hulls are better than one.
The know-it-all in the
shuttle van at the Bob Uecker Invitational tournament in Racine,
Wisconsin irked me and a fellow passenger.
The driver had asked if catamarans worked well on the Great Lakes. “You
don’t see many of ’em around here, do ya?” the guy pontificated,
answering the driver’s question.
I had just spent the first day of the tournament in a World Cat 250 Dual
Console model; unbeknownst to me, the young lady in the back seat had
fished out of 26-foot Glacier Bay. Neither one of us liked the guy’s
uninformed response and we came to the defense of power catamarans
“I’ve never had a smoother ride in big waves,” the lady started. “I’ve
never gone faster more comfortably or felt more secure in rough water in
a 25-footer,” I added.
Yes, power catamarans are different. No, you don’t see a lot of them on
the Great Lakes. But —and this is a resounding yes —cats are terrific
for our sweetwater seas. First, they extend the boating season because
of their easily-maintained twin outboards. Second, with modern
four-strokes, they make fishing and cruising extremely economical.
Frank Martin of Calumet Marine in Calumet City, Illinois, sells World
Cats and explained how they produce such a smooth ride. “They channel
water down the tunnel and mix it with air —sort of the way that air
mixes in hydraulic brakes,” Martin said.
I have fished with Frank in the 250 DC he recently sold, and I’ve also
fished with my friend Jim Hinkle, who runs a 26 Glacier Bay out of
Cheboygan, Michigan. One time on the way out to the fishing grounds to
prepare for a tournament on Lake Huron, the Glacier Bay smoothed out the
seas so much that we didn’t realize how rough it was until we slowed
down to fish.
The World Cat, with more of a planning hull, is faster than the
comparably sized Glacier Bay, although the Glacier, with a full cabin,
has a weight disadvantage over the dual-console World Cat, sport a pair
of 130-hp Hondas; the Glacier topped out at 33 mph, while the World Cat
achieved 42 mph.
But both boats fished equally well. Anglers must make some adjustments
as with the outboards far to the outside, most presentations are to the
side of the boat —it is easy to run a rod such as a leadcore or wire
down the chute, but that ’s also the best place to land a fish. Hinkle
even added a platform that extended out between the motors to facilitate
landing fish. Two downriggers work fine, and you can run plenty of
Dipsies and planer board lines in front of the riggers. The only
discomfort I experienced came trying to troll broadside to the waves
—these boats go over waves one sponson at a time, creating quite a
Why doesn’t one see more cats on the Great Lakes now? Well, perhaps
Midwestern and Eastern anglers are resistant to change —it’s taken
awhile to get out of the I/O mindset and embrace more versatile
outboards. But as more people take rides in these innovative crafts and
as tournaments grow more popular on the Great Lakes, it’s almost assured
that trailerable, smooth-riding and fast power catamarans will become a
common sight. GLA