Ever think about retirement and wonder what in the world you’ll do with yourself? We talked recently with a Sea Eagle inflatable boat owner who’s 20 years into an active retirement and enjoying every minute.
Alan and Joanne Hodges, of Kiowa, Colorado, retired two decades ago from teaching professions. Alan had a varied career as a guidance counselor, phys ed teacher, and sports coach. Joanne taught phys ed, too, as well as social studies.
Easy to get up and go
“We have a 25-foot travel trailer,” Alan told us. “We pack up all our boating and fishing gear in the back of the pickup and go. The nice thing about an inflatable Sea Eagle is you just throw it in and go wherever you want to.”
They belong to an RV club that gives them reduced RV camping rates and camp several weeks at a time all through Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona. “One of our favorites spots is Blue Mesa Reservoir in southwestern Colorado,” says Alan, “between Gunnison and Montrose.” 20 miles long with almost 100 miles of shoreline, the reservoir is Colorado’s largest body of water and the biggest lake trout and Kokanee salmon fishing spot in the United States. Alan’s enjoyed flatwater fishing at Alamo Lake State Park near Ehrenberg, Arizona, and float fishing in the Taylor River near Gunnison, Colorado.
Enviro-friendly electric motor
“We camp at private campsites,” says Alan, “but they have to have fishing. Joanne loves fishing and loves to catch fish.” And there’s a bigger attraction, too. “It’s always beautiful, serene, and relaxing out on the water.” An electric motor makes it even more peaceful. “We don’t like the sound of a gas motor or the smell of gas.” And going electric gave the Hodges access to the many lakes that ban gas outboards these days.
A bigger Sea Eagle boat
The Hodges are long-time Sea Eagle boaters, having owned a Sea Eagle SE9 for many years. “The SE9 looked like a good deal,” says Alan. “It had a solid floor and was well built. I thought it would be pretty nice and it was. We used it for 10 years and hauled it a lot of places.”
They recently replaced their SE9 and upped the ante with a Sea Eagle 12.6SRRIK – a Sport Runabout. They wanted something a little bigger and felt, “a 10-foot boat isn’t quite big enough.” How big could they go without having to trailer a boat? Alan took out his tape measure and figured out how much the 12.6 SR would hang over the back when strapped down. It all worked.
With 70 lb. thrust, their electric outboard is surprisingly powerful. “We fish the Colorado River,” says Alan. “The current can be quite strong depending on when they open the irrigation canals up north. We felt we needed more thrust.”
Sea Eagle to the Rescue
“More thrust” came in plenty handy when the Hodges helped rescue a fellow boater recently. Alan tells the story…
“While preparing our Sea Eagle 12.6 SR for fishing in Paradise Lake located to the North of Phoenix, we saw a boater at the launching ramp who could not get his boat motor started, and could not get the boat on the trailer since the wind was blowing him away from the ramp, and precariously close to the rocks lining the ramp.
We were able to tow him out of danger and into the proper position for him to load his boat. He was impressed, as were we, that our Sea Eagle inflatable with a 70 lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motor could tow his very heavy 20-foot pleasure/fishing boat out of danger.”
Because of gas prices, the Hodges are planning a trip to nearby Pagosa Springs south of Gunnison, Colorado. “We’re taking our boat and truck, not our RV. They have a lake there we’ve fished in before. Then we’ll stop in Gunnison where we have a 1-week stay scheduled at a cabin.”
Alan and Joanne’s tale is proof: RV’ing, Sea Eagle boating, and fishing really are the ideal retirement combination!
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