In spite of having lived a high-powered life, Leonard Kleinpeter is living proof that effective fishing doesn’t demand investment in an expensive fiberglass bass boat.

He served as Louisiana’s assistant secretary of state for 12 years, chief of staff to the lieutenant governor for eight years and special assistant to the governor for four years. But he is an unassuming, if driven, man.

The boat is like the man, a simple 14-foot bateau (that’s ‘flatboat’ for you non-Baton Rouge/Atchafalaya Basin folks) powered by a 25-horsepower tiller handle outboard motor. 

“I like a small boat because it’s easier to approach spawning fish,” he explained.

His front pedestal seat is mounted on a stand made of scrap 2x4 pieces. His trolling motor, while incongruously large at 55 pounds of thrust, is a simple hand-controlled clamp-on version. 

It’s a basic fishing machine, for one that fishes as much as he does.

He fishes seated, with one hand on the trolling motor and the other clasping his jig pole. 

Everything is about function first, not form. And he never removes the Bluetooth headset he uses to keep track of his business, Southern Hydroseeders, from his ear.