Continuing our exploration of boats and their uses, I focus today on the numerous kinds of watercraft meant for fresh water, of which there is quite a lot in Florida. Do you want to go fishing in a lake, skim across the everglades, or paddle yourself across a river, launching a sneak attack against the reveling Hessians? Naturally, there is a boat for all occasions, and here are my recommendations for all of them:
I really enjoy fishing in all forms, and one of the best boats you can use for freshwater fishing in Florida is the humble canoe. Very portable, easy to use, and usable in numerous watery environments, canoes have always held a special place in my heart. Some of the most scenic and exciting camping trips I’ve been on have involved canoeing through boggy, alligator infested waters (don’t fall in). My favorite canoes are lightweight Kevlar blends that are easy to carry across dry portages, like models offered by Mohawk and Le Tigre.
For those of you who prefer a little more power, consider getting a small riverboat with outboard motor. While not quite as versatile as canoes, river-boats are faster and more sturdy, and often times more practical. For a larger river boat, try a Hewes Craft. They are roomy and great for fishing, and can be outfitted with a number of outboard motors. Hewes Crafts are sometimes too large for small lakes, and can rarely get through the swampy everglades. If this is your thing, then consider getting a flatter-bottomed john boat. Available from a variety of sources, these boats are perfect for little excursions, and are about as bare as canoes (though wider and therefore more stable). Of course, if you want to cruise through the everglades, then what you need an airboat capable of skimming over even the most shallow water.
These boats represent my personal choices in fresh water watercraft, and I think that you’ll find they do their jobs admirably. Owning a boat allows you to recreate in entirely new places, and whether you have a canoe or a gigantic yacht, Florida is the perfect place for them.