For Steve DeSellem, fishing is his passion. So when this avid angler moved from Florida to Ohio, his Carolina Skiff J-16 made the journey with him. Steve says time on the boat is life-giving and restorative, and even though Ohio lake fishing is very different than Florida’s coastal waters, Steve makes time to get out on his boat as often as possible.
I bought my Carolina Skiff J-16 brand new in 2010. I bought the bare hull and completely built it from there to suit my fishing style. This boat replaced a previous boat I had. With that boat, I was always bailing water, and I was simply not going to do that anymore. I wanted something that I could run shallow, but I also wanted something highly customizable. With these boats, it’s really easy to make them what you want them to be.
I put a platform on the back. I like to pole with it. I like that I can beach it anywhere, too. It’s so easy. Even if you’re in only a couple inches of water, you can tilt the motor and push it. But I’ve also had it seven miles off shore. If you are careful and know what you are doing, you can take this boat almost anywhere.
Prior to this boat, I actually had four other boats. I had a Carolina Skiff 2004 DLX 16. I ended up selling that to one of my best friends. I had two other leaky aluminum boats and another 30 foot boat. But they just weren’t right for me.
Tell us about your ideal day out on the water:
In Florida, there were so many perfect days. I also loved going out at night into the flats and mangroves. But moving to Ohio was quite an experience, and I had to find something that was a challenge, something I would enjoy. I discovered lake fishing for musky. I went out on the water here in a saltwater frame of mind. I’m kind of the black sheep up here. It’s just amazing, because everyone has all of these different kinds of boats, and they aren’t really sure about mine. But I keep telling them that running a Carolina Skiff in a lake setting is amazing.
I am a fan of the fiberglass and composite boats. Aluminum boats will fill up with water, and then they sink. At the end of the day, my Skiff won’t sink, and I can attest to that. One time I was in the Kets and it was raining. We pulled up under a bridge. There were all of these microbursts. There were huge waves. That boat filled with 100 gallons in just a few seconds, but I turned on the bilge, pulled the plug, and that boat never faltered.
Any extraordinary memories about time spent on your boat that you’d like to share?
Fishing is my passion. I work so I can fish. The day my father passed away, I was out on the water. I got a text message from my brother telling me to go catch one for dad. I got a beautiful tarpon. This is more than just a boat. It’s about the stories…it’s about the memories. When your boat is broken, you fix your boat. When you are broken, your boat fixes you. I’ve gone through plenty of hard times in my life. I was on this boat when I got the news that my father died. I know it sounds strange, but my boat is always there for me.
Are you in the market for a new boat, or will you stick with your current Carolina Skiff?
I definitely want to keep the boat I have – my J-16 is named Rotten Pelican II. But I would supplement with a Sea Chaser or Ultra Elite. I’m going to get more use out of my J-16 than other boats. I had four boats in Florida, but I used this boat almost every day, and it was the best one around. And the cost of operation is phenomenal, too. I run a 25 on it, but I could put a 40 on it and get more speed. But running this is the same cost as someone operating a lawnmower. It’s so fuel efficient. I can gig and so much more, and it’s easy to clean up, too.
I’m considering taking a trip to Columbia to fly fish in the jungle. Do you know what my first thought was? How in the world can I get my boat there? There are areas you can fish there that are untouched by humanity.
I really love this boat. The way I have it set up, there’s so much room, and it can do anything. This boat means more to me than any other of my possessions. It’s the place you go to get right. Whether I’m catching musky with a fly rod or looking for chongo, snook, redfish or sauger, this is the boat for me.
At Carolina Skiff, building one of the best quality boats for a great price has always been our goal. Whether you’re looking for a pleasure boat, fishing boat, runabout or commercial/work boat, Carolina Skiff delivers the most in value, quality and style. Find a Carolina Skiff dealer near you today or visit https://carolinaskiff.com/ to learn more.