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Brad Laabs: Get over the old and fall in love with the new...boat

Every year for the last several years at this time of the fishing season, I start boat shopping. I love the rig that I have, but it makes sense that I need to update. The last several fall seasons I have looked at, and test driven several boats. I have liked what I have looked at, but not enough to change from what I have. Instead, I have “remodeled” my boat a couple of times over the last number of years.

Sticker shock has also been a problem. When fishing out of a boat I own, and not the bank’s boat, it is hard for a cheap....oops, I mean frugal guy like myself, to pony up the money it takes to go to a newer model. Boats can be an expensive part of the fishing hobby, especially when you add all the bells and whistles we all like to have to improve our chances for success.

B.O.A.T. stands for Break Out Another Thousand. You will always be faced with repairs, maintenance, winterization, storage, updates, upgrades, and all the expenses of running the boat. I think it is all worth the time and investment for what we get back from our boats in return.

My boat is always there for me and loves me unconditionally. The boats I have owned have always been grateful for the love, time, and attention I give them. Sometimes, getting a different boat is difficult for me, because it is hard to say goodbye to the boat with which I have had such a significant relationship. I grieve their loss. We have been through so much together, and have made so many memories.

For several years (a few years back), a few of us watched as another guide friend of ours struggled with transitioning boats. We made fun of him, and teased him because he couldn’t seem to make up his mind. I was in the middle of my current boat relationship at that time and very comfortable with where we were at in our relationship. The last few years now, I became him with some of my indecision. I am glad that I was not teased the way we teased him as I struggled with making some boat decisions. I am sure they had a good time behind my back regarding this issue, and I get that!

Making these decisions can be complicated, especially if you like what you have, but can’t replace it. Do you go glass or aluminum? Wheel boat or tiller? Bigger horse power or stay on the economical side of the equation? Bunk or roller trailer? Don’t even get me started on decisions about the electronics and trolling motor options!

Well, I finally made a decision and picked up another boat. (I have been significantly encouraged by many members of my inner circle!) It is the manufacturer’s newer version of what I have now. Many things I like about it, several things I think my older boat has over my new model. One thing I know is that you can never get the perfect boat. They all have advantages and disadvantages. I had to focus on getting the best boat for my circumstances and use needs (also with cost also being a major consideration). Many times I have wished I could combine features of several boats all into one — design my own so to speak, but that just won’t ever be the case for any of us.

Make a decision and go with it. I always have the option to transition another direction. I know me, and I will develop my love relationship with my new addition. I will have a hard time saying goodbye when the time comes.

So, I am experiencing my mid-life crisis. I have traded off my old love for a younger, newer version. I still love the old girl and I hope she hooks up with someone else that will give her the love, time, and attention she deserves.

Right now I still have both. Let me know if you are looking for a great boat. I have one for sale!

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs’ Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)

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