Few business executives enter the high-risk arena of manufacturing sport-fishing boats saying, “This is the next great way I can make a billion bucks.” Instead, boatbuilders tend to grow up boating and fishing. They are drawn into the game, cognizant of the risks, but focused on the art of boatbuilding as only lifetime watermen can be. Kevin Barker is such a guy, and his goal in founding Barker Boatworks this past summer is to deliver premium fishers. The first Barker is the Calibogue Bay, a coastal bay boat named for the area he fished and boated as a child. Barker approaches his task with all the art and passion a lifetime waterman could. And he further approaches his building process with the practice and technique of a NASCAR pitman.
With nearly a decade in boatbuilding, Barker drew on nautical designer Michael Peters, whose portfolio includes storied brands like Edgewater, Invincible and Viking. Peters was engaged to develop the Calibogue Bay with a patented stepped-V ventilated tunnel hull. Molds are by the renowned expertise of Marine Concepts. Barker is powering with Mercury, Suzuki and Yamaha, aligning the engineering in his vessels with propulsion technology he admires most.
Barker’s inaugural vessel will beautifully serve Boca Grand Pass tarpon anglers and inshore fishermen who value a rig that holds its own in swift tidal currents. It safely crosses all but the skinniest flats and provides a steady platform for fighting big fish. But the Calibogue Bay has more going on than that. According to Barker, its unique tunnel design has sea-keeping abilities that will make this 25-foot, 6-inch boat ready for a move offshore. Its design boasts large livewells and an open cockpit for securely fighting big fish. The foredeck makes space for experienced fly-casters. Its optional upper station gives the view, control and -convenient entry and egress that tarpon skippers demand.
The Calibogue Bay won’t just be for the hard core, either. The console compartment is designed with a fiberglass headliner, so it’s all nice and finished. Convert it to a head by saying the word. Angler seating is practical and comfortable.
Above all, Barker aims for his factory-direct boats to be investment grade, artistically designed and practical, deadly fishing machines.
MORE INFO: barkerboatworks.com