Any fisherman who has ever purchased a new boat knows that for whatever reason, some boats just catch more fish than others. Laugh all you want, but from experience this isn’t some old wive’s tale, it actually is true.
My take is the sound of the engines, along with the size of the wake it puts out, can make the difference between fishing and catching.
Case in point: I accompanied my best fishing pal Dan Cornell to Jupiter, Florida, to bring his new ride back to Hilton Head Island, and what a ride it was! This is a fishing boat!
Though I can’t really remember exactly how many years we have fished together, it is somewhere around 12 to 15 years. In that period, Dan started out with a 24-foot Grady White, then a 30-foot Grady, a 35-foot Pursuit, a 45-foot Hatteras, a 60-foot Viking and finally (as of this moment), a 53-foot HCB Suenos center console, the boat we just brought back.
Talk about a rocket ship! This boat sports four 425 hp Yamaha outboards, a stereo system with 25 speakers spaced out from bow to stern, and every upgrade known to man, including a Seakeeper, which is a type of centrifuge that keeps the boat from rolling side to side. Even the most seasick-prone individual would surely benefit from this gizmo, since even in large seas the boat stays perfectly stable like it might if you were on a slick as glass inland lake.
Arriving in Jupiter around 3 p.m., our goal was to load all of our rods and safety equipment onboard and blast off for Cape Canaveral before the sun set.
When we left the inlet into the open ocean, Dan pushed the throttles forward and within seconds we were flying along at 50 mph! I was dumbfounded. Stepping away from the protection of the console, the wind literally peeled my lips back. What a machine!
Needless to say, we made it to Cape Canaveral in crazy record time. Our plan was to spend the night at my sister Grace’s house near Melbourne, fuel up early the next morning and make the long run to Hilton Head Island.
Though not really planned, a great friend of my sister, Bill Levitt, joined us for dinner and Dan and I invited him to join us on the last leg of the trip. It didn’t take any convincing and Bill was all in. Arriving back at the boat, we fueled up and off we went.
It is a crazy sensation cooking along between 40 and 50 mph in a boat that long.
The ride is so smooth – and with all those speakers, it was like riding in a traveling concert arena. We all wore ridiculously huge grins while singing along with tunes from several decades.
We did stop and fish a few times but there was another mission on my plate that I had been waiting to accomplish for nearly two months.
A while back, local teacher Julie Bascom dropped off at my house a case of wine bottles, each sealed tightly with rolled up notes inside each bottle. Julie works with home schooled kids in the 4- to 10-year-old age group, from St. Francis Catholic, Hilton Head Elementary, Hilton Head School for Creative Arts, and Hilton Head Early Childhood Center.
The bottles were from her students’ project. She asked me to drop them offshore when I had time with the purpose of seeing where they might end up and hoping students would receive return letters from those who found one of these bottles, read the note inside, and write back to these kids.
Ironically, I did this very same thing when I was around 9 years old and, months after I let my message in a bottle drift away, I got a letter from a man in England! Obviously, it had traveled across the Atlantic in the Gulf Stream, so doing this for Julie was tops on my list.
Instead of dropping them all in one location, Dan, Bill and I would stop every 50 to 75 miles, drop one or two overboard and mark the latitude and longitude location. With all bottles floating out there somewhere and the boat back on Hilton Head, it ranks up there as one of the best trips ever.
Oh, the boat’s name is Game On, it has a gray hull, and believe me when I say when she goes by, you sure as heck can’t miss it.
Collins Doughtie, a 60-year resident of the Lowcountry, is a sportsman, graphic artist, and lover of nature. firstname.lastname@example.org