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The Wish List for Boat Upgrades

Any boat owner can relate to this

April 15, 2020
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Fishing wish list illustration.
Some wish lists are longer than others. Carlo Giambarresi

There have been so many great improvements to our sport-fishing boats over the past decade that it’s hard to keep up with everything. We started with mezzanine seating, then added air conditioning overhead of the seating, then went to ice makers and spot-free water systems, and then gyrostabilizers and omnidirectional sonars. Some of these were on my Christmas list last year.

There were so many of the new omni sonar units being installed on boats in Costa Rica in the past year that you would think they might soon be banging outriggers ­chasing the same fish. I wish I had one; it would give me at least one less excuse as to why I couldn’t seem to drive over a billfish on those slow days.

We did have a couple of rough days on the seamounts that had me looking for room in the boat to install a gyrostabilizer. With my G&S, I don’t need a Spot Zero because I don’t have any varnish, and a few water spots don’t really bother me too much. An air-conditioned mezzanine, well, I shudder to think what that refit would cost me, so it’s probably not in the budget. But I did get the new Shimano BFC reels, and they’re ­definitely worth it.

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One item that I’m really impressed with is the Humphree trim-tab ­system. For years, we’ve all seen ­stainless-steel plates sticking off the back of the transom, or others that come up flush to the bottom of the boat. And as we continue to back down on gamefish, these trim tabs continue to break, even though the manufacturers improve their designs seemingly every year. Most all boats need tabs, including big yachts, sport-fishers and center-consoles.

I have been a guest on many boats, and when conditions required trim tabs, I asked the owner/operator if they had tabs; the answer was usually yes. Then I asked if they worked. When I got another yes, I just sat back and took a beating. Dropping the bow down would have helped smooth out the ride, but the boat might have gotten a little wet instead of the hull falling off each wave and pounding the life out of us all.

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I remember a boat on its way to Texas from Florida, and it was taking a beating in a head sea. The captain called his dad when the crew stopped for fuel; his father told him to tie the largest-diameter dock line they had under the hull from stern cleat to stern cleat, forward of the rudders, and that would help keep the bow down for the next leg of the trip. The captain did as he was instructed and said it worked perfectly. I have tried it and it does work—it’s like a giant wedge under the boat.

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The Hooker could use a ­little tab when it’s full of fuel. The trim-tab pockets were glassed in long ago because the tabs would not stay attached to the boat with all the backing down we did. When I first saw these Humphree tabs, I was like, Where were these when I needed them? It’s such a simple idea—basically just a plate that moves up and down on each side of the transom. There’s no way it can rip off when backing down, and you also don’t have to worry about an angler having the line touch a trim tab and ­cutting off a fish.

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I can’t wait to have this system installed on my boat. I hope the company accepts credit cards.

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