Vest-pocket fishermen are the latest boating rage in Southern waters—unsinkable craft with center-console steering and outboard power which can hug the bonefish flats or go offshore into tuna and marlin deeps with speed and safety. They came into being when the Bahamian Crown Colony Club asked Designer Fred Coburn to concoct just such a switch hitter. His response was the Aquasport and, as these pages reveal, other makes followed fast. Since the basic cost is a moderate $5,000 for a hull and a big outboard, nothing thrills the skipper of a traditional sport-fisherman so little as seeing a center-console man outfish his far more expensive craft. It happens all the time.
Kingfish are the quarry of Jud Garvin, builder of the Robalo, as he points a 19-foot model into the Gulf. Forward is a platform from which he casts for shallow-water fish; astern are fighting chairs. Top, Garvin runs home with outriggers still spread.
Powering Out past Miami's Government Cut, Leon Sands, 62, steers his 20-foot SeaCraft toward a day's fishing. Sands dispenses with outriggers, instead flies a kite from the rod angling aft. At left, the stability of a 17-foot Mako is evident as Jim Dietz and Guide Bob Marvin prepare to release a small bonefish.
Father of the breed, Fred Co-burn glides an Aquasport into Miami's Dinney Key Marina. He has pushed one 230 miles across the Gulf Stream from West Palm Beach, Fla. to Hope Town, off Great Abaco, in 14 hours.
All the boats shown have fiber-glass hulls and self-bailing cockpits. The Robalo on the first color page is 19 feet overall with 8-foot beam and 9-inch draft. Basic $2,995 price covers two Pompanette fighting chairs, nonskid footing, teak rod racks, 60-gallon fuel tank. Extras include sunshade ($150), outriggers ($120), pulpit ($105). Twin 800 Mercury outboards cost $2,806. Builder: Robalo Marine, Sanford, Fla. Overleaf, the 20-foot SeaCraft has a 7'6" beam and draws 12 inches. Price: $2,490. Standard features: 40-gallon fuel tank, icebox, live-bait well, fish box. The kite rig is $50 extra (Lewis Products, Kendall, Fla.), outriggers cost $105, the high bow rail $140, the current Mercury 1350 outboard $1,787 (SeaCraft also builds a 27-foot model). SeaCraft Inc., Princeton, Fla. The 17-foot Mako is 7'2" wide, draws 7 inches. Price: $1,895. Standard features: 18-gallon fuel tank, two iceboxes, bait well, running and anchor lights. Options: a helmsman's chair ($80); a custom package adding a large console, windshield and 30-gallon tank to basic boat ($175). The Evinrude 85 outboard: $1,415; also available in 19- and 22-foot models. Mako Marine, Hialeah, Fla. Opposite, the 22-foot Aquasport has a 7'10" beam, eight-inch draft. Price: $2,695. Standard features: 28-gallon fuel tank, teak rod racks, casting platform; Aquasport also builds 17- and 19-foot models. The Johnson 115 engine: $1,610. Aquasport, Inc., Hialeah.