Tim Phillips has owned an enviable string of Spencer Yachts in the past, having built two 60-footers and two 70-footers with the North Carolina boatbuilder. So when it came to designing a new outboard-powered 48, he knew right where to turn. And while the latest Bid Time was planned as a gameboat to accompany a mothership on worldwide fishing adventures, a family tragedy necessitated a change of plans, and Phillips has nothing but praise for the builder: “We talked a lot about what we wanted in this boat, and Paul [Spencer] and his team delivered, just as they have done for us with our other boats. It’s really been a pleasure working with them over the years.”
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Home-ported in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Bid Time is equally adept trolling for sails off the East Coast as she is venturing to the Bahamas for blue marlin and tuna off West End, or heading south, fishing through the Florida Keys and Key West, where the owners have a vacation home. One important criteria for the new boat was the famed Spencer ride. “We needed a boat that rides extremely well, and this one sure does,” Phillips says. “We recently ran 120 nautical miles from Key West to Pulley Ridge to go bottomfishing, and it was 3- to 5-foot seas when we left. Not many other outboard boats would have even left the dock, but we had zero problems and a soft ride all the way out there and back. The boat rides like a 60-footer and runs great.” Quad Yamaha 425 hp outboards combined with Spencer’s first stepped-hull bottom give the boat outstanding performance, with a top end of more than 50 miles per hour. The outboards also have excellent shallow-draft capability as well.
The ability to fish in a variety of situations was also important, and that starts with the boat’s cockpit. In a word, it’s huge, nearly as large as that of a 60-footer. The teak deck and covering boards echo that big-boat feel, as does the rocket launcher and truly massive in-deck fish boxes. “We needed big kill boxes that were well-insulated for long-range trips, and these have no problem keeping ice for days,” Phillips reports. A third consideration: live-bait capacity. The team at Spencer Yachts designed the boat’s livewell systems to suit the owner’s needs for separate storage of pilchards and goggle-eyes, perfect for kite-fishing in the Keys. Electric outlets in the cockpit also make deep-dropping a snap.
Entering the command deck past the split-level mezzanine, the centerline helm has ample room for a pair of Garmin multifunction displays and joystick control for the engines; additional electronics are in the gap tower high above. Entry to the spacious salon is located to port of the helm, where you’re greeted by glowing, satin-finished teak and ample luxury reminiscent of a much larger vessel. Bid Time sleeps four comfortably, while the Quick gyrostabilizer smooths things out while underway or at anchor—one large centerline hatch lifts for access to the below-deck spaces housing the gyro, fuel filters and other systems. “We doubled the size of the gyro to make sure we were well-stabilized, and it works great keeping it really smooth,” Phillips says. “This boat is very big for 48 feet—most other outboards this size would fit inside this one.”
Rod and tackle storage was another key point—no sense in switching gears if you can’t lay your hands on the correct rods, reels and tackle in a hurry. Bid Time can store 50 or more different outfits, so things are ready to go should the plans change from trolling to bottomfishing or from kite-fishing to deep-dropping.
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But all that doesn’t do much good if you don’t have the range to get to the fish, which was a final check mark on the owner’s wish list. With 860 gallons available, that’s not an issue. “On our last trip, we ran 330 nautical miles and had the fuel to run 100 more if we needed to,” Phillips says. “It just makes sense when we’re building the boat to have plenty of fuel capacity.”
Of Bid Time, Paul Spencer says: “It’s always fun to work with an experienced, knowledgeable owner who really gets into his fishing and understands what he wants in a boat. It’s our job to deliver those expectations.” The result is a stunning beauty that not just meets, but exceeds, those expectations in every respect.