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Boat potato

Teenager brings the comforts of home to the open water

Jennifer McPhee
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 28/02) - Kyle Hnatiw has turned his boat into a floating living room.

Inside his little tangerine-coloured boat is a big brown couch with huge sinking cushions.

Every night, his dad drops him off at the Giant Mine docks. He hops in his boat, lies back on the couch, cranks the tunes, and fishes all night long.

"I just thought it would be neat and cool and comfortable," says the 14-year-old who started Grade 9 at St. Patrick high school yesterday.

Hnatiw scored his boat for free from a friend of his father.

He fixed it up for a mere $100, and his buddy, who is moving south for school, gave him the couch.

The sight of Hnatiw lounging in style, fishing rod in hand, inspires covetous remarks from fishers passing by.

"They say I'd sure like to have one of those in my boat," says Hnatiw.

All he needs now is a little coffee table, he says.

He already has a CD player hooked up to speakers.

"It can get pretty loud," he admits.

Fishing is his obsession because it's a challenge and -- like most teenagers -- he enjoys spending a bit of time away from his folks.

Before the couch entered his life, he used to fish in the mornings.

Now, since he can sleep outdoors, he doesn't have to rely on others to drive him out to the dock in the wee morning hours. He also fishes twice as much as he used to.

On average, he catches three of four pickerel and a bunch of pike.

He throws back the jack and keeps the big pickerel. His limit is seven.

Hnatiw cleans the fish himself and his dad cooks them up. But he admits it's not the taste of pickerel that fuels his need to fish.

In fact, he's kind of sick of fish and only enjoys it when it's cooked really well.

"He likes the catching more than the eating," says his dad, Orest Hnatiw.

"He enjoys the outdoors."