Navigate a Boat Show Like a Pro

Whether you’re hoping to score a boat show special, want to trade fishing secrets with local pros, or just enjoy spending the day playing with the latest marine gadgets, having a plan of attack pays off. The Fort Myers Boat Show is just over a week away and with so much to see and do, we gathered our favorite boat show survival tips to help you make the most of your experience.

Read more “Navigate a Boat Show Like a Pro”

2018 Fort Myers Boat Show

The 46th Annual Fort Myers Boat Show will be hitting the streets and waters of the River District from November 15-18, 2018. The event will run Thursday through Sunday, bringing all the top marine industry brands, products and services together in one place. Although construction on the Harborside Event Center is underway, it’s not stopping us from putting on the biggest and best boat show yet!

Read more “2018 Fort Myers Boat Show”

Buying your first boat: Navigating the sea of options

IMG_0233-2

 

Living on a planet that is 2/3 water might qualify a boat as a necessity rather than a luxury. We could not agree more! So let’s get down to the necessities of your shopping criteria and get you started.

Question 1 – What kind of boat?

Your first step is to determine the type of boat that will suit your needs, and that is based on how you plan to use the boat. There are three main boating activities: cruising, fishing, and watersports. While many boats can be used for two or even all three activities, the chart below shows the type of boat and its primary use.

 Day Boating  Cruising  Fishing Watersports
Bowrider/Runabout Overnighter Jon Boat Personal Watercraft
Deck Boat Motorycht Bass Boat Bowrider/Runabout
Pontoon Boat Express Cruiser Flats Boat Ski/Tow Boat
High Performance Trawler Center Console Wakesurfing Boat
Walkaround Jet Boat
Convertible Rigid Inflatable

Day boats are designed to entertain guests and deliver good performance. They are intended (as the name implies) to be taken out for the day and not stayed on overnight.

Cruising boats are also designed for entertaining guests but are not typically as fast or agile as a smaller day boat. They offer cabins and overnighting capabilities, and typically include a head (toilet area) and some form of galley (kitchen) equipment.

Fishing boats are designed with open cockpits in the rear of the boat to maximize the deck space needed for fishing. Plus, they are usually equipped with specialized storage areas and compartments for rods, tackle, bait and the day’s catch.

Watersports boats are designed for waterskiing, wake boarding and towing various water toys at speed. They range from basic sport boats and jet boats to specialized tow boats—which tend to be for the more experienced tow sports enthusiast.

Question 2 – What Size?

Boat size is an important consideration. The bigger the boat, the more features it typically has—like cabins, galleys (kitchens), heads (toilet areas), and so on. The downside to bigger boats is they are more costly to buy, operate and maintain, have more systems to understand and operate, and might not be trailerable. When you’re first getting started in boating, we recommend your first boat be no larger than 24 feet. This, of course, must be balanced with the amount of passengers and gear you plan to bring aboard. Resist the urge to go too big too soon.

IMG_5173

Question 3 – New or Used?

The next step is to decide if you want to buy a new or a used boat. Each has its pros and cons—not unlike cars. New boats should provide you with trouble-free operation right from the start. They are sold by dealers who order them direct from the factory and, provided they get the right dealer-prep, are in first-class condition.

Before buying a new boat, make sure the dealer you are considering will support you after the sale throughout your term of ownership. Ask around at boat shows and at the dealer’s location to make sure you’re buying from a reputable dealer with a strong commitment to customer service.

The downside to new boats is they cost more than a similar used boat, but when you buy new you are entitled to all the warranty coverage and manufacturer’s support that comes with buying a new boat.

A used boat may or may not still be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. These can be sold by a) dealers (who’ve taken the used boat in on trade), b) brokers (who don’t own any boats, they just represent them for sale), or c) private individuals. You take a greater risk on the overall quality of a used boat than you do on a new boat since you don’t know the history of the boat, its maintenance, or whether it’s been involved in any type of accident or suffered any damage.

Many of us will bring a used car to our mechanic prior to finalizing the purchase of a used car. By the same token, you can (and should) hire a marine surveyor to go over the boat carefully. The survey will uncover any problems with the boat, and let you know whether you’re getting a good deal or just buying somebody else’s headache.

