Earlier this summer my wife and I decided that we are going to get a boat sometime in the next 3-5 years. Nothing crazy but something that we won't outgrow right away and can handle both the lakes and costal waters of the Carolinas. We both grew up on the water and boating was a big part of how we spent time with our families. With a newborn on the way the 3-5 year timeline works out pretty well with potential kid #2 down the road.
Well, as luck would have it, a few weeks later I hear that some family friends are thinking of selling their boat. Now this is a boat that I have wanted since they first bought it back when I was a kid. It's a 1993 Mako 161 Flats boat with a 115 Yamaha 2-stroke hanging off the back.
My wife is a wonderful and understanding person (that also really wanted a boat) so it is now ours!
Now here is where I'm going to nerd out a bit. A flats boat is a fishing boat that has a shallow draft and can get up into the flats and tidal creeks. Flats boats, despite the name, are not entirely flat on the bottom as that would make them a skiff (flat bottomed jon boats and the fiberglass Carolina Skiff are popular examples of skiffs).
Flats boats can also be easily identified by the platform over the engine. This is a polling/casting platform where you stand and use a push pole (around 20 feet long) to slowly, and quietly, move along the water without scaring the fish away. It also is a great place to sling a cast net or a fishing pole off of and gives you a good vantage point to spot fish as the higher you go, the less glare on the water you have to fight.
Now on to the nerding out about this specific model. Mako was a boat manufacture that got started because some guy didn't like what was on the market so he tried his hand at building his own boat. Lore states that he built a few more for friends and then took one to a boat show and got hundreds of orders and started building boats full time. I am sure that there were more details but that is what I can offer without finding sources.
Mako quickly became a major player in saltwater fishing boats in the 70s and 80s. The father retired and the sons took over the company at some point and created the Mako Flats series as a 25th anniversary present to their father. Hurricane Andrew destroyed their plant and eventually investors were brought on to keep production going. The company went public and eventually got acquired by Bass Pro/Tracker Boats in 1996 and still exists today.
But these pre-Tracker Makos have a strong following and I must admit to wanting to join their club for years now. Maybe I am some sort of boat hipster but I have always loved older models. If a classic Boston Whaler is a Jeep Wagoneer then a classic Mako is an International Scout. Less flair but just as effective at its given job and with a strong fanbase.
I got to take our little 161 out this past weekend when we picked it up and I could not be more stoked. Like any boat, it has a few things that it could use (baseline all fluids and maintenance, trim tabs currently in-op, detail/gelcoat buffing, seat cushions need to be replaced and the speakers re-wired) but it fires right up and my wife is very happy with it. I plan to update as I slowly pick away at things.
First day and last day and all of that but you can't rain on this parade.
Cheers Oppo... four more cylinders were acquired.