The man and his boat

Leonard Kleinpeter keeps one hand on the trolling motor to position his boat carefully to avoid spooking the fish, while fishing with the other hand. Note the homemade pedestal seat mount.

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 2×4 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.

Jerald Horst
About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.

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