June 4, 2023
With a cruising pace of 40 to 60 miles per hour relying on the ocean situations, the Barker cat may be fishing nicely offshore in an hour or much less.
Courtesy Barker Boatworks

Particular supply: Join for the free Marlin e mail e-newsletter. Subscribe to Marlin journal for $29 for 1 yr and obtain 2 bonus digital points.

Having a superb relationship with a ­boatbuilder is all the time an ideal first step once you’re prepared to maneuver into a brand new journey. That was the case with Gary Smith, a lifelong big-game fisherman from Fort Walton Seashore, Florida, and proprietor of a 40-foot high-performance ­catamaran from Barker Boatworks.

“I had owned a 26 Barker and was simply tremendous impressed with not solely the boat but in addition the ­individuals on the manufacturing unit in Sarasota,” he says. “They confirmed me the drawings for the 40 they had been constructing and requested if I’d have an interest. I had by no means even stepped foot on a cat earlier than, however I stated certain, simply based mostly on our previous relationship.” Having fished loads of days and tournaments on his household’s 66-foot Viking, Smith needed to convey that big-boat aesthetic to the brand new construct whereas additionally capitalizing on the inherent options of a catamaran design, particularly loads of actual property and excessive speeds, particularly within the quick, steep chop that’s most regularly encountered within the northern Gulf of Mexico.

An open lid reveals the custom tuna tubes in the leaning post of a sport-fishing boat.
Customized tuna tubes reside within the leaning publish, readily accessible but out of the way in which when not wanted.
Courtesy Barker Boatworks

Each of these elements may be attributed to the Michael Peters-designed asymmetrical cat hull, in accordance with Barker Boatworks president Kevin Basirico. “In a conventionally designed catamaran, you basically have two V-bottom hulls aspect by aspect. In an asymmetrical boat, you’re splitting a single V-bottom down the center, which leads to a sponson with a flat inside edge and an angled outdoors edge.” The result’s a superior journey and dealing with traits, and Peters ought to know—his cat designs have gained 18 world championships on the high-performance racing aspect.

To take full benefit of the speedy ­traits, Smith and Barker agreed on an influence package deal of quad Mercury Racing 450 hp outboards, in addition to racing jack plates to fully dial within the motor heights for max efficiency. The result’s an 80-mile-per-hour rocket ship that has the flexibility to cruise wherever from 40 to 60 miles per hour relying on the ocean situations. “The pace was one factor that basically impressed me with this boat,” Smith says. “After we’re fishing out of Destin on the large boats, we’re doing multiday journeys to the rigs to go marlin and tuna fishing. With this boat, when we now have a window of excellent climate, I can blast on the market and get again in a day, which is necessary with a busy work schedule. Now we have eight new FADs which are 60 to 80 miles offshore, and we may be live-baiting for blue marlin on the market an hour after leaving Destin Move.”

The helm of a outboard sportfishing boat. The helm features wooden seats with white cushions.
Large-boat options embody two rows of Launch Marine seating.
Courtesy Barker Boatworks

To accommodate that live-bait ­mission, the proprietor and builder collaborated on an choice that undoubtedly ups the boat’s wow ­issue: a collection of seven extra-large tuna tubes constructed into the aft aspect of the large leaning publish, hid beneath a flip-up lid. The tubes are plumbed to a custom-made Hooker Electrical sea-chest setup that additionally provides uncooked water to further livewells within the boat’s deck and transom. “Ten years in the past, everybody within the Gulf was pulling lures,” Smith says. “That’s all modified—right this moment it’s all live-baiting, and we’ve caught loads of good fish utilizing this setup. It really works rather well.”

Extra big-boat touches abound, from the teak-trimmed helm deck and 24-inch Garmin multifunction shows to the customized Launch Marine seating: two rows of luxurious, with the 2 ahead outboard seats in a position to swivel in any path (watching the baits has by no means been this cozy). And since tuna and ­bottomfish are regularly on the ­goal record, the boat’s fish packing containers are cavernous, with two ahead within the bow space and two extra amidships. “I fish quite a bit with my spouse and daughters, who like to deep-drop,” Smith says. “I take pleasure in it as a result of it’s a fairly simple technique to fish—we simply plug within the electrics, and all I’ve to do is unhook fish. They love the boat as a result of there’s loads of room, and it’s additionally very steady within the ocean.”

The forward lounge of a sport-fishing boat.
The ahead lounge offers a cushty spot for these lengthy runs, with ample chilly storage positioned beneath.
Courtesy Barker Boatworks

The standard of the rig’s building additionally shines by. In accordance with Basirico, solely the highest-quality parts are utilized in any Barker construct, which function yacht-quality fit-and-finish all through.

“Typically a buyer will come to us with a suggestion for one thing higher, and we’ll incorporate it in our future boats,” he says. It’s a sentiment that Smith echoed as nicely. “We had been in a position to work with them on some options that they hadn’t completed but on any of their builds, and [the design team] by no means stated no,” he says. “It was plenty of enjoyable engaged on this boat, getting every thing good.” And but it’s a comparatively easy design, with out a bunch of additional programs that require fixed upkeep or restore.

Four outboard boat engines on a sportfishing boat. The wake of the boat can be seen on the water in its trail.
Quad Mercury Racing 450 hp outboards with jack plates propel the boat to a high pace of greater than 80 miles per hour.
Courtesy Barker Boatworks

Since taking supply of Hull No. 2 of that mannequin following the Palm Seashore Boat Present in 2021, Smith has tallied some unbelievable catches, with many extra to come back. And that tongue-in-cheek title? There’s nothing sluggish about Slowmocean, that’s for certain.