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Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Bay Boat, Boating Lifestyle, Center Console, Fishing, Saltwater Fishing, US |

Boating is a Game of Firsts

Even an old guy can spend a couple of days on the water and experience new things.

If you’ve read any of my blogs here lately, you might be getting tired of my boasting about about some of the cool things that working with allows me to do, such as helping film cool fishing shows. If you are, stop reading, because I’m about to tell you about some more. But if you’re curious about what going 70-plus mph on a boat feels like, or don’t know what the heck a snook is, well, read on.

Marine journalists wait during sunrise to chase after the big ones at this year's Maverick Boat Company media event.

Marine journalists wait to chase after the big ones at this year’s Maverick Boat Company media event.

It was back in May when I got the invitation to attend Maverick Boat Company’s annual media event in Stuart, FL. Now, truth be told, some of these events can be more work than play, so I might not have normally been too excited. But Maverick doesn’t work like that—it actually puts you on its boats doing exactly what they’re designed to do: go fast and catch fish. Plus, I’d have the opportunity to check out some new models. In any event, they didn’t have to ask me twice.

The type of fishing we’d be doing was just my thing: casting to hungry fish in shallow water. In this case, our quarry would be snook, an aggressive, hard-fighting game fish found in warm, sub-tropical waters. To get to those fish, we’d use Pathfinder 2600 HPS and 2200 TRS bay boats loaded with all the coolest new gear from Raymarine, Yamaha, Power-Pole, Shimano, and MotorGuide. Local guides Capt. Geoff Page and Capt. John Meskauskas were there to put us on the action.

Nine hundred four-stroke horses at 70-plus mph.

Nine hundred four-stroke horses at 70-plus mph. Scary? Sort of.

Unfortunately, the first day was tough. Of the three boats that went out, most only caught a couple of fish. In fact, my boat didn’t catch any. Plus, it was so stinking hot and humid that we all joked that scuba gear might be useful for breathing. So, with the fishing being poor and the weather even worse, I took the latter part of the day to spend some time getting to know another boat in the Maverick stable, the Cobia 344CC center console. Did I mention that it was tipped with three Yamaha F300 outboards? I didn’t? Well, it was tipped with three Yamaha F300 outboards.

Out on the Indian River, that 900-horsepower bank of outboards not only pushed a stiff and welcome breeze through my hair, it also launched the Cobia 344CC to 72 mph—the first time I’d ever been above 60 mph in a boat. And it’s not that the boat feels out of control at that speed; in fact, it’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s because the force of the air whipping by at that speed can knock you off your feet. Me personally? I enjoyed the sensation of the skin peeling back off my face. It was fun, to say the least.

The next morning I had the Pathfinder 2200 TRS and Capt. John Meskauskas all to myself. Within 10 minutes of pushing the Power-Pole anchor into the sand, I’d landed my first snook. A small snook, mind you, but my first one, nonetheless. Capt. John took me farther back into the St. Lucie River over the next few hours where I’d land another snook and even catch my first jack crevalle. Then it was time for a series of flight delays and cramped economy seating before arriving back to reality. I know, there are worse problems to have.

My first snook. The fish was released to fight another day. Photo: Capt. John Meskauskas

My first snook. The fish was released to fight another day. Photo: Capt. John Meskauskas

What I took from the event was not only a new appreciation for the fine fishing boats that Maverick builds, but also the realization that even for a middle-aged guy like me, a day of boating is almost always filled with a “first” of some sort—sometimes even two. Maybe that’s why we do it.