Boat Show Wrap-Up

I just returned from the always-exciting Miami International Boat Show (my 19th in a row) and, as usual, I had a pretty wonderful time catching up with old friends and checking out new products heading into the marketplace.

The show got off to a good start at a Hatteras media party Wednesday night where the always stalwart company unveiled a new GT63 EFB enclosed flybridge model that does 40 knots. And she doesn't look like a wedding cake.

Furuno kicked things up a notch ­ putting on one of the best product demonstrations I've ever seen in introducing their new Navnet TZ Touch ­ the industry's first multi-touch multi-function display. It was simply amazing. The unit comes in two sizes 9-inch or 14.1 inches and connects easily through a wi-fi connection to IPhones and IPads. And when it gets too rough, the intuitive RotoKey knob allows you to make quick, decisive adjustments. Check out a** full demonstration of it here**.

I toured the convention center Thursday and made my first stop at the AFTCO booth. Those fellas always seem to have something good cooking so I stopped in to check things out. I knew that Greg Stotesbury and Bill Shedd has been working feverishly on a new drag gauge that could be mounted on a fishing rod and sure enough they had it ready for market this year. The ARDT (Aftco Reel Drag Technology) can be built into a custom rod or fits a standard #2 reel seat. The unit actually measures the drag that the line is pulling off the reel to the nearest pound. This will allow you to put the heat on the fish, catching them faster without fear of breaking off. I can't wait to give it a try. You can even get one to work with a spinning reel, so for the first time ever you can tell how much drag you've go on your spinner!

Thursday night I finally got a chance to visit Joe's Stone Crab for the first time thanks to the Andy Newman and the Florida Keys, Florida Keys Fishing Tournaments Inc. and the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament.

Andy's been trying to get me to this event for years and I've always had a commitment on Thursday night at the show. I made sure to leave room for the event this year and I'm sure glad that I did! You gotta love a stone crab.

On Friday I watched Pete do our seminar ­— man that boy can talk — ­ and then hung out at the Big Game Room for John Brownlee's induction into the Big Game Room Hall of Fame. Introduced as the Sexiest Voice in Sportfishing, Brownlee has worked tirelessly for the conservation of all sorts of fish over his long and illustrious career with Salt Water Sportsman and The Billfish Foundation. He accomplishments are too lengthy to list here and I can't think of anyone more deserving of the honor. (Although according to the fashion police at door of the Delano Hotel he doesn't have the best fashion sense. Entry denied.)

Since we couldn't get into the Delano (I was wearing shorts and high tops) it was off to the Clevelander. Again, always a good time — up to a point. I got back to the hotel around 4:30 a.m. and stayed up until around 6:00 a.m.

I had to shoot a segment for the Chevy Florida Insider Report TV show at 11:00, so I got up at 8:30, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and headed out to collect some products for the show. Got it all together, shot the show and headed home on the three-hour drive to see my boy play the championship game in his basketball league. Down by one with 43 seconds left he stole the inbound pass and called time out. His team converted the basket and they ended up winning by a point! My boy Spencer is quite a scrapper!