The Wild One. Cindy Garrison goes beyond the bounds of fishing. In the warm shallow waters of an island near the equator, on the bow of a beat-up panga, a tall blonde angler stands with her fly rod at the ready. She loads the rod with a double-haul and unfurls the yellow line, delivering a baitfish-pattern fly to her target. She strips it in and the fish reacts, charging the fly and inhaling it in a split second. "Yeah! Yeah! Hah, hah!" she screams, whooping and hollering as she brings her quarry boatside. Her name is Cindy Garrison, and she has just landed a puffer fish. This from the one-time Alaska guide who pioneered fly-fishing for tigerfish in Botswana and who once wrestled a crocodile in Panama? "I don't care if it's a 150-pound tarpon or a puffer fish," she says. "When I feel a tug on the end of that line, I freak out." Since she hosts her own show, Get Wild, on ESPN, one would expect her to be more jaded. But the mere prospect of being on an adventure, or on the bow of a boat, brings forth an enthusiasm in Garrison that cannot be contained. It's with this energy that she plows ahead, hoping her attitude will push people to look at the sport beyond the mere act of catching fish.
Past Forward August 1973. A 22' Hi-Liner enters Long Island Sound off Saybrook Breakwater Light, Connecticut, on the cover. Hi-Liner went out of business, but the molds for this fine-running hull are still around; every few years a small yard markets a new model based on this hullform. It's called splashing. We tested a Slickcraft (now Tiara/Pursuit) 25 Raised Bridge Cruiser fitted with twin 165-hp MerCruiser stern drives-both right-handed. Today, the prevalence of counter-rotating stern drives would've probably dissuaded our writer from criticizing the boat's poor close-quarters maneuverability. The 5,400-pound boat topped out at a hair less than 40 mph. It cost $17,725 as tested. Today, you might drop $100,000 on a similar performance cruiser.
Strike it rich. $1,638,915. That's the prize money the crew of Desperado bagged in the 2005 White Marlin Open - for one 78.5-pound white marlin. Said to be the world's largest billfish tourney, the event drew 449 boats to test luck and skill plying the deep for a fat paycheck. The WMO isn't your only shot at striking it rich - other tournaments with similar payouts are popping up on both coasts. Think you have what it takes? You better have some big cajones and deep pockets. Anteing up for the White Marlin Open requires serious cash.
The basic entry fee is $950, but that limits the payout to $50,000. For a chance at the million-dollar prize, anglers must enter "calcuttas," or pools that tournament contestants pay into. Like gambling, the more you wager in calcuttas, the more money you can win - or lose (the big winner of the 2005 WMO spent nearly $30,000 in calcuttas). Here are three contenders and what it cost them to compete.
Joe Weekender owns a 26' sportfish with twin 200-hp outboards. Entry Cost $950 Fuel $1,350 Bait $75/day for ballyhoo and trolling mackerel Ice and Provisions $100/day Hired Help $0 for do-it-yourself Hooks, Line, and Misc. Tackle $200 Transient Slip Fees $130/day with 7-day minimum Total $3,935 for three days of fishing, plus boat payment and insurance.
Charter Charlie hires an experienced local captain with a 46' boat. Entry Cost $5,050 (entry fee plus dues for the five most-entered calcuttas) Provisions $140 per day Mates' Tips 15 to 20 percent/day; captain and mate expect 25 to 50 percent of winnings Boat Rate $6,000 for all bait, fuel, and tackle Other Expenses $1,200 for week-long hotel stay Total $12,670 for three days of fishing
Bobby Pro owns a 54-footer with twin 1,500-hp diesels and a crew. Entry Cost $14,400 ($950 fee plus all calcuttas) Fuel $2,800/week Bait $1,250 Provisions $150/day Captain's Pay $1,200; 20 to 30 percent of winnings Mate's Pay $1,000; 20 to 30 percent of winnings Hooks, Line, and Misc. Tackle $600 Slip Fees $270/day with 7-day minimum Total $23,590, plus boat payment and insurance
Flex Flyer. A snowboard-inspired wakeboard, the Roam goes against the grain by offering a flat bottom with no protruding fins, rails, or channels. It's designed for hardcore obstacle riders, but the board's simple learning curve wowed us. Riders rely more on the board's rails and profile rather than fins. The board's flex also gives advanced riders a new feeling on sliders and other obstacles. The Roam opens up a new bag of surface tricks, making things fun again for those of us who can no longer withstand the pounding of big air maneuvers. It can slide and spin with abandon. It's also confidence-boosting for beginners. Within the first five minutes, my 14-year-old nephew was doing powerslides and spinning 360s, tricks he has yet to accomplish on a conventional wakeboard. And yet it's fun for the experienced aerialist. Thanks to the board's flexible core, advanced riders will notice a definite pop off the wake. Price $260. Contact Hyperlite at 800/938-4040, www.hyperlite.com.