There’s finally some light at the end of this epically and unexpectedly long Covid-19 tunnel, but before we get there, we have to come to grips with the fact that we just missed the Baltimore Boat Show. I have personally attended this show each and every winter since the days when Captain Dad held a firm grip on my pint-sized hand at all times. But, not in 2021. It’s the first time in memory that I won’t make the frigid walk from a distant parking lot to the Baltimore Convention Center, the first time I won’t enjoy that luscious Convention Center food, and most importantly, the first time I won’t be able to ogle the dozens and dozens of center consoles, runabouts, and cuddy cabins on display. Woe is me… but for most folks, it’s even woe-ier. Truth be told I’m luckier than the average boat-nut, because I’m still getting press releases, invitations to virtual press conferences, and personal invites to check out hot new fishing machines. So although there’s no show in the big B, I do know about and have at least gotten a glimpse or two of what would have been there in a (much longed-for, please make it so ASAP) normal year. To that end, dear FishTalk readers, we thought it would be nice to bring you a rundown of the top five things you would have, could have, should have seen at the Baltimore Boat Show this month.
- Caymas 341 CC - The Caymas 341 CC was unveiled to the world at the February 2020 Miami International Boat Show, just before Covid’s evil was unleashed. We would have spotted it in our neck of the woods at the Annapolis show, but alas, that one didn’t happen either. Now, you won’t be able to see it at Baltimore. Had you, it’s a sure bet you’d have found it impressive. I was lucky enough to get in a day of fishing aboard this 33’6” long, 10’0” wide offshore fishing machine this fall, and while the 70-gallon pressurized livewell and 125-gallon fishbox wowed me, the coolest characteristic IMHO was our ability to rip across the water at speeds up to 60 mph and enjoy a “mellow” cruise in the low- to mid-40s. The seriously tricked-out SVVT twin-step hull is a thing of beauty to behold. We’re bummed you have to miss this one, but you can schedule your own personal boat show of sorts to see the 341 CC in the Mid-Atlantic region by calling North Point Yacht Sales at (410) 280-2038 in Maryland, (804) 885-4090 in Virginia.
Spirit 1.0 Plus - The world of electric outboards is growing, and the newest offering from ePropulsion is an eye-opener. They sent us a test-model of this three-horse mini-might to try out this winter, and the results were rather shocking: on a 10’ pond-hopper previously rigged with a 55-pound thrust 12-volt electric, speeds doubled, range quadrupled, and battery weight was halved. The killer feature is an integrated lithium-ion polymer battery that clips onto the motor itself, eliminating multiple carry-on batteries and loose wires. The 1276 watt-hour power pack tips the scales at a mere 19.4 pounds and when millpond fishing for entire days at a time we have yet to burn up more than a quarter of the available juice. Check out ePropulsion online since seeing it at the boat show isn’t an option (boo!).
- Humminbird Apex - Had you been able to attend the show and meandered from the boats to the accessories, undoubtedly you would have been intrigued when you saw the all-new Humminbird Apex. Thus far we haven’t been able to do more than look at one ourselves, although we’re currently setting up a long-term test on one so that we’ll be able to report back to you in the future. Meanwhile, note that this is Humminbird’s new top offering, incorporating tip top tech like MEGA Imaging (Side Imaging+ as well as Down Imaging+), Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar, a full HD 1920 x 1080 touchscreen plus tactile keypad, One-Boat network integration, dual-core processing, and both flush and binnacle mounting options. These big beauties are available in 13.3”, 15.6”, and 18.5” displays. Visit hummingbird.com to get the scoop.
- Sportsman Open 302 CC - After last year’s introduction of the Open 352 and the 2019 intro of the 267 OE, one might think that Sportsman Boats would take a breather for the 2021 model year. One would be wrong. They’ve kept up the new model pace with the 2021 302 CC, an all-new fishing machine that features a pair of 30-gallon insulated, pressurized “aquarium” style livewells with viewing ports, an integrated pod that can house a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer, a pair of 64-gallon insulated, macerated fishboxes, and a leaning post tackle station that’s large enough to hold a full selection of both inshore and offshore gear. Added Bonus: make sure you slap an eyeball on the hard top, which integrates speaker, light, outrigger, and overhead electronics mounting and is supported by uber-beefy extruded D-tubing. Double-Super Added Bonus: Due to the absence of the Baltimore show, area dealer Riverside Marine is holding its own winter boat show at its Essex, MD location through the month of February. Thirty boats will be on display in a huge heated tent and there may be demo rides, weather permitting. Call (410) 686-1500 to make an appointment.
- Robalo R230 - Robalo has recreated it’s 23’ center console offering, and no doubt it would have made a visit to Baltimore this year. Luckily, we got a peek at it during a visit to Waterfront Marine over the winter. What really reached out and grabbed us about this model was its comprehensive outfitting with tons of standard goodies that most other builders list as cost-adding options. A T-top with four rocket launchers, spreader lights, and a stowage compartment; digital gauges; hydraulic tilt steering; a lighted compass; a portable MSD; cockpit and bow coaming bolsters; four leaning post rocket launchers; an aluminum tandem axel trailer with a folding jack and LED lights — all of these things are standard features. And that’s on top of the stuff you expect, like the 25-gallon LED-lighted livewell, four flush-mount gunwale rodholders, and raw water washdown. Waterfront are the folks to ping, if you want to get your own personal time with the R230. Visit Waterfront Marine or call (443) 949-9041 to set up a viewing.
Naturally, had we enjoyed a 2021 Baltimore Boat Show there would have been lots of other boats and accessories to check out. And we’d have been standing in the FishTalk booth, waiting for you to swing by and chat a bit about the latest hot bite. Alas, it was not to be. And while we may have quite a wait before the 2022 Baltimore Boat Show, as of now it looks like the Bay Bridge Boat Show is a “go” for April 16 through 18 — we sure hope we’ll see you there.