Paddling Strokes – My Boat

by Michael Banks Contributing writer

I am more of what I am because of my boat. She wouldn’t be anything special to anyone but me. She’s drab – a light brown color; thirteen feet, six inches long; seventy-three pounds empty. She’s really not sleek – 23 inches wide and stable. I turned her over only once and it wasn’t her fault. I was sitting sideways in her with my legs hanging over her side. I missed a hard hookset on a redfish strike. Over we went. She is comfortable; I’ve sat in her for hours on end. An untold number of fish I have reeled up to her sides.

We have pushed through saltwater marshes on the coasts of Texas, Louisiana and Florida. We have floated the most majestic rivers of Texas – the Sabine River, Devils’ River and our favorite, the Neches. We have skimmed over most of the lakes of East Texas, most notable – Fork, Naconiche, Jacksonville and our home lake, Pine Crest.

We have not been without trials. We crossed the ship channel at Aransas Pass with waves splashing over her sides. We have been harassed by alligators. We dragged out on the bank at Purtis Creek to avoid a surprise spring electrical storm. We’ve been lost a couple of times. We’ve heat-patched some leaks in her hull from dragging over logs and hitting rocks.

She does a good job overcoming the medium of water. In paddling one must overcome the resistance of the water which also offers support. It is possible to become stronger overcoming that which supports as in life. Adding the current of a river adds challenges to our control. She is dependable. On the rack, my boat looks like she is still gliding through the water. If my boat could have a soul it would be a good one. That’s my boat.

Happy New Year!

Until we put in again …