High-spirited and passionate--at once a useful guide and a record of an extended love affair with small boats--Away All Boats is a blending of sparkling waterlands and vivid memories.
Author of Striper and Fishing Came First, John N. Cole takes readers from the dangers of haul-seining for striped bass that challenge a wooden dory's limits in the surf to the excitement of searching the flats of the Florida Keys for tarpon and other game fish aboard a shall-draft, high-tech craft perfectly matched to the task. Evocative of nature's miracles and realities (and the foibles of men who go down to the sea in "ships"), the writing is dry and witty, tender and perceptive.
Alongside the hard facts and opinions about the selection, refitting, maintenance, and use of small boats is a series of wonderful stories about the author's explorations as a bayman and fisherman in the waters of eastern Long Island, Maine, and the Florida Keys. Each boat described serves to introduce a key chapter in the author's life and his taste for adventure.
John Cole's first love is the skiff, rowboat, dory, or sharpie--any relatively stable wooden boat that can be easily and efficiently rowed--but the author also takes on larger craft powered by the internal combustion engine to indicate that every boat is designed to perform a limited family of functions. The trick, as we learn in these robust pages, is to find the boat you need (not always the boat you want), and Cole offers practical advice on how to go about it. The surprise is that a good boat doesn't have to be expensive; some are even gifts from the sea. As to basic equipment, the author keeps the advice simple: a compass, charts, a tachometer, an ammeter, an understanding of local winds and tides, and, with luck, an informed "weather eye" to minimize risks in open water.