Hell's Bay Boatworks is celebrating its 10th year with a new boat. Coincidentally, Hell's Bay - the just released book in James W. Hall's popular Thorn murder mystery collection of novels - is the 10th in the series.
The two will meet at the Miami International Boat Show as Hell's Bay introduces its newest 18' skiff the Boca Grande and Hall signs his newest novel in the show booth #3390 on Sunday. Both the book and boat line are named for the legendary area in the middle of Florida's Everglades that old time Floridians said was "hell to get into and hell to get out of."
The New Boat
Chris Peterson, the company's new owner and president who just a year ago bought the decade-old company, has spent countless hours rebuilding its proud name as the builder of remarkably shallow-water performance boats for passionate fishermen and guides.
He described the Boca Grande, Hell's Bay Boatworks' newest model as "a hybrid between two of Hell's Bay's popular 18 ft. models -- the Guide and the Marquesa -- with the best qualities of each.
"The skiff is also 18', a little beamier (80 ") than our Marquesa with a 14 degree dead rise. It rides as well in a chop as the Marquesa and is a little more stable yet is still true to Hell's Bay heritage of taking avid anglers into "skinny" fishing waters they never thought possible.
"It floats shallower than the Marquesa with a 6" draft depending on how it's rigged. The boat came about through interviews with our customers and guides wanting a bigger boat that could take rough water and be dry at the same time. The Boca Grande will take an outboard up to 130 hp."
"It won't be a boat for everybody, which is why Hell's Bay now offers five different models in the 18 foot range, but it's an excellent poling skiff, quiet with no hull slap. It has all the built-in attributes of a Hell's Bay, constructed the same way with a wider bow with more displacement and featuring a large foredeck," said Peterson. "It's larger and more stable easily allowing two anglers to double up and fish on the deck at one time."
Along with the Boca Grande and Marquesa, Hell's Bay will also showcase its Devil Ray a 14.8 ft. boat popular as a tender/flats skiff on large yachts.
"We'll also have a trio of respected guides there including Captains Bob Branham of Biscayne Bay, Greg Poland of Islamorada and David Rodgers from Mosquito Lagoon."
The New Book
Best selling and Edgar Award winning author James W. Hall will be at the Hell's Bay booth on Sunday, Feb. 17th from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. signing the novel that Publisher's Weekly calls "another compulsive page-turner from a master of suspense," and the NY Times Book Review declared "if violence can be poetic, Hall has the lyric voice for it."
A Key Largo resident and former owner of a Hell's Bay, Hall has fished countless times with Capt. Geoff Colmes, a Hell's Bay guide to whom Hall has dedicated the book.
"The idea for the book came from Geoff who created a houseboat as a mothership to live on while fishing deep in the Everglades," said Peterson. "Local personalities are mentioned in the novel including a fly created by Florida Keys legend Rick Ruoff.
"Hall's reclusive hero is Thorn, a fishing guide and outdoorsman with little use for society especially industrialists involved in the creeping destruction of the state's natural environment." Peterson smiled. "It's a very enjoyable book that's hard to put down with Thorn repeatedly taking on criminals in a carnivore's paradise, thick with alligators and sharks and just as many twists and turns as there is in getting in and out of Hell's Bay."
Find out more about Hell's Bay Boats at www.hellsbayboatworks.com.
Purchase Hell's Bay at amazon.com.