You need to play to win, and Evan Tucker came close to missing out on his chance to win a one-of-a-kind Hell’s Bay Professional™ Orvis Edition boat powered by a Mercury Racing 60R outboard, the top prize in the World's Finest Skiff Raffle, an effort to raise funds for the important work being conducted by Captains For Clean Water in Florida and across the globe.
“I was aware of the raffle and intended to buy a ticket, but kept putting it off,” said Tucker, a 39-year-old aviation professional from Jacksonville, Fla. “Then I got an email at work that there was one day left in the raffle and was lucky to be at my desk.”
That $50 ticket turned out to be the winner when the raffle drawing was held on July 22 at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) show in Orlando. The next day Tucker was in Orlando for the presentation ceremony, and a week later he travelled to Titusville, Fla., with his wife, Carolyn, and son, Eli, to take delivery of the boat.
“This is like a dream come true for me,” said Tucker. “I grew up fishing all over the Jacksonville area, and I’ve got a flats boat that I’ve fixed up myself but a Hell’s Bay skiff is the boat I’ve always wanted. I was following the raffle and am so happy to be able to support the work of Captains for Clean Water. I know they are more of a south Florida organization, but I understand that we are all interconnected. I also support the St. Johns River Keeper in my area.”
The special 17-foot 8-inch Hell’s Bay Professional™ Orvis Edition boat is powered by a Mercury Racing 60R, a compact powerhouse tuned and geared to deliver amazing hole-shot acceleration for instant on-plane performance in skinny water. The only outboard in its class with a 15-inch midsection, the Mercury Racing 60R fits perfectly on the transom of this compact performance skiff. The boat also features special hull-side graphics and a custom SeaDek kit on the poling platform and on the cockpit sole depicting the State of Florida and its key waterways. The boat is rigged with a Raymarine Axiom 9 multi-function display and a Power-Pole 6-Foot Pro Series 2 shallow water anchor, and rests on a Boatmaster aluminum trailer. Extras include a Traeger Ranger Portable Grill plus a pair of YETI Trailhead Chairs, a YETI Roadie 20 Cooler, and two YETI Rambler One Gallon Jugs and YETI Rambler 36 oz. Bottles.
“Mercury Racing is proud to support the World's Finest Skiff Raffle and all the great work Captains for Clean Water is doing to protect fishing resources everywhere,” said Steve Miller, Mercury Racing Director Marketing, Sales and Service. “We are delighted that a great angling and clean water ambassadors like the Tucker family will be out enjoying this boat.”
Evan Tucker has been out on the boat three times since bringing it to a new waterfront home near Jacksonville.
“We all went out and Eli, who is only two years old, caught his first redfish from the World’s Finest Skiff,” said Tucker. “I think a boat like this has to both look great, and perform. The boat is beautiful, but it also runs great. The Mercury Racing 60R looks beautiful on the transom and feels like the perfect outboard for this boat.
er has started an Instagram account WorldsFinestSkiff to chronicle his experiences with the Hell’s Bay boat.
Captains For Clean Water is a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit organization on a mission to restore and protect water resources. The organization was founded in 2016 by fishing guides who were fed up with the poor water management practices that were devastating Florida estuaries. They work to raise awareness, educate the public, and mobilize supporters to advocate for solutions and holding policymakers accountable.
For more information, visit Captains for Clean Water.