What can I say, I am a sucker for a carolina bow. First time a saw a BT and saw that Carolina bow, I know it was something I wanted to look into. Being from California where there is almost no shallow water, I had no major preconceived notions about what a poling skiff should look or feel like but I loved that carolina bow.. My fishing experiences in Florida, was almost exclusively on kayaks. I came to the conclusion catching fish was all about getting skinny and stealth. Whatever boat I bought had to accomplish both of those goals. My wife added a requirement that it had to carry 3 or 4 people out to lunch or over to the beach. There aren’t too many boats out there that would do both to my satisfaction.
We arranged a visit to the BT factory with Liz on one of our trips to Florida to explore the Strike. Liz and Will were very accommodating, taking about 3 hours out of their day to show us around the factory, talk boats, our needs, taking us for about a 45 minute wet test, base pricing and options. We were really impressed with the overall performance of the boat. One thing I liked was we were given clear, easy to understand option pricing so we could mix and match to determine what we could afford. Eventually I came up with our new Strike.
I was able to arrange our boat purchase easily from California with Liz. We went back and forth a couple of times via email with spreadsheets and option lists but it was a fairly seamless process. Since I would be driving across country, we came up with a rough build schedule to coincide with my move. When moving day arrived, I arranged to stop by factory on my way to Pine Island to discuss a few minor placement details for options with Will. My boat was ready in 3 days later. Needless to say, I was excited. I drove up to Bradenton and there was our finished boat. It looked awesome. Will went through systems operations and basic maintenance requirements, we hooked it up to my truck, and off it went to its new home in a torrential rainstorm. Welcome to Florida.
I run my boat hard. Almost everyday, sometimes twice a day. It sits in the water at my dock for 3 or 4 days at a time so I am not your typical skiff owner, who babies his pristine skiff in the garage. I have a pickup truck of a boat. It gets worked. I fish as much as most guides. The performance of the boat has met or exceeded my expectations. I don’t usually make long runs as there are many areas to fish close to my home but the Strike runs adequately fast with a 60 HP engine but most importantly, gets there through super shallow water, while sipping gas When most people are stuck at the dock waiting for the tide to come in, I am running to the redfish grounds and poling up on tailers. I mostly fish in areas that I don’t usually see other boats, unless there happens to be what I call a BT convention when some fellow BT owners show up to fish. The boat poles well, spins easily, fishes up to 3 people adequately. Most importantly, it is quiet . I think Pine island has the most educated redfish in the world. Any noise and they are gone. The Strike has allowed me to get close enough to the reds to catch a ton over the last year and a half.
I’d do it all over again. Thanks Will and Liz.