So in mid February, I showed up to see the above image. It was loaded with two gas BBQ grills, thet batteries were on the ground in front of the boat, and the valve covers were off the V-8 engine. I was the only one around, hadn't passed anyone walking on the way in, and just couldn't see leaving a boat in that condition (clearly had some value) abandoned. I figured it had had problems, the owners must've called someone for help, and they'd be back.
I fished for a good while, and during that time a white pickup drove up and some people got out and walked around, looking at the boat. I was too far away to see just exactly what was going on, but they climbed in and appeared to be messing with the engine. I assumed they were there to fix it. After about 30 minutes, they left.
The boat sat there for many more weekends. Nobody appeared to touch it. I asked people I saw at the ramp if they knew anything about it, and nobody did. Someone said they called it in to the lake patrol, who wasn't interested.
A couple of weekends ago, I returned to find this. Someone had removed the engine and set the hull on fire. Someone told me that the owners did it. They'd bought the boat and all its contents on the cheap at a yard sale, and brought it here to see if it would run. It wouldn’t. They couldn't afford to fix it, so they removed the V-8 engine, and anything else they thought to be of value, and had a bonfire. What a group of fools.
Apparently, they tried to start it on fire in the water. There's fiberglass everywhere. When it burned down to the water level, they pulled it onto the land and started a new fire and a new case of cheap beer, according to the folks telling me what had happened. Here is what the water looks like now where I launch my kayak. I'm sure this isn't good for anything that lives in this river.
I don't know if any if the story that accompanies this boat is actually true. It's just what a local who's a regular at the launch told me. All I know is that a boat was abandoned and later burned where I like to launch for a day of kayak fishing. Kids are often swimming here when I launch. There are local bank fishermen here all the time. Is it any wonder that free launches are disappearing? The landowners on this river are notoriously rude to local fishermen. On local forums, the stories are legendary: pointing guns at fishermen, calling the lake patrol on folks, threatening to block off access by stretching barbed wire across the river. If you only read forums about this place, you'd be afraid to paddle there for fear of being arrested for trespassing.
That hasn't been my experience at all. I've fished there for several years now. They've always been super nice to me, but they've most likely seen me share tackle and plastic baits with the kids that live along the river. More than one resident has commented about how they appreciate that I catch these fat bass here and release them after snapping a quick picture. I carry a trash bag in the Rod Pod on my Trident and try to carry out as much trash as I can fish out of the water. It doesn't really take any extra time. I catch my largest bass here, and it is a really gorgeous place to spend the day. I don't want to see floating Styrofoam and beer cans. I hate seeing abandoned fishing line stringing out of the brush. Maybe the folks that live along this river aren't what their reputation makes them out to be. Maybe those local guys posting that landowners are meeting them with shot guns were witnessed littering. I just know I've had some really nice conversations with the landowners along this river and they're always surprised to see the bass I catch here.
If their kids are around, they're usually rocking a bobber and worm. I try to keep some worm hooks, bullet weights, and an assortment of plastics (from my expansive collection that my addiction dictates) in a Ziplock bag to give to kids fishing along the river. A five-minute lesson on how to tie a Palomar knot and Texas rig a Gary Yamamoto “Senko”, and I usually get to see a kid catch a bass before I leave. The parents are always so appreciative of a few pennies in plastic and hooks.
I guess if I lived along that river and a boat load of loud, obnoxious littering jerks came along filling their coolers with 20” bass caught in my back yard, they might have to post some stuff about me, too.