Question 4 – Which Make and Model?

Once you decided which type of boat and whether to buy new or used, the next step is to narrow your search down to which boats you want to actually see firsthand and take for a test drive.

There are several magazines and websites that regularly do roundups and buyers guides to help you with your research. BoatTEST.com is one good example. They classify boats by type and have helpful video tests online so you can see the boats run and get the tester’s opinions on where can save you countless hours as you do your research.

The Bonita Springs Show

BonitaFBeventPhoto

Fort Myers, FL – Southwest Florida’s prime boating season is fast approaching and the Bonita Springs Boat Show, March 5-8 at the Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Track is the perfect chance to get ready. Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association’s 26th Annual springtime show offers a wide variety of boats and accessories.

“This is just a great location for a show in the very heart of our boating community,” said show manager John Good. “We have a huge display of boats and products and more parking than we could ever use. Some shows are such a hassle to get to, but this location on Bonita Beach Road between I-75 and U.S 41 is perfect.”

Nearly every major area dealer is on hand, representing almost 60 different boat lines. Just about every type of boat used in Southwest Florida up to about 35’ will be on display. A 180’ tent houses accessory displays. Everything from engines and electronics to boat lifts, to marine accessories to clothing and gifts items, to a wide variety of services.

Fishin’ Frank and his crew will be conducting seminars throughout the four day show. Fishing guides and experts will be on hand to answer questions and just talk fishing. The U.S. Coast Guard and Power Squadron can answer questions about boat safety and visitors will find lots of information about where to go and how to enjoy Southwest Florida waters.

Show hours are 10AM-6PM, Thursday – Saturday and 10AM – 5PM on Sunday. Admission is $8.00 (kids under 16 are free with paid adult admission). Parking is free. The Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Track is located at 10601 Bonita Beach Road SE Bonita Springs, FL 34135.

For more information about the show and about boating in Southwest Florida, visit goboatingflorida.com or contact: Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association at 239-656-7083.

THE 14th ANNUAL CHARLOTTE COUNTY BOAT SHOW JANUARY 15-18, 2015

THE 14th ANNUAL CHARLOTTE COUNTY BOAT SHOW
JANUARY 15-18, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL – Charlotte County is home to just about the finest boating waters in the United States and The 14th Annual Charlotte County Boat Show is coming to the Charlotte County Fairgrounds, January 15th – 18th. This is the area’s largest showing of boats and marine products and a great chance to see what is new in 2015.

Every major dealer will be on hand with more than 250 boats estimated to be on display. The Fairground’s Expo Hall will be loaded with a variety of marine accessories and services. There will be supplies and accessories, boat lifts, clothing, yacht brokers, marinas, boatyards, service suppliers and more.

The show is a great opportunity to learn more about area boating and safety. The U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron, and local Yacht Clubs can answer just about any questions you may have about where to go and how to enjoy the amazing boating waters of Charlotte Harbor.

The ever popular Fishin’ Franks Bait & Tackle will hold Fishing Seminars throughout the four days. You can learn from and talk with area guides about both inshore and offshore fishing. You’ll never find a friendlier or more experienced crew than Fishin’ Frank’s team, always happy to answer all your questions. With Frank’s popular Fishing Simulator, you can experience the excitement of catching everything form a bass to a marlin. It’s all free. Just stop by the seminar area.

Admission to the show is free. There is a $5.00 parking fee for very convenient on-site parking. The show is open from 10AM-6PM Thursday through Saturday and 10AM-5PM on Sunday.

The Boat Show is located on the north end of Port Charlotte at the Charlotte County Fairgrounds. 2333 El Jobean Road (Route 776), Port Charlotte FL 33948. About 3 miles west of U.S. 41. Across the street from the Charlotte County Sports Complex (Spring Training site of the Tampa Bay Rays).

The CHARLOTTE COUNTY BOAT SHOW is owned by the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association. The association, whose membership includes virtually every boat dealer and marine related company in Southwest Florida, has protected the rights of boaters and promoted boating and the marine industry in Southwest Florida for more than 40 years. The association also owns the BONITA SPRINGS BOAT SHOW, held at the Naples Ft. Myers Greyhound Track in March and the FORT MYERS BOAT SHOW, held in downtown Fort Myers in November.

