Imagine for a moment you’re a farmer in a fertile, temperate valley and your crop is cherries. Your orchard commands all your time and attention from March to August, but things slow down from September to February. And imagine your farm is a stone’s throw from one of America’s greatest fishing rivers. What would you do in the winter?
If you were cherry farmer, George Davis, of The Dalles, Oregon, you’d go fishing in the nearby Columbia River. And you wouldn’t go just once in awhile. You’d toss back bass other fishermen would prize. You’d go fishing almost every day in your Sea Eagle FoldCat fc375, and you’d haul in what many consider the world’s finest salmon and steelhead measuring over three feet and weighing 30 lbs. and more!
“I’m addicted to the outdoors.”
“I’m an avid outdoorsman,” says George. He’s living full time the life other outdoorsmen have to squeeze into an occasional weekend. “You could say I’m addicted to the outdoors.” All summer, he’s out in the cherry orchards. And all winter, he’s fishing and whitewater rafting on the Columbia and Deschutes rivers, river rafting on the John Day River, trout fishing in high mountain waters like Badger Lake, fly fishing, camping, rock hunting, crabbing, clamming, as well as “exploring and watching peaceful sunsets.”
Two boats in one
“I do a wide variety of boating and fishing,” George told us. “I especially go after steelhead and salmon. I catch bass, too, but I release them.” He chose a Sea Eagle FoldCat fc375 and says, “I got two boats in one with the FoldCat – a boat for fishing and for river rafting.”
One of George’s favorite river rafting spots is the John Day River, named for one of the Oregon’s early explorers. He floats 10 or 11 miles a day for a week at a time, camping on shore in the evenings. “It’s an undammed, scenic river,” says George. “No houses or power lines, just Nature.”
George leaves his FoldCat inflated most of the time and heads for the backcountry in a rig he calls “My Pacific Northwest Weekend Package” – a truck with FoldCat on top, towing a camping trailer with a mountain bike on top. Still, “I like the FoldCat’s foldability. When I don’t want to take my truck, I can break the FoldCat down and put it in the back of my wife’s Ford Focus. It fits great.”
“It’s stable and the fabric is outstandingly durable. I was jigging for salmon,” George told us, “and hooked a 10’ sturgeon.” These bony fish are covered with plates and have distinctive barbles. “It kept running, I ran all around the boat trying to land it. I had it up alongside the boat twice. I wanted my jig back,” he says, “but my fishing buddy cut the line.” That’s one that got away, jig and all.
More than paid for itself in memories
George has introduced several others to salmon and steelhead fishing. “My friend Scott caught his first salmon from my FoldCat,” says George. “He was skeptical about this boat at first but now he can’t wait to go back for more.” And George’s 11-year old son, Zain, is well on his way to becoming an avid outdoorsman like his dad, having landed impressive bass and steelhead of his own.
Coming up, George and Zain are going after salmon on the Columbia and fly fishing on the upper part of the Deschutes River. “What this boat allows me to do is remarkable. In terms of memories, I’ve made more than I paid for it.”