There comes a time in every angler’s life when he must face the truth, no matter what the cost. When he must admit to himself what needs admitting, no matter how much it complicates his life. When he must close the bathroom door, face the mirror square and say to the man reflected back at him:

“Friend, you need a new boat.”

Since making this admission a number of questions have flitted through my head. Driftboat or skiff? High profile or low? How many feet would I need? 14, 15, 16? Did I want motor capabilities? Finally, and least savorily: how much was I willing, or able, to pay?

Since I figure that there are probably several thousands of you in more or less the same position as myself, I decided I would narrate the entire process–from doing the research to towing one home. And so today we embark on this multi-part series, at the end of which, God willing, I will have a new boat in time for summer smallmouth, big water hex and mousing all the live-long night.

Since I live Michigan, I decided to start local and work my way west and south as necessary. For this first installment I interviewed Mike Batcke, owner of Stealthcraft Boats, a Midwestern company that each year eats a bigger piece of the national driftboat market pie.

Read full article: How to Choose a Driftboat.

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