*NOTE: This is the second post about my time fishing in Alaska. For background, you can read the first post HERE.

Let’s talk about the two different boats for a minute. They are small boats, about 15 feet long, and gray. That’s about where the similarities end. One boat is bigger than the other, as it has higher sides and is wider. It also has a much bigger engine, which serves the sole purpose of going fast.

The bigger boat also has four bins, compared to the smaller boat’s two. There are two bins in the middle of the boat, so that when the fish drop out of the net, they fall directly into the bins, and the crew does not need to handle them twice. In the smaller boat, the fish sit in the bottom of the boat until they get pitched into the bins.

You would think that the bigger boat would be more beneficial, correct? That’s what the owners thought. They would complain when they had to use the smaller boat.

I think the exact opposite. I like the smaller boat better. Here’s why:

The smaller boat is probably ten years older than the big boat and is still running fine. It has always started and been trusted to get us from point A to point B, every single time.

The big boat, while it is fast, has given us so many problems. Two of the four seasons that I was there, it never even touched the water, because the outboard engine wouldn’t even start. That costed the owners about $10,000 in repairs.

Also, the big boat is so much harder to jump into, especially when weather is bad. Keep in mind that it rains almost every single day, which means there are going to be waves. This makes it harder to get into the boat. Add to the fact that you have walls that are six inches taller, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Another aspect of the big boat that people don’t think about is that the higher walls are less ideal for picking fish. When you pick, you want the fish to be at about your waist, so that you can put your body into shaking the net. The bigger boat puts the fish up higher and makes picking harder.

The main lesson that can be learned from this boat situation is that it’s important to be happy with what you have. When you already have something that works just fine (smaller boat), there is no point in going out and getting the shiny new upgrade (bigger boat). Odds are, you will know how to use the original better than the new thing and will therefore find that the upgrade is less effective.

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