For the past several years, I’ve posted here about getting my boat into the water as early as possible in the year – sometimes as early as the end of April. My goal is to have the longest season possible with my boat and to fish for as many different species as I can, recognizing that some local fish species prefer the colder water of the early season and others stick around as the water temperatures rise.
I generally start planning in February, looking through my records of what repairs might need to be done and what standard maintenance we “passed” on last year and so will certainly want to do this year. I contact my boat mechanic (who is also a friend of more than 40 years) and talk it through and I look at the calendar and pick a time frame to target. Meanwhile, I get the summer house opened up in March and April and make sure outside water is turned on and that my dock area is set and ready for the boats. If all works out, I get to launch my boat early in the season as planned. And that’s usually how this all goes.
I don’t need to explain to anyone reading this that 2020 has not been usual.
I started the process as described above in February, but when the time came to get parts for my boat in March, marinas and marine supply stores were all closed. My boat sat on stands in the driveway waiting for things to open up. When they did, parts that I needed were in short supply which added to delays.
As Memorial day approached, a full month later than I like to launch, neither of my boats were ready to go. I talked to my friend and mechanic and asked him whether we could prioritize the smaller boat my sons use, a really great 19’ Boston Whaler. We agreed that this would be a lot easier to prep and launch and so over Memorial Day weekend my family and I got to enjoy boating on the smaller boat.
Almost a full month later, just a few days ago, my boat, a 26’ EdgeWater center console sport fishing boat was finally ready. On the day before I launched, I looked up and down the lagoon where I keep my boat. Mine is usually one of the first 5 boats to be launched for the season. A few times, I was actually first. This year, I seemed to be last.
Once the boat was launched, all frustration was gone. The boat is and always has been a great pleasure for me. It’s set up the way I want in almost every regard. It handles beautifully and is comfortable at any speed. I caught several fish in these first few days and took a great friend of mine for a long ride through the waterways to the west of my house. I guess I'm off to a good (if late) start.
Kids sometimes say “last one in is a rotten egg” and it looks like my boat was last this year in my neighborhood, but it’s no rotten egg. Whether first or last, my boat Freedom is a joy and a pleasure that I will never take for granted. Maybe another common phrase is apt here: "Better late than never."
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