Boat Review: Knowles 37 WA

Knowles creates the ultimate light-tackle fishing boat by copying the design that kept Nick Smith's Old Reliable a legend.

Ask 10 hard-core sailfishermen in south Florida who's got the best boat for the sport, and nine of them will tell you Nick Smith - perennial Palm Beach tournament winner and owner of the Knowles 37 Walkaround Old Reliable. Famous throughout the region for its fishability, the Old Reliable has been for nine years a one-of-a-kind masterpiece for chasing multiple hookups of billfish on light tackle.

Now, however, builder Bill Knowles has tooled up his Stuart facility for manufacturing the 37 Walkaround for all those who have envied Smith for just a little too long. The 37-footer is based primarily on Smith's successful design, which deems fishability as the only criteria worthy of attention.

The boat easily handles doubleheaders, from either end, and the boat's walk-around ability means you can idle ahead on difficult fish rather than back down. The width of the catwalk and depth of the cockpit allow an angler to lock his knees under the covering boards to reach the water to handle fish safely with both hands. Inside the cuddy, Knowles minimizes luxury and instead provides a large toilet area and expansive storage, with plenty of room for extra rods. (Of course, Knowles offers berths and a host of other options if a buyer desires them.)

Another noteworthy trait of the 37 is that its 12-foot beam and light weight make the boat trailerable.
Several engine packages are available to reach a 30-knot cruise.