Florida Road Trip with Rifles to Rods


Florida bound always sounds good- without question once the ice has made its home in your veins come late winter in New England.  Join us as Team NorthCoast and the expert Anglers from Rifles to Rods head South on 95, with two NorthCoast Boats in tow.

180 Center Console crew consists of Peter Weatherby and Brandon Dame- both exceptionally well versed in a wide variety coastal species. Specializing in sleep deprication and flexible planning the all nighter, thirty one hour drive, would be rewarded well. 

190 Center Console crew has Rifles to Rods (riflestorods.org) founders Gerard McAllister and US Army Sergeant Ryan Puzzo at the wheel. Both committed to the mission: Preserving the well being of veterans through fishing. Rifles to Rods is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to the transition, recovery and well being of our Veterans. The president of Rifles to Rods, a veteran himself, was inspired to start this charity after fishing enabled him to better cope with stress that comes with returning home from war.

Dawn was welcomed by the Miami heat and seemingly near proximity of Keys type species. Although it would take another four hours of driving, Key West would arrive just in time. Restless anglers all, the boats were launched handily where they would be docked for the next four days. Hammocks were hung and gear was tossed aboard quickly in order to get on the water. Sleep could wait. Navigating the shallows of Key West is an amazing feat when your awake, however best experienced in a dream state as the colors are vivid and the thoughts of Bonefish and Tarpon are as good as real.

The 180 Center Console draws a wapping six inches and to quote a memorable phrase by fishing Legend Lefty Kreh, that boat could "go where water was." Undoubtedly he was talking about one of his closest buddies, Flip Pallot's Hells Bay flats skiffs, but you get the point. The only issue is the 180 poling platform was not installed prior to leaving Bristol, Rhode Island. In fact, we were unaware it even had one until the Owner of NorthCoast (C&C Fiberglass) Jose DaPonte pointed out how much better it would have been than the Home Depot Ladder the team bought. Even still, the photos of the ladder harken back to the authenticity of the old Florida Keys Tarpon videos. You know the one, with Jimmy Buffet and Tom McGuane. Anyway, necessity is the mother of invention and after all NorthCoast Boats greatest strength is practicality.

With fish skirting the edges of the channels the Rifles to Rods crew aboard their 190 Center Console would be fishing these unknown waters hard until sunset. A wide variety of fish were caught and their guest veteran's heart rate slowed to allow his smile and good humor to return. The three were dashing out to deeper water, cutting the Hawk's Bay chop like butter. Reef fishing is always productive and tons of fun.