Memories

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bass boat trailer license plate

This past winter, I found a well taken care of Skeeter ZX150D. It was a 1995 model with a few battle scars but for the most part, it was in excellent shape. The gelcoat still shined, the bottom of the boat was pristine and for me, it brought back memories of one of my first real bass boats, a SF150, purchased in 1985. I also had a couple SF175s along the way but it was important to me to have another one before I got too old to enjoy the fishing part out of it.

The before has become the now for me and my latest labor of love brought me back to the days living in Florida and meeting the likes of Shaw Grigsby, Bernie Schultz, Peter Thliveros, Jim Bitter and a host of others who I competed against and donated a bunch of frog skins (dollars) to them learning how to fish Florida waters along the way.

I was a member of the St. Johns Bass Anglers, one of the oldest B.A.S.S. clubs back then and we fished all over the state on weekends for trophies and bragging rights. I know we had payouts but I honestly couldn’t tell you how much they were; that didn’t matter. I still have the trophies, though. Fishing places like Orange Lake, Rodman Reservoir, Lake Santa Fe, Lake Toho and of course the St. Johns River is vivid in my memories but riding in that old Skeeter is what I remember most.

Purchased at Palatka Marine from B.A.S.S. angler owner Jeff Van Horn and Ronnie Tumlin and located next to another iconic landmark, The Tackle Box, still operated by another great angler Gary Simpson along Highway 19, my memories are what got me to today. I know names like Zeta Bait, Ditto, Sugar Shad, Culprit, and Bagley and Cotton Cordell from my times there. The smells of wood pulp plants, eating breakfast at the Clock Restaurant and hitting Sonny’s BBQ now and again are still vivid in my memories from those days too but those Skeeter Boats I had there are the real story.

Rigged with either a Yamaha 150- or 175-horsepower engine, both models were screamers. They could be squirrely and you had to drive them but they were, at the time, one of the fastest boats on the water. My memories there meant so much I wanted to find one more Skeeter of that vintage, equipped similarly and then updated to today’s standards.