The Outboat – A Fishing Icon?
A Cold Alaskan Reality
Is sometimes living without water: This means trudging outside at whatever hour nature calls, and nestling into your sturdy, albeit occasionally frozen, outhouse. My outhouse is actually the first boat I ever caught a fish in, 23 years ago. A little tom cod, probably only a few ounces. The next morning I woke my dad up at 5am, and begged him to take me fishing again.
When the boat we had at the time was retired, it was cut into sections to be burned. Someone forgot to start that bonfire, and almost 14 years later it became Lowell Point’s first “OutBoat”.
As a teenager, I stacked the bow section onto a midships section, trimmed it out with some masterful handling of a sawzall, and bolted the two together. That was twelve years ago, and since it’s weathered every snow and shed every torrential rain. The lack of a door is unnerving to some, but then there’s hardly ever anybody wandering by to startle an active Outboater.
What’s interesting is, while it’s an Outboat with character, it’s also a reminder: With or without the iconic red prow in my yard, this structure represents the first time I ever sport fished in Alaska. Starting my life on boats as a professional mariner, sparking a passion for fishing and ultimately guiding. At five years old, I knew what I wanted to do, truly. What an amazing concept! While confusing love with career goals doesn’t always work out; I feel pretty good about how things came around. This year I remember my 5 years working in Antarctica as a Marine Technician aboard the US Antarctic Program research vessels, and my time in the Arctic where I watched snowy owls wing us at night and saw a dead Bowhead Whale being ridden by a polar bear in the middle of the Chukchi Sea. All of it thanks to a tiny little cod and a leadhead jig no bigger than a fingernail.
Months before I helped my family run our business, watched my deckhands who became captains run the boats they used to work on, and ultimately worked myself silly doing something that I hope facilitates that same passion in someone else.
So this is to the OutBoat – to the fiberglass and plywood keeping the snow and rain away when nature calls, to the frozen seat and the memory of a tom cod we ultimately used for halibut bait. To you, your children, your parents, and your friends. Let us take you fishing: it could mean a lot more than a delicious dinner and a colorful tale.
-Capt. Chance Miller, Miller’s Landing