By Richard Frye

Saturday......Mar. 20th ..everybody is getting Spring Fever..and with a nice day ahead.......according to the weather report was the perfect setting for a paddling session at the local lake with Dennis our park ranger. He's a newcomer to the world of paddling and his first boat is a Perception Sundance 12.............yep a plastic boat!

Dennis in his plastic boat

Well...........bless his little pea pic'n heart........he don't know no better....I had my blue skinboat. We met at the local restaurant, had a nice breakfast and set out for the lake. This was the first time my Tracker ever had a plastic thing on top! Now being a ragtop.. in all respects, it ain't too bad with one very light boat but with two? I had to drive with extreme caution! We launched the boats without incident.

This was the first time my Tracker
ever had a plastic thing on top!

I took a few pics since this was Dennis's first time out this year.......and on this lake and he plopped in after I showed him how to get in a boat without getting wet and then freezing all day long. Like I said, it was turning out to be nice but still a little nippy! Now Dennis weighs 240 pounds. and the small plastic boat floated him with ease. The cockpit is about 54 inches long and about 19 inches wide which is nice and roomy and a little longer than the cockpit on my blue skinboat. We paddled the lake a couple of times at a brisk pace and went as far up the main feeder stream as we could. I put the plastic thing in the lead cause I got tired of looking behind me to see if he wuz still thar! He kept get'n outta my hearing range. That wuz when I realized I was talking to myself most of the time!

I got tired of looking behind me to see if he wuz still thar!

He commented that my cheapo canvas covered skinboat was faster than his sleek looking factory job. I didn't say noth'n but smiled slightly.......and when he weren't look'n I really had the shit eat'n grin on from one side to the other! We got back to the landing a couple of hours later and swapped boats. Needless to say ........he was impressed with the skinboat damn near instantly!....and after a bit of paddling he started ask'n about building one fer his son that lives in Virginia.......and then kinda hinted that he might even want one fer himself! That old possum grin came back again when he weren't look'n! I git a kick outta folks when they show amazement from a boat they ain't never been in! The part I like is when all their fears about skin-on-frame boats go away, and realize they are in a craft that has been around a lot longer than plastic! Most of ya'll know that skinboats date back over 2000 years. Since it wuz just me and him ......we didn't have nobody to take pictures so we took'em of each other and had almost 3-1/2 hours of paddl'n.

he kinda hinted that he might even want one fer himself!

Dennis was quite surprized at how tired he wuz! I told'im it was great excercize and you could really wear your ass out quick if you didn't pace yourself within your own limits. After being cooped up all winter......a brisk paddle for 3 or 4 hours will certainly make you reach fer a bottle of Tylenol the next morning! Well .......the weather channel lied, and what else is new?....... we got rained on a little.......not much so we headed in. Dennis noticed how tired he wuz when he attempted to get out of my blue skinboat.......... several times. I just said, "The more you do it the easier it gits!" Ok now.....I was in the plastic boat and even though I hate to admit it...the plastic boat was stable enough, handled good and tracked straight due to the dual tracking channels molded in...and turned as expected. The seat was comfortable and adjustable with the back being high enough to offer good back support. One thing that Dennis was proud to point out was the "sealed waterproof hatch" aft of the cockpit. I said......"I really ain't got much use fer'em!" He looked at me kinda strange.....and I laughed when he was already in his boat and tried to git something out of it! It's damn near impossible to git into those hatches without doing a flamboyant eskimo roll...and dump'n all yor shit down to Davy Jones! And not only that but it's embarassing to swim back to shore, towing your boat, just so you can git back inside and attempt to go paddling again! I learned the hardway too! You put stuff in those hatches that you ain't going to need until you park her somewhere on shore so you can git out and git in it without upsetting everything.....or have somebody else along that's willing to try to git that super tight rubber hatch off and plunder thru yo stuff without dropping any of it overboard! Even that can be a problem! Then more fun comes along when you and them try to git that tight fitting hatch cover back on! Just put yo stuff in a rubbermaid container, in front of you.......and have it secured with a cord and snap hook and you don't have to worry about things like that, or have it in a small dry bag. Deck bags are also good but can git kinda pricey. I made my own for certain excursions!

I found the plastic boat good for general paddling
and even fishing too!

I found the plastic boat good for general paddling and even fishing too! The part I didn't like about it was when we had to load it back on top of my Tracker! That bitch was heavy! and plastic boat ain't go no personality! She maxed out my 50 pound fish scale I got at Walmart for 4.96! As MLK quoted, "I have a dream!"....... I got one too! dream is to catch a fish that weighs more than my boat! Nuff said about that.....So.......I got a saying too......"If it floats then git it in the water!"......then after you've tried all kinds you can make up yo own mind as to which boat is best fer you and your do'ns. Hey......I be build'n a new one too! 20 to 30 pounds is a lot easier for an old fart to git on and off than a 50 pound tupperware tub nomatter how classy they look..........I'll stay with my old skinboats......and lightweight plywood jobbies! Keeps those muscle spasms down a bit you know! But I can't say too much bad about production boats that are cloned from a mother mold......especially when they paddle as good as this one did, even though they are a might,,, what I'll call......on the heavy side. Reminds me of an old girlfriend.......she wuz a bit heavy too! But she floated well! I wuz go'n out again today........guess what? It's snowing again, wind blowing like a banshee, and cold as a witches tit! Guess I could go up to Walmart and see if they got some new fishing lures in!