, and expect more than what fiberglass can ever give. With less maintenance, overall. For hard working commercial purposes, or for totally customized luxury, with fuel economy.

My first boat was a 1971 riveted, thickly built with not a single leak ALUMA-CRAFT 14 footer, that I traded in for a 19' fiberglass boat that was pretty much a piece of crap. Years later, I could have kicked myself in the ass for getting rid of that nice lil' indestructible boat.

And here I am years and years later with my customized 26' (marine grade alloy) aka: Aluminum boat. Going back to my r-o-o-t-s!

And all the while fascinated with the difference between what I see in Florida Sportsman magazine versus Louisiana Sportsman magazine.
Here, South Florida sets the tone for the entire state. I don't think anyone would argue with that.
I just wanted to throw a tid-bit of education, along with a clue to "my style" out there to my readers. Since I was off today....and it only takes me a few minutes to do 1200 words, and a few pics to go along with them. (typos and all!)
Next up Wednesday: 2 angler day...and I'll get 11 dozen shrimp to make sure we have enough this time! In case they're members of the same CULT and have a prearranged death pact, before entering my live-well. Now that's Funny!