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Justin Toth

building on what you have

By Justin Toth

For many years I've had no choice but to fish from the shores of lakes and ponds. Sure it was great, but I often knew the fish were located out in the deeper water or nestled back in the sunken structure below. Like most bass fishermen, my dream was to some day own a beautiful bass boat, yet at the time, I knew it was an impossibility given the little money I was earning. So here's what I did, with what I had managed to save I bought a small used, fourteen-foot aluminum boat with a Mercury 9.9 HP. It was perfect for getting me out to the depths with sunken fishing structure. I wanted to cover more area and fish in shallow water with out messing up the motor, so I invested in a small 36 lb. Minn kota trolling motor. This was great for sneaking up in the shallow territory and fishing rocky bays without sacrificing my gas motor prop.

When the winter came, I decided to add a few more things to my small boat. I installed a plywood casting platform to make it a bit easier to flip in the slop. Now I'm not always bumping my rod against the side of the boat. Some comfortable seats made staying out on the water much more relaxing than toughing it out on aluminum benches. I carpeted the majority of the inside of the boat so it would be a little softer on the feet and not so slippery when wet. I also mounted two fish finders, enabling me to locate the bottom of the lake, find varying structures and be sure that I wouldn't hit rocks. I was also lucky enough to find a tarp that fit my boat like a glove. Now, I can store my boat and tackle with out them getting wet. I mounted navigational lights which allow me to fish later in the night and make me visible to other boats (It is the law). Before I knew it I had the boat rigged to suit almost all my fishing needs.

Later that year I fished a few small competitions with my boat and won a bass tournament on a local lake. In my opinion, the win came from getting right back into the shallow cover where the fish were rummaging. The other boats couldn't get back into the tight cover because they would have bottomed out.

Sometimes the smaller less expensive boat is more beneficial and it just goes to show that it doesn't take much to get you started on the water, just a little ingenuity and a lot of desire.

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