Robert Hewes, a pioneering boat designer and founder of Bob Hewes Boat Enterprises, died Sunday in his sleep at his home in Miami. He was 86.
Bob Hewes grew up in the boatbuilding business and revolutionized shallow-water fishing more than 50 years ago with the design of the first purpose-built flats boats. The model would soon come to be known as the Hewes Redfisher. More light-tackle world records have been caught aboard Hewes boats than all other flats skiffs combined, according to the company website. Hewes Light Tackle Boats is now owned by the Maverick Boat Company.
Hewes is survived by his wife, Ida, 64, two daughters, Deborah Feeger and Lorrie Wilborg, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held June 30 in Miami, Florida. The family is asking that donations be made to the Heidi Hewes Foundation (founded in honor of Robert's late daughter) in lieu of flowers.