Last week's column on small poling skiffs spawned several emails reminding me of all the boats I did not mention.
Sorry, but it's a short column and things get omitted. The Carolina and Sundance folks really got chaffed because I forgot to mention those companies make some decent "pointy bow" skiffs other than their square bowed, bumpy-ride models that are so economical and popular.
One in particular is the new "Flicker" poling skiff by Sundance. This is a 17-foot poling skiff with poling platform, center console, and lots of room and deck space for casting. Power for the new Flicker is in the 40-70-hp range and I'm looking forward to trying one out soon.
Capt. George Tunison
I mentioned Dusky Marine as a good boat. They manufacture and sell factory direct several small skiffs (and large boats) at a great price. Their new Dusky Bay Shark is a great bay style boat with the engine mounted to a rear platform instead of being transom mounted, resulting in increased cockpit space. This boat starts in the $17,000 price range, rated for up to 150-hp motors, and is a great buy. Dusky Marine must be doing something right as it is the boat of choice of "Bouncer" Smith, one of the true master guides making a living on the waters of Florida. Any boat company gladly would have Bouncer as an endorser.
One more bay/flats boat worth mentioning is the new Pathfinder "Fusion." Basically it's a cross between an open, stand-up console bay boat like the very popular Pathfinder model and a sit-down style flats boat like the Hewes Redfisher. I loved my 21-foot Redfisher, very fast, floated skinny, and had the giant flat deck layout I prefer over the open cockpit layout of the Pathfinder.
New Year's resolution
The biggest problem I had with the Redfisher was getting up and down all day from the low bench seat. Now that I'm older than mud with a bad back, getting up and down 20 to 30 times a day wore me down. More importantly, with the Redfisher there was, at times, limited visibility issues. With a 250 Yamaha on the transom there was a lot of bow rise getting out of the hole, so much at times that the first 20 yards or so the driver was blind to anything in front of him which can be very hard on stealthy kayakers.
More importantly, sitting low and going over 70 mph is safer for the driver, but bottom visibility is restricted. Since I fish in shallow water 85 percent of the time, I like to see the bottom when I'm running fast from one hot spot to the next. That's were the stand-up style Pathfinder shines.
The Fusion gives the best of both worlds with the huge flat walkaround deck and stand-up driving capability due to the smaller cockpit recessed in the huge flat deck area. I have this one on my Christmas want list, but at over $40,000 with accessories, my checkbook just laughs at me.
I wrote Obama asking for one along with a jumbo stimulus check, but as of this writing I have not heard a peep.
One of my resolutions in 2010 is to stop transporting 15-20 boxes of lures on every guide trip. I detest cast nets, live baits, and the resulting work and mess. I am a lure fanatic and, apparently, the more the merrier. If Wal-Mart closes come see me for your lure needs.
This year I resolve to carry one box and it will contain every lure a fisherman needs to fish these shallow waters. It will contain three MirrOlures, five D.O.A. Shrimp, three gold (Bagley) hammered spoons, two Zara Spooks, one bag of Zoom soft plastic jerkbaits, and a bag of cheap white plastic three-inch grubs. Beginner or newcomers, master these lures and you will score.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.