Complete show details can be found at www.goboatingflorida.com.

The 42nd Annual Fort Myers Boat Show Set to Make a Splash!

BoatshowHeaderimage

Southwest Florida’s largest and most anticipated boat show returns for it’s 42nd annual exhibition of boats, equipment and seminars. The event will be held in the Harborside Event Center and the City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin Thursday, Nov. 13 through Sunday, Nov. 16. The show will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“Few other shows in the country are able to offer both indoor and in-water viewing of boats and accessories.” says show manager, John Good. “This promises to be our largest in-water display in many years!”

The Harborside Event Center will be filled to capacity with boats and marine accessories. A new accessory display area has also been added along Hendry Street facing the marina. This leads to the “Welcome to the Water” Boating Lifestyle area in the City Pier Building on the river.

Fishing, Diving, Paddlesports, Boat Maintenance Tips and other boating how-to information will be on display inside and outside. Local fishing expert Fishin’ Frank will host a series of seminars covering techniques to catch many popular Gulf Coast species. Frank’s guides will be on hand throughout the show to offer advice on making the most of your fishing time on the water. The popular “Fishing Simulator” returns giving show visitors the chance to catch everything from bass to billfish.

Saturday and Sunday, one of Florida’s top divers, Jim “Chiefy” Mathie will hold seminars on spear fishing and catching lobster. Mathie is the author of two books, “Catching the Spear-it” and “Catching the Bug” that offer detailed information on improving your diving skills.

Boats however are still the show’s main draw. Every type of boat from kayaks and inflatables to yachts and everything in between. There will be more than 40 companies displaying boats, representing more than 90 boat lines, plus over 40 brokerage boats in-water.

Food and beverages will be available inside the event as well as several new downtown restaurants. Admission is $10.00 per person, per day and free for children under 16 with a paid adult admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door. For more information about the show, click here.

SWFMIA Spring Boat Show Moving To Bonita Springs.

1926714_824180187607470_874576847_n

Fort Myers, FL  –  The  Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association has relocated its 25th Annual Spring Boat Show, to the Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Track in Bonita Springs, March 6th -9th.

“After more than twenty years at the Lee Civic Center in North Ft. Myers it was time for a change and we could not be more excited about this new venue,” commented John Good, Boat Show Manager.  “It moves our show into the heart of a fast growing population base of Southwest Florida Boaters and gives us a great geographical spread for our three annual shows.  We now have a show in Bonita Springs, our Fort Myers Boat Show, downtown in November, and our Charlotte County Boat Show in January in Port Charlotte.”

The Greyhound Track is located on Bonita Beach Road between I-75 and U.S. 41.  The site offers all the space needed for boat and accessory displays in one area and there is more than ample on-site parking.  “We do not see a downside to this location,” says Good.  “It’s convenient, very easy to find and all displays will be in a large paved parking area.”

Nearly all the area’s major dealers will be on hand with hundreds of boats on display.  The show will feature a wide variety of booth displays with all kinds of marine accessories, and services.  Port Charlotte’s “Fishin’ Frank” and his crew of experienced and entertaining guides will conduct fishing seminars all four days of the show.  Frank’s new fishing simulator will give show visitors a chance to experience the excitement of fighting everything from bass to billfish.

This is a great opportunity to see, compare and buy boats and accessories.  Boat shows are always so appealing to the public because you can shop without driving all over Southwest Florida.  But more than that, if you are new to the area or thinking about getting into boating, the show is a great learning experience.  What do you want to do on the water?  What kind of boat fits your budget?  What about financing and insurance?  What kind of accessories do you need?  How about a boat lift?  How can I learn about safe boat operation?   Where are fun places to go on a boat?  You can answer all those questions at the show.

We’re even bringing our Caloosa Café & Pub that is such a hit at our November Show, featuring great food and all kinds of drinks.  And, of course, the Greyhound Track and Poker Room will be in full operation throughout the show.

