Springtime is Go Time
After months of winter hibernation, depending on where you live and how much winter water interests you, there is nothing better than getting the boat dialed up for prime season.
As the weather turns warm and chilly winds abate, boating quickly becomes one of the coolest outdoor pursuits available. Whether it’s lake, river or ocean, there’s a little nautical something for everyone. And every pursuit. And every KingFisher!
In my youth that early season boating meant fishing the old tinner with the 9.9hp from the family dock. Shortly thereafter, as I started down the road of coaching canoe and kayak, that 14-foot aluminum became my work vessel. Now springtime paddling and training in Northern Ontario in May could be inhospitable at best, but those calm water days, blowing whistles and running practices from my coach boat, are indelibly etched in my memory.
I was later fortunate for a number of years to coach paddling Springtime in South Carolina with Team Ontario and then Napa, California with Team BC for a number of years. This cheated our Great White North ethos as warmer climate boating in April wasn’t really a “Canadian” thing.
What was an annual Springtime thing was dreaming up an expedition and burning off some pent-up winter energy. This usually took the form of a canoe trip into Algonquin Park chasing early season trout or a trip to Temagami trolling for giant lakers after ice off. The start of boating season was always punctuated with some kind of big trip that required all sorts of packing and planning.
Fast forward to the day I acquired my first KingFisher 2725 at Parksville Boathouse on Vancouver Island. It was well over a decade ago and maybe the best Springtime ever. The welded aluminum boat was just starting to take off and KingFisher was at the forefront of a booming industry. The 2725 was akin to a fishing race car…nubile, quick on turn and super fishy. And needless to say…ready for adventure!
That season, which was the third in production on our Big Coast TV series, was one big trip after another. From Pedder Bay to Barkley Sound to Port Hardy, that particular June was a blur. When it came time to make my first Cape Caution crossing Northbound to the Central Coast, I was a little nervous but well prepared…I’d been gearing up for Springtime expedition boating my whole life! Luckily that trip went without a hitch and served as a precursor for 10 years running the awesome BC Inside Passage.
Now getting a KingFisher season-ready is slightly more involved than putting the old family aluminum in at the dock. The key to a fine Spring is putting that boat away scrubbed clean and fully tweaked the previous Fall. If your boat isn’t in the water year-round, you have hopefully stored it indoors or at least covered and protected from elements. Additional layers of protection like fuel stabilizer, pulling batteries, WD40 and oil everything and draining water are all key to a smooth seasonal transition.
But the real magic happens once Springtime arrives. Electronics, batteries and house power are the first check and this includes any upgrades (we all know there’s a few every season). Shortly thereafter, an engine service and fresh oil get the power all primed up. In the Kingfisher boating world, this typically means outboards. Unless you’re talking jet boat, of course, which is a whole different beast!
Then there’s the little things like switches and door locks and navigation lights and safety things like fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, personal flotation devices and everything that makes a boat Transport Canada-ready. Working your way through “your list” gets you ready for the season’s first water test and a thumbs up for Springtime adventure.
The beauty of a welded aluminum boat lay in its versatility and a modern day Kingfisher is the on-water equivalent of a sport utility vehicle. For some, extra gear is as simple as a barbecue and a dinghy. For others it may be paddle boards or kayaks. And for many of the boating masses, that means fishing gear.
That last one hits home on this May morning in Tsawwassen, BC as I ready my current 3025 Kingfisher for a season of fishing and adventure. The paddle boards are in the garage and fishing gear is everywhere. I just spent the past couple days spooling up my salmon reels, checking tackle and installing new Scotty downriggers. Because it’s Springtime and that’s simply what you do!
I’ve recently added a Garmin inReach to my stable of electronics to communicate while off the grid and serve as a redundant navigation backup. It’s a sign of the times as I prepare for this season’s first big trip and the boys at Galleon Marine in Richmond have done my haul-out service. At the time of writing, British Columbia pandemic travel restrictions still only allowed travel within one’s health region. So I’m gearing up for adventure and a 100-mile run North from Vancouver to Toba Inlet fishing for Chinook.
After a long pandemic winter there is no better remedy for the soul than a big boating trip. It is Springtime after all, and that’s go time in the boating world!
Tim Milne – Big Coast
Joe at Galleon Marine getting Tim’s 2725 Weekender in top condition