So we’re back from the Miami Boat show, with card-loads of photographs and pages and pages of notes. Lots of sweet new rides, efficient new engines, amazing electronics displays. A lot of this stuff we’re going to feature in Florida Sportsman and Best Boat magazines in the coming months, but for some digital fun, immediate gratification, here’s a quick scan of 25 random but very interesting highlights. Enjoy.
Hey, it’s Miami. What do you expect? Audacity and flash, and here it is, the award going to Hydra-Sports Custom, with matching, lime-green Camaro, 23 Bay Bolt and 42-foot CC. We usually expect this kind of dazzle at the racing boats displays, but this year, it’s fishing boats.
Accon Marine Wine Glass Holder
And while we’re on the subject of audacity, how about this new form-fitting wine-glass holder from Accon Marine? For when you just need some Pinot Noir while waiting for the ‘riggers to pop.
Hot Orange Dusky
First a lime green Hydra-Sports, now a hot orange Dusky, what’s the fishing world coming to? Dusky, based in Dania Beach, FL, continues to build durable, customizable fishing vessels with same level of individualized care that’s kept them in the biz since 1966.
Contender 24 Sport
Contender Boats celebrated its 30th anniversary. Featured boat in this frame is the brand-new 24 Sport, with a completely-new hull built for near-coastal and inshore work, outfitted with family-friendly touches such as forward and rear seating, and optional head inside the console. Yes, it’s tricked out for fishing, too, with 26-gallon livewell, fish boxes and undergunnel rod racks.
Winthrop Rod Components Adjusta-Butt
Now for some new gear, of which there was plenty. Gotta love the name of this product, Adjusta-Butt. In all seriousness, this a cool design from Winthrop rod components. We found it in the Capt. Harrys display. The aluminum butt shifts from straight to bent configuration with the press of a lock button. Available with adjustable hoods for 30-wide up to 130-wide rigs.
Cobia 34 Below Deck Hatch
Boat builders have finally realized that belowdecks and bilge access is a major selling point, especially to potential customers who’ve fought their way into tight compartments over the years. This is an electrical-lift hatch on the new 34-foot Cobia. Note access to the livewell fittings, as well as fuel-water separators, seacocks and other components. Judging by the fit and finish of this boat, however, we suspect it’ll be a long time before anyone needs to root around in there for anything beyond routine maintenance.
Glasstream Stepped Hull
Dual steps in a 26-foot bayboat from Glasstream, a smaller builder in Panama City, Florida. We spoke with the hull designer, who indicated the forward step serves as an air intake of sorts, vacuuming air into the hull bottom for more efficient lift. The aft step is a “dump step,” aligning the hull surface so that the propeller thrust is parallel to the surface, resulting in less cavitation under the stern. With a Mercury 250 ProXS, the builder claims 65 MPH.
Viking Life Raft
Lots of marine safety gear on display at this year’s show, including this life raft, from Viking. This one’s for up to 6 persons, the RescYou Coastal, selling for about two large. Weight in the valise package is 55 pounds. It automatically inflates, has a self-erecting canopy, boarding ramp, ballast bags and includes SOLAS flares.
FinAddix aluminum wall-mount photographs. These babies pop! Every bit as bright and beautiful as a high-def computer screen, without the cable, can be moved anywhere, and delivering a neat, 3-D look offset from the wall surface.
FLIR for iPhone
FLIR thermal camera mount for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. FLIR of course makes a variety of hand- and boat-mounted thermal cameras for nighttime and low-light navigation. But the phone mount was definitely an attention-getter in Miami. Note to potential users: Tempting as it may be, probably unwise to point this baby at the next TSA agent you come across…
That’s nylon, sealed tuna cord wrapping on a Black Diamond Hybrid rod from Phenix. The two rods are 8 and 9 feet, respectively, and the actions are built for casting heavy surface irons to tunas, Pacific yellowtail and other bluewater predators. The wraps allow the angler to install any C-clamp reel (such as an Avet, Trinidad or other high-speeder) where he likes, for optimal balance and casting comfort.
