How cool, we are getting a new boat!! woo hoo! Been wanting to upgrade our old 16ft jon boat for a few years for the coast.. You know, something a little bigger, able to run shallower, farther, etc.. This was something we weren’t really planning until next year. And then, one trip to Rockport and all that changed.
My brother and I went to Rockport a few weeks ago and wanted to see an old family friend. Our families go way back, to the early 70s.. Ronnie Hubbel was the man we were after.. He worked for my parents at Portland Marine and eventually went off to start Ronnie’s Marine in Aransas Pass and then Corpus and San Antonio. They did all sorts of stuff together, hot rodded, hunted gators, deer, raced boats, fished, you name it. I worked for Ronnie in high school one summer to pay off the damage I did to our boat while living in City by the Sea which is located between Rockport and Aransass Pass, I proved, that if you tried hard enough you could break anything.. Ripping an engine off the back of the boat isn’t for rookies. Of course, while working for Ronnie I probably screwed up more stuff and cost him more money than I “helped” After my parents sold their boat business my dad went to run the Corpus store for Ronnie for several years before they moved to New Braunfels.
At some point Ronnie closed down the stores but not before my dad bought a 96 Sea Ark with a 40 hp Yamaha on it. I helped him finish rigging it in the backyard of their house in New Braunfels and we used it to haul my kids and niece and nephew around in tubes at Canyon Lake and we would use it fishing the rivers and lakes around the area. I would borrow it several times and take my son Sean out camping via water on it. A few times to an island in lake Buchannan to go white bass fishing.. One day I get a call that they are giving me the boat.. as I had asked to be able to buy it if he got tired of messing with it and just sold it to someone. I was stoked!
Most of the time we used it was in central Texas, lake Austin, Travis, etc..
A few years ago we decided to do a trip to Rockport and we all rented a house in City By The Sea and it got it’s first taste of salt water. We had just started going back to the coast fishing Seadrift and Port O’Connor. This really got us invigorated to be fishing on the coast more, and eventually, the big for a new boat.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago and we met up with Ronnie and reminsed about the old days and it was so great visiting with him. Listening to all the old stories was the highlight of our trip for sure! Well, a week goes by and I was travelling for work and decided to call Ronnie to pick his brain about boats. Given that my dad was no longer around to get advice from there was surely no one I trusted more than Ronnie. I told him what we are looking at and he gave me his opinions and I asked him what he was using.. He told me about it and I jokingly told him he should upgrade and sell it to us. He replied that he was going to be selling his house on Copano Bay and selling the boat with it. I got very interested and after some pleading he agreed to sell the boat to us. He kept saying “I am not trying to sell you damned boat! Well, who could we trust more? The boat was right and the price was right.
Well, it was time to sell the old boat and I did some extra cleanup on it, took pictures and posted it for sale. I got several calls and then a guy seemed legitimate and I agreed to meet him. I showed him the boat and walked him through everything about it including some old battle scars and he agrees to buy it, pays cash, we do the paper work and as he is leaving I tell him ( a little emotionally I will admit) to please take care of it, it had a lot of sentimental value to me as it came from my dad.
The irony is that he is taking it back to New Branfels and that he graduated Texas State with a degree in resource and environmental studies and so the envioronment an wildlife are very important to him. As they were to my dad who fought illegal gill netting on the coast in the 70s.
After he drove off it hit me and my wife came home looked at me, saw the boat was gone and gave me a much needed big hug. We look forward to the new boat of course but we will definitely miss this one.
The last trip