Today’s sportsman has technology on his side and what better place to check out what is new than at the 53rd annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which runs through Monday?
It was a windy and soggy start to the boat show Thurdsay, but a little bad weather never stopped a true outdoorsman from going on, and Hurricane Sandy didn’t stop the organizers of the show.
The show has a little bit of everything, from yachts to skiffs, electric fishing reels, lures, boats that go deeper and shallower than before, new technology for personal safety … and so much more.
Contender has come out with its own bay boat, a 25-footer that goes up to 68mph while utilizing a double-stepped hull that allows air to vent under the boat, resulting in less fuel consumption.
The Contender 25 Bay has a 12-inch draft and comes with a 90-gallon gas tank, which makes it perfect for fishing the Backcountry of Florida Bay, the shallow water of the Keys and a good day out on the open water. It starts at $74,000.
For dedicated offshore fishermen, Contender’s new 30 ST has a range of approximately 500 miles, according to director of marketing Les Stewart Jr.
The 30-foot, center-console is outfitted with a 265-gallon fuel tank and boasts a maximum speed of 68 mph. Starting price is near $265,000.
In a more modest price range, Robalo has a new 18-foot center-console that is the first of its size to have a head built-in — a much needed comfort on a long day out fishing. The boat starts at just under $28,000.
It isn’t like the era Ernest Hemingway romanticized about in The Old Man and the Sea — far from it.
You won’t be pulling in that trophy catch by hand after hours of tugging and pulling, so get help from the power-assisted Dolphin Electricreel.
Dolphin offers power-assisted reels or can customize a motor to fit your favorite reel. With its two gears, you can either let the motor do most of the work or you can reel along with the electric assist.
Florida-based DraggIn Lures was displaying its line of jumbo skirted lures. The 66-ounce Dragginzilla is designed for deep-water trolling and is just under 6 inches without a skirt — an effective temptress to your catch. One of its most effective baits is the daisy chained Tuna Chain.
BigBite Lures also has jumbo sized lure, the XXL, that is perfect for Wahoo, according to company president Mike Boyer.
GOING LOW TECH
If zooming across the ocean at high speeds isn’t your thing but you still love to get out on the water, Little River Marine
offers a specially designed skiff with a built-in, sliding rowing seat. At a weight of only 77pounds, the skiff is light and versatile.
It has high bow to absorb wave impact and a flat stern. There is plenty of room for gear and there is a built-in dry storage. The skiff also has a tent that helps keep you dry in rough conditions and allows you to safely sleep aboard — if you so desire.