Saturday, March 17, 2018

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.


It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout return to their early spring areas

Cool air has filtered down, giving us hopefully the last cold blow for awhile. Recent fronts have shaken things up. But fishing has been good considering the weather. Trout have pushed into their early spring areas, basically where they were five wee...
Published: 03/10/18
Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

March is here, and the weather is great. This month is when we make that change toward spring fishing. Snook really ramps up, and trophy trout mixed with good redfish are not far behind. Snook has to be the most targeted fish for March. Just about ev...
Published: 03/09/18

Captainís Corner: Cold fronts might be a blessing for fishing

So much for getting too hot too fast. It was a concern a couple of weeks ago when water temperatures were flirting with 80 degrees in some areas. We worried that the masses of kingfish might blow right by us as they sought that 70-75 temperatures the...
Published: 03/07/18
Updated: 03/08/18

Captainís Corner: The right location means big trout numbers

It is peak time for catching large numbers of trout. A "spring thing" right now, it is not unusual to put up a big number with a number of quality-sized fish being caught. This should continue for another two months. For tackle and techniques, trout ...
Published: 03/05/18
Updated: 03/07/18