Brokerage sales make gains in April

June 29th, 2010

Reprinted with permission from Soundings Publications LLC.

Yacht brokerage sales in the United States continued in April at a substantially higher volume than in April 2009, with unit sales for the month up 28 percent or more in all size categories of boats 55 feet and under.

According to member broker reports in the proprietary database,, 2,927 boats changed hands – 626, or 27 percent, more than did in April 2009. However, total valuation of boats sold was up only 7 percent, from $267 million to $285 million.

The best-performing size categories were for boats 36 to 55 feet, which were up roughly 50 percent in volume and almost as much in value. In particular, 589 boats 36 to 45 feet were sold, up from 377 the year before. And the valuation of these sales increased 74 percent, from $47 million to $81 million.

In fact, between April 2009 and April 2010, unit sales and total valuation of sales were up 28 percent or more in nearly every category of boats smaller than 55 feet long. However, among boats over 55 feet, unit sales were up a relatively modest amount, from 66 to 75 boats, and the value of the sales dropped dramatically, from $127 million to $81 million. Dramatic shifts in this category because of the wide range of sizes and prices aren’t unusual; March 2010 sales of $148 million were up more than $100 million from $41 million the previous March. If you average March and April sales, you may have a better indication of the recent big-boat market.

Looking at the U.S. brokerage market as a whole, we find that in April it continued to show a big improvement in unit sales over 2009, tracking just below the five-year average. The 2,927 boats sold is just below the average of 3,008 for April. And for the second month in a row, unit sales were also marginally ahead of 2008, when 2,897 boats were sold.

Indicative, perhaps, of the backlog of boats on the market, the time-to-sale of the boats sold in April continued to increase, with an average of 311 days. This is up 40 days from the average time it took to sell a brokerage boat a year ago. Year to date, the average is slightly less, at 287 days, which is 31 days more than the average in the first four months of 2009.

Bennington Marine ramping up production, payroll

June 29th, 2010

Reprinted with permission from Soundings Publications LLC.

Indiana pontoon boat manufacturer Bennington Marine plans to significantly increase new hiring in the next two years to meet growing product demand.

Diana Engle, Bennington’s vice president of administration, told Elkhart, Ind., officials they were going to spend about $1 million on new equipment and planned to hire 80 new employees, according to a story from local CBS affiliate TV station WSBT.

The company was asking the Elkhart city council for a three-year, phase-in tax abatement. The company currently employs about 120 people.

Engle told the city council that hiring has already begun because demand has increased.

“This time last year we were doing eight boats a day, three days a week,” Engle told officials. “Currently, we are doing 20 boats a day, six days a week. We have dealers crying because they can’t get production slots.”

The city council approved the tax abatement for Bennington, but must approve it twice, and plans another vote in two weeks.

Fishing with Live Bait

June 9th, 2010

“It’s easier to feed them, than it is to trick them,” sums up the reason why live baits are so popular with Piedmont lake anglers. Store-bought worms, crickets and minnows account for a large percentage of all fish caught on live bait. However, anything that crawls, flies or swims is considered live bait. Regardless of what type of live bait you fish with, it is important to practice a few time proven techniques.

Begin by matching the fishing outfit, line, terminal tackle and hook to the size of the bait. A hook too large will act as an anchor, and will not allow the bait to swim naturally. When in doubt, use a smaller hook.

“The larger the baits, the better the fishing,” is not always a true theory. In fact, if you want to catch more fish, use smaller baits. Both large and small fish can swallow little ones, while only the larger fish can eat big baits.

Hook the bait so that it can swim naturally. When slow trolling or drifting live minnows, hook them through the nostrils, lips or eye sockets. When still fishing minnows below a bobber/float, they swim best hooked on either side of the dorsal fin.

Night crawlers and red wigglers should be threaded on the hook a few times. Be sure to leave a small portion of the worm to dangle and wiggle at the end. Crickets, a popular bait for bream, can be hooked through the head, thorax or abdomen.

Bass, perch, crappie, and stripers prefer minnows, shiners, shad, herring, trout, and small fish. Bream (sunfish) take worms, crickets and other insects. While, catfish will eat anything, but small channels and blues prefer worms, and flatheads like minnows best.

Tips from Capt. Gus: When live baiting, give the fish plenty of time to take the bait.  Bass will strike live bait from the tail, and then turn it in its mouth before swallowing it headfirst. This process takes a few seconds, so wait before setting the hook.

Captain Gus Gustafson is full time professional fishing guide on Lake Norman. Contact information: Email: – Web Site – Cell  704 617 6812.