Having worked most of the Northwest sportshows for the last 27 years I’ve seen the latest and greatest firsthand.
This year my show time will be spent in the Rapid Sport’s display helping answer any questions customers might have about fishing and Ranger boats.
Having recently ordered a 21-footer with a 300 horsepower engine it takes me back to my beginning and the rigs that allowed me to spend some of the best times of my life.
My first new-rig was a 12-foot Meyers johnboat powered by a six-horse Johnson outboard that never failed and was tough as nails.
I spent most of my time fishing and learning smaller lakes and rivers, primarily because of the limitations of my craft.
The next rig wasn’t that much larger but the S-14 deep and wide Lund did open up many more opportunities including lakes like Mille Lacs, which I was able to fish on the calmer days.
My first performance boat was a 1600VII Ranger which was my first fiberglass boat and at the time was all the rage.
It was also the boat Al Lindner was running and if it was good enough for Al it was plenty good for me. I spent a lot of quality time in that rig and it proved to be a terrific multi-species boat and even used it to compete in bass tournaments held around the state.
Eventually having made the decision to jump into big time walleye tournaments I decided to go with the deeper aluminum boats and over a 20-year span ran Alumacraft, SeaNymph, Lowe, Roughneck and Crestliner. All had their good points and detractors but aluminum has evolved and made some big strides when it comes to ride and layout.
Glass on the other hand has been out front from the beginning and continues to lead the way in all categories. Simply put – glass rides drier and smoother and runs faster, not to mention it’s easier on the eyes. It rides faster because it’s molded and is perfectly straight. Anything less (like rivets and weld warping) creates drag and drag slows everything down. Another big bone of contention is dry storage and nothing thus far has measured up to the capability of glass. Truth be known – fisherman need dry storage and lots of it.
Some anglers have shied away from glass because they’re afraid of scratching up the hull when pulling the boat up to shore. To help protect the hull, glass manufacturers have incorporated rubber keel protectors that are heavy duty and molded in and make parking on a sandy or gravel bottom a lot less nerve wracking.
It’s hard to say where we go from here but right now we’ve got it awful good. All that engineering and technology means we can spend our time on the water more safely and much longer and there is no place I’d rather be.
See you on the water.
Ron Anlauf is a contributing writer to the Outdoors page.