Bonefish Boats Fuel Tank
With fuel tanks corroding over time, and Lord-knows-what-all-kinds of kinks from ethanol, ever wonder why boat builders don’t just make tanks easily replaceable? This little boat from Bonefish Boats, a Florida Gulf Coast team, has a flip-up forward casting deck that reveals a poly tank underneath it.
Taco Grand Slam 880 Antenna Mount
Hallelujah! A VHF antenna T-top mount that allows you to raise and lower the antenna without climbing onto the gunnels. We’ve had systems like this for outriggers for years. This is the new Taco Grand Slam 880 Antenna Mount—the crank lever hides away when not needed.
Mike Nussman - ASA
What’s that guy doing with gumballs? Just Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) illustrating the U.S. tiny allocation of saltwater fisheries to the recreational sector (that’s your pitcher, on the right; the commercial guy’s, on the left). Nussman and other luminaries delivered a new vision for marine recreational fisheries. See the upcoming April print issue of Florida Sportsman for more details.
Neat lines on the little 15-foot WhiteTip (that’s named for a deadly oceanic shark). This boat was located in the back 40 outside the convention center. And yet her team of young builders demonstrated clear talent and know-how, putting together an innovative, high-freeboard skiff with easy-access bilge, ergonomically sound console and nice glasswork. Nice package at $19,500 with 40-horse Merc, trailer and more.
Still hard to beat a MoldCraft soft-headed lure for general offshore trolling work. Dolphin, sailfish, marlin—they all eat ‘em. The venerable Pompano Beach lure-maker had an impressive display of lures at the show, selling for a fraction of the price of some others.
Speaking of molded fishing gear, Hobie again had a sizable fleet of its rotomolded polyethylene kayaks and fishing boats, such as this pedal- or paddle-powered Pro Angler with a standing rail.
Stayput Shallow Water Anchor
Stayput Shallow Water Anchor, built up in Ormond Beach, FL. Cool little product, and a self-explanatory bargain at $300 or so, if you’re familiar with the powered models. The guys also make their own pole and an innovative stainless-steel coupler to join segments of poles for up to 10 feet of stake.
DeepTrekker submersible Remote Operated Vehicle
DeepTrekker submersible Remote Operated Vehicle was among the most intriguing things I saw at the show. For about $3,000, you get the submersible, the control box and 160 feet of cable. More accessories and equipment are available. This thing swims up, down, left, right, forward, reverse, and delivers topside crystal-clear video or still-frame capture images.
Something of a sign of the times: Amazing how many center consoles we’d once called “large,” such as this 24-footer from Boston Whaler, are now basically dingies for larger boats. We saw quite a number of these heavy tow bridles on fishing boats in Miami.
Downright mad lighting from OceanLED! That’s a 4,200-lumen Pro-Xtreme LED assembly, designed for below-water installations, and available in 3 colors or strobe model. Stainless steel or poly bezels are available, and mounting requires little more than a tiny thru-hole for the cable, and even tinier surficial holes for the anchor screws.
Ranger with Integrated SeaDek
Deck surfaces don’t get much attention on the saltwater circuit, but that may be changing. Here’s a Ranger bass and bay skiff with integrated SeaDek—grippy, soft on your feet, easy to clean, and perhaps most importantly, quiet. We saw a few other rigs in Miami with similar deck treatments.
Billfish 27 Innovation
Lots of neat tricks packed into the Billfish 27, built in Fort Pierce, FL. That’s an LED array navigational light flush-mounted into the hardtop, where it’s protected from the elements and unobstructed.
Last but not least, a look at the wake behind a 34 SeaVee running down Government Cut. This boat is under autopilot, courtesy of the new Raymarine Evolution EV200 ($1,800) system with HydroBalance. This feature corrects for the wiggly lines that sometimes result from minor inconsistencies in the hydraulic-steering systems on outboard vessels. Three modes are available: Performance, Fishing and Cruising.
Icom M506 VHF
PS: Worse comes to worst, the new Icom M506 VHF radio with built-in GPS, DSC and AIS is flat-out waterproof. So you can call for help from…well…anywhere.