Any Boat but a Fishing Boat

Just recently, I had a friend ask my boating advice about fitting out his 24-foot SeaSwirl with outriggers so he could go tuna fishing. We live reasonably close to the Great South Channel, an annual feeding ground for bluefin tuna off the Massachusetts coast. I gave him the information he needed and we talked about other things involved, from adding external fuel bladders to purchasing a fish-shaped cooler bag to store his catch in.  Then he made the mistake of asking me along.

Thunnus thynnus – the mighty bluefin tuna. The largest caught in Massachusetts waters was in 1984 and weighed 1,228 pounds

I know that the majority of boat owners and prospective boat buyers have the express purpose of going fishing in mind.  Beautiful bass boats, sportfisherman, SeaSwirls, even canoes.  Anything that floats gives you an opportunity to get closer to the fish, and allows you to catch them. I applaud your passion, even understand your obsession. My younger brother is my polar opposite–a die-hard fish fanatic who would get up at the crack of dawn to go fishing, but please don’t invite me onboard.  I’ve crossed oceans and love boating, but I wouldn’t cross the street to go fishing. Oh, I eat them, but don’t ask me to catch them. It is just not my thing.

I can appreciate the challenge of picking the right lures, landing a really big fish on light tackle;  I even admire the technology of fish finders and carbon-fiber fly-casting poles.  Putting out the “gone fishing” sign for the tranquility of a quiet spot by a fishing hole appeals if only it was sans the fishing. I’ve installed enclosures on boats to help fisherman extend the season a few months.  I’ve made a profit from selling fishing equipment and accessories. I’ve provided shore-side logistical support for fishing tournaments.  I acknowledge the camaraderie and competition the sport has.  Heck, I can even give you advice on where to find the best and hottest local spots to fish—just don’t ask me to go along.

It isn’t that I’m squeamish about baiting a hook or gutting the catch, although I admit this is not appealing. After all, I grew up in a commercial fishing village where catching fish was a way of life and a way to make a living.  Oh, I admit that flying barbed hooks whizzing by my head as anglers cast has bothered me since I fell in love with sailboats and I had to protect my boat and sails from hooks and fish guts from my unthinking little brother, but it is more than that.  I’m not even concerned about the feelings of the fish—I minored in ichthyology in college.

Put me on a rolling deck-  just don’t put me on a rolling deck with an angler chumming over the side or losing his lunch standing next to me.  I’m psychologically incapable of enjoying fishing. Don’t ask me to watch the bass tourney on TV either. I’m sure this is deep-seated from my childhood and would take a team of psychoanalysts a lifetime to reveal why.  Just don’t ask me to go. Go enjoy yourself, bring me back something to eat. I support you, but please realize not everyone loves to fish.

I’m open to your comments about why you enjoy fishing and what you’re doing to trick out your boat to land the “big one”.



  1. Michael Trangaris says:

    It strikes me as highly doubtful this writer could offer any meaningful advice about a fishing boat; especially one rigged for tuna. Given his disdain for the realities of the fishing experience I am sure he is lacking in the real understanding of how to equip a fishing boat whether is be recreational of otherwise. Essentially, this article was a waste of time and not likely to encourage the participation in boating or the sale of boats, or anything nautical. The editors need a better selection process.

    • Peter d'Anjou says:

      My advice to my buddy the recreational fisherman included what supplier had and could install the outriggers he desired and how to set up his small boat for going offshore, things I do now about. The yacht repair facility I previously worked for actually made and sold the Tuna cooler bags in their canvas loft. My tongue-in-cheek attempt at humor aside, the point in this article is that while many of us love boating, we all have our niche. I’m not pretending that fishing is mine and I’m not putting down anyone else’s, just trying to remind everyone we have different reasons for being on the water.

    • Skip says:

      I beg to differ with Michael. Having spent nearly all of my adult life as a passionate fisherman – either commercial, recreational and usually both – I’ve noticed that while many boating/fishing experts may not share my inexhautible passion for “FISH ON”, they still have much to offer and I value their opinion. Example 1, the three best marine mechanics I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting collectively make the top 10 list of people I know that get drastically sea sick. Hence, they work their magic exclusively in the shop or at the dock. Example 2, The best deck outfitter for longlining and/or jigging in Western Alaskan waters won’t set foot on a boat when the lines are parted. I could come up with more if needed, but my point is, you don’t have to love fishing to know what it takes to get to the fishing grounds effectively, safely and efficiently. Now if Peter were writing about the most effective leader or knot, lifting a grouper off the rock pile without hanging up, or finding pelagic fish like mahi-mahi… that’s a different story entirely.

      • Mike says:

        I disagree Skip. The boats today are far better in their layout , desiegn , rigging and functionality because fisherman are desiegning and building the fishing boats today. The best mechanics I know all fish! I’m with Michael, there’s no rhyme or reason to this article, It’s all about Peters personal opinion and nothing else! Which to me is a waste! I wouldn’t take my boone and crocket buck to PETA to have him mounted!