by Mark Daul
Outdoors in Niagara
Boats are money pits. No doubt about that. The bigger the boat, the bigger the pit to throw money into, but they sure do bring a lot of fun and pleasure for singles and families. You can fall in love with boats and boating, quicker than you can say "Happiness."
Dave Adelizi of Youngstown has a new love affair with a fishing boat going on right now. It is a beautiful 19 1/2-foot Crestliner Sportfish fishing/pleasure boat, the deluxe model, and looks showroom new. It is a yacht in his mind. It is powered with a 115 horsepower, four-stroke Mercury motor, plus a 9.9 horsepower Merc kicker for trolling, and equipped with all the other "toys" needed for a good day on the water.
Adelizi saw the boat he wanted at the Buffalo Boat Show and fell in love with it. He knew it was kind of out of his price range at the time, but couldn't get it out of his mind. Then the memory started to fade away, until one day he was telling his boat mechanic about it - a guy named George, at Power Right Marine Sales on Myers Hill Road in Sanborn; phone 731-1486.
All of a sudden George's mind clicked, and he said, "Wait a minute, I think I know somebody who is selling a used one just like that." Adelizi got the info, checked with the owner, and sure enough it was just like the new one he saw at the boat show. It was a bright, clean, carpeted, well taken care of, with the same engine power as the vessel he saw at the show.
Adelizi fell in love all over again. The deal was sealed after talking with the owner, who is Town of Wilson Councilman Brad Clark. When Adelizi was first telling me about his newfound love, he talked as much about Clark's enthusiasm about finding a new owner, and the fact that Clark knew it was going to a good home. There were two winners here.
Adelizi owned a 24-foot Regal inboard that was a carpeted pleasure boat, but it was getting to be too big to handle and trailer to his fishing spots. Besides spending considerable time on the Niagara River, he likes to travel to Georgian Bay in Ontario, and to Black Lake, located two hours north of Syracuse. This lake has about 60 miles of shoreline with numerous bays and islands that hold all kinds of warm water game and panfish. Adelizi's son, Ryan, makes several fishing trips there every year, and is always excited when he prepares for another weekend trip. He says crappies are abundant along with large and smallmouth bass, perch, pike and the occasional walleye, especially in the spring and summer.
There was some apprehension about whether Adelizi's wife, Kandy, would be as enthused as he was about his new boat, but when she went out in it for the first time she was a happy camper. She fell in love with the boat too. Grinning from ear to ear, Kandy told me she "likes to be out on the water relaxing, soaking up the sunshine and reading a book." She loves it. That makes for a happy family and a happy fisherman too, especially when all is 'quiet.'
Many moons ago, in 1978, I bought a new boat that I fell in love with too. It was my second love affair. I was helping Walt Preslovich at the boat show in the Niagara Falls Convention Center. He owned LaSalle Marine on Buffalo Avenue in Niagara Falls. At the time, Preslovich got a new line of boats in called the "Fun Master" that was made in Bradenton, Fla. He liked the way I helped his customers, and said, "I see you eyeing that green/white 'Fun Master' over there, and if we don't sell it at the show, I'll give you my dealers' price on it for helping me out."
Preslovich started giving me the sales pitch because he knew I was looking for something bigger and told me, "This is a small offshore boat they use in Florida and will work perfect for fishing Lake Ontario." I agreed. It was a bow rider, and I was in love with the deep V hull, the split walk through windshield, the openness, the fold down tonneau cover with side curtains, and even the green matching pile carpeting made my eyes water. I wanted it so bad.
When the show was over and all the boats were back in the showroom, a week or so later, I walked into his marina and he said, "C'mere, here's the paperwork on that boat, that's what I paid for it, and you can have it for that."
I thought, wow! I then told him I didn't think I could swing it right now and I would have to check with the other half, who is my money manager. I went home, told my money manager my dilemma, that I just love that boat, and that I just have to have it "either now or later." I had saved money over the good sales seasons from my tackle shop (Mark's Tackle in Niagara Falls), so we could survive winter when sales were always flat. It was near the spring selling season again, when business starts picking up.
After checking with my money manager we figured that the boat could be a possibility. I already had a 14-foot aluminum car topper and 16-foot fiberglass Brunswick at the time that my two older boys and I fished out of. But those boats just weren't big enough for us to get out and fish for the new, and growing, salmon fishery in the lake. After some quick calculations in her head my money manager said, "You know, spring is arriving and you have some winter survival money left over, so use it." Whew! I did, and I found myself speeding down Hyde Park Boulevard and Buffalo Avenue to get that boat, all in the same afternoon.
It wasn't long after that, it was the prettiest, best-equipped boat on Lake Ontario; at least I thought so in 1978. I put downriggers, rod holders, depth sounder, temperature sensors, 8 1/2-foot rods and new reels to match, plus a CB radio before summer arrived. Oh, and a box full of new lures. I was ready, bring on those salmon!
I fished that boat for a good 20 years and it was a sad day when I watched it going out of my driveway for the last time, but I was happy too, because a friend of mine bought it for his son. Then eight years later I saw it being launched in Lewiston by another new owner. After a chitchat, even though it was a well-used craft by then - it was his new love affair now - I could tell it was the beginning of another new romance. Now I fish out of a 16-foot aluminum Starcraft, powered by a 25 horsepower Mercury motor that I love, and it loves to catch fish with me. My trout and salmon days are left behind.
If you ever think about falling in love again, buy a boat, you'll never have to pay it alimony. Ha! Investigate, and think about what you would want to suit your needs; family boat, fishing boat, combination family/fishing or just something to cruise around in. Talk to other boat owners, marina people, fishermen, and look in newspapers, and Internet boating chat boards or even Craigslist has some bargains. But be careful, know what you are buying on Craigs. Boat shows are a great place to look and compare, but unfortunately they don't start showing up until late winter and early spring.
Remember: The fish do not bite in the cemetery, so you better do your fishing while still able.