Show hours are 10AM-6PM, Thursday – Saturday and 10AM – 5PM on Sunday.  Admission is $8.00 (kids under 16 are free with paid adult admission).  Parking is free.  The Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Track is located at 10601 Bonita Beach Road SE Bonita Springs, FL  34135.

For more information about the show and about boating in Southwest Florida,  visit www.goboatingflorida.com or contact:   The Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association.  239-656-7083.  info@swfmia.com.

The winds and recent ‘cold’ fronts have made it a little difficult” Says Captain Terry

(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) The Ft. Myers boat show was a huge success with lots of people interested in many aspects of the Marine Industry including boating and fishing. I enjoyed sharing fishing techniques and offering suggestions during my seminars on how to locate and catch Redfish, Snook and Seatrout on the ‘flats’ and in the ‘back waters’ of the bays. Since then, I have been extremely busy with requests from clients on how to navigate and fish the waters in the Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Charlotte Harbor areas, ‘on board’ their vessels.

franks refish1Additionally, I have enjoyed taking new clients fishing on my vessel. Pictured here is Mr. Frank Miller of Floren, New Jersey with his 29” Redfish caught early last week on a Pilchard in the ‘back-country’ of Pine Island Sound. Unfortunately, the winds and recent ‘cold’ fronts have made it a little more difficult but the fish have still been fairly active and the next week or so should be good with the approach of a ‘new moon’.

In closing, I will be in the Maldives (Indian Ocean) to do some diving and fishing for myself. I am looking forward to sharing those experiences in some of my next articles. Charter requests may be made via email to fishfacecharters@yahoo.com or call 239-357-6829. Also, please check out my website www.fishfacecharters.com for more information and fishing reports. This is Captain Terry Fisher praying that you had a ‘Happy Thanksgiving’!

Captain Terry says “Approaching ‘full moon’ and hopefully moderate temperatures, fish should continue to be receptive”

(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) Last week proved good fishing. The only inconvenience were the winds blowing 10-20 knots out of the North/Northeast restricting access to some of my favorite spots. Snook, Seatrout and Redfish have been my emphasis; especially since Snook season is in ‘full-swing’ and all species are here in good numbers up and down Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. Grouper and other migratory species are closer to shore with winter months approaching.

Jonathan Downs SnookSteven and Jonathan CohenIn the ‘back country’, I had the opportunity to fish with Mr. Steve Cohen and his grandson Jonathan Downs of Lansdale, PA. (pictured on the way back to port from a day on the water).  I also took the time to capture Jonathan with his first Snook. It was only one of many fish he caught that day. He showed a lot of natural talent required to become a superior angler.  I am looking forward to taking them again next year.

Fishing will probably be ‘tough’ the balance of the week and into the weekend with the cold front and high winds. Nonetheless, with the approaching ‘full moon’ and hopefully moderate temperatures, fish should continue to be receptive to most presentations, especially live pilchards.

This weekend I will be at the Ft. Myers Boat Show (Downtown Convention Center), to meet and greet both past and new clients.  I am scheduled to do some seminars on ‘How to Locate and Catch Redfish, Snook and Seatrout’. STOP BY THE FISH FACE CHARTERS BOOTH AND SAY HI!

More information regarding charters may be found at www.fishfacecharters.com. I am easily reached via email at fishfacecharters@yahoo.com or via phone number 239-357-6829.

Fort Myers Spring Boat Show

The Fort Myers Boat Show is just around the corner! Mark your calendars for the event which takes place at the Lee County Civic Center from Thursday, March 7th until Sunday, March 10th. The show will be open from 10am – 6pm Thursday through Saturday and 10am – 5 pm on Sunday. Admission is $7 per person, with children under 12 free. Tickets can be purchased at the door. You will find a wide range of different makes and models of boats up to 35′. You will also loads of accessory displays with electronic equipment, motors, fishing equipment, boat lifts, and more. Plus you will find a wide variety of service companies, insurance, marine financing and educational information to help you get the most out of your time on the water. And, lots of nautical clothing and gift items as well. For more information on the Fort Myers Spring Boat Show, click here.