Thomas Mannion, of New Boston, New Hampshire, balances his love for bass fishing and his love for his family in a way that makes everybody happy — he combines them.
“I’m a still water bass fisherman,” Tom told us. He sought a boat that would get him where he wanted to be; in the shallow, still waters where the lily pads grow the big bass lurk. “What really drew me to the Sea Eagle FoldCat was it draws only four inches.”
Try Tom’s stealth bass fishing secrets
“One of the best fishing spots I’ve found is in a pond near home. I fish the still water between the shore and a natural berm formed by blueberry bushes. Behind the berm, it’s all still water about a foot deep, filled with lily pads. The fish like that because they feel hidden and safe.”
Tom says there are a lot of smallmouth bass in New Hampshire waters but when you hook a largemouth bass it tends to be a big one: they know how to hide from fishermen. “One of the biggest fish I’ve caught was a 5-1/2 lb. largemouth bass. In New Hampshire, that’s a big fish.”
“I drift along and the fish don’t realize I’m there,” says Tom. “The lily pads separate right around the pontoons as I glide by.” Tom says they’ll spook when the pads move but he keeps it down to barely a crawl — just inches at a time — and the fish don’t seem to notice. “The FoldCat gives good shadow cover, too,” he says. The floor between the pontoons creates a good shadow and, “You can actually see the bass swimming around and under the boat,” because the boat’s shadow cuts the reflection.
An engineer’s a careful shopper
Tom’s an internet engineer who specializes in wireless connectivity. “As an engineer, I look at things from a very analytical point of view,” he says. “I started looking for boats a few years ago and when I saw the FoldCat 375 I knew it was the boat for me.” He says he thought, planned, and asked a lot of questions. “I’ve spent a lot more money with a lot fewer questions on things like cars,” he told us.
When we asked Tom what his boat-shopping criteria were, he reeled them off. “The FoldCat 375 fit my needs exactly. First, it’s perfect for a still water fisherman like me. And the inflatable FoldCat packs small so I don’t have to worry about a trailer, lights, or connections. And with no trailer, you burn less gasoline. A canoe weighs over 100 lbs. and takes two to put on a car top carrier. The FoldCat just goes in the trunk or back of my pickup. That’s priceless. Try doing that with a 12’ aluminum outboard! At the water, I just unload, unroll and inflate it. I got the two-stage pump so inflation is simple.”
But then something unexpected happened. “When Sea Eagle came out with the 440 FoldCat, I had to rethink everything.” He observed, “The 375 is clearly a 2-man craft. The 440 is the same boat but bigger, and can be set up for one to four passengers just by changing a few wing nuts.”
That’s when the family man in him kicked in. “We’re a very close family,” he says, “and we do everything together. The 440 is the perfect boat for that.” Tom says getting a boat the whole family could use and enjoy together was the 440 advantage that tipped the scales. “Frankly, I thought it would be selfish of me to spend time with just one family member when, for a little extra, we could all go out on the water together.”
As a parent…
“My son, Patrick, will be 10 in March,” Tom told us. “He loves to be with me and loves to be on the boat. As a parent, every moment with a child is a teaching moment and I take the opportunity to teach him about boating, fishing, and safety.”
Tom’s happy, Patrick’s happy, and his wife, Colleen is, too. “My hearty thanks to Sea Eagle for a phenomenal product. As a consumer and boater, I couldn’t be happier. If I had it to do over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
“One more thing,” Tom added. “Anybody want to buy my old aluminum rowboat?”
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