Sunday, December 17, 2017
Outdoors

Tampa Bay Boat Show's for dreamers and shoppers

My die-hard fishing friends say that you can't find a boat to do it all. But I disagree. The new DC 325 Dual Console from Pursuit does a good job of blending luxury and performance with the utility of an offshore boat.

When I think about boats, versatility is the first thing that comes to mind. I need a platform for scuba diving and fishing, but also something that the family can feel comfortable on anchored up off a sandbar.

The DC 325, which will make its local debut at this weekend's Tampa Bay Boat Show at Tropicana Field, covers all the bases. With ample seating, an open bow and plenty of storage, you could easily cruise down the coast to the Florida Keys, then button up and run across to the Bahamas.

An ideal boat for trips to the Middle Grounds or the Vinoy Yacht Basin for Sunday brunch, this Pursuit seems ideally designed for today's discriminating boater. My fishing buddies might find it a bit too fancy, but that's not a problem.

The Tampa Bay Boat Show has everything from shallow-draft flats skiffs to tricked-out, tow boats. You can spend hours looking at all the different models — in fact, that's the best way to really figure out what boat would best suit your needs.

But do yourself a favor, go with an open mind. Buying the wrong boat can be an expensive and frustrating lesson. Get a pen and paper and make a list of your top priorities — comfort, fuel economy, performance, storage, etc.

Ask yourself, how will you use the boat and more important, how often will you use it? Taking the family out once a month for an island picnic is one thing, but running 200 fishing charters a year is quite something else.

The advantage to shopping at the boat show, as opposed to driving from dealer to dealer, is you can often do literal, side-by-side comparisons of the various models. Don't be afraid to take notes. A few hours of real-time research could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

And even if you are not thinking about buying a boat right away, events such as the show are great places to start dreaming. Many first-time boat owners spend years looking and thinking before they make a purchase.

Buying a boat is not something you want to rush — the boat featured here costs more than many houses. But Florida is the No. 1 boating state in the country. We have great weather and beautiful water, so why not take advantage of it? A trip to the Tampa Bay Boat Show is one way to start.

Comments

Captainís Corner: Bottom fishing is good with dropping gulf water temperatures

The past few weeks have delivered lots of cold air, dropping water temperatures in the gulf. Thermometers are reading in the low 60s. This is going to change a few things closer to shore. Anglers will find an absence of kingfish on many of the spots ...
Published: 12/16/17

Captainís Corner: Look for that strong speckled trout bite on grass flats

The speckled trout bite has taken off nicely after the first good cold front last weekend. You will find a consistent bite along the grass flats from Apollo Beach down to Pinellas Point. The sweet spot seems to be 4-6 feet of water. If you can find s...
Published: 12/15/17

Captainís Corner: Drop in gulf water temperature means itís sea trout time

The gulf temperature has dropped significantly since our first real cold front last week. One day the water was in the mid 70s, then after the front, it fell to the low 60s. That caused speckled sea trout to become a reliable target. Redfish have bee...
Published: 12/14/17

Captainís Corner: Good time for shallow-water flats fishing

Shallow-water flats fishing can be very exciting this time of year. Trout and redfish are available in good numbers, and the opportunities to catch some gator trout have made recent trips very rewarding. Some of the largest trout have been in very sk...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Captainís Corner: Seek clear water for bottom fishing as temperatures plummet

The great weather, calm seas and exceptional fishing we experienced at the end of November and beginning of December came to a screeching halt with the cold front that came through. Surface water temperatures plummeted from an unseasonable 71 degrees...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17