Monday, November 28, 2011

The Hurricane Is Taking Over By Storm!

A post by Kyle Ross

When I first started working here at Hamlin's Marina in May, I thought that I had experienced all of the different types of boats here on the Penobscot River. Man was I wrong! I remember the first time that I laid my eyes on the hull of a Hurricane Deck Boat, I was confused as to why anybody would want to have one. The hull of the boat is wide, and resembles a barge. I learned first hand that physical looks can be deceiving.
Hurricane SS188 I/O

As I started to learn about the build of the Hurricane, I quickly realized that the boat is amazing in so many different aspects! This boat has a little bit of everything for everybody. If you like to spend the day water skiing or tubing, the Hurricane can do it. If you want to spend the day fishing, the Hurricane has a built in live well, so you can do it. If you like to have a lot of people on your boat, and have a nice party on the water, the Hurricane can do it! This boat is the best of everything that you can do on the water. Now some people like outboard motors, while others like the I/O (inboard outboard) engines. The Hurricane can come in either form, and has many different models for each engine type. There is always plenty of seating on all of the models, so getting all of your friends on board should not be a problem!

So in short, the Hurricane line of boats opened my eyes to even more fun on the water! The design of the boat is genius, and it is the perfect choice for people looking to have the space of a pontoon boat, but keep the agility of a recreational skiing boat. I know for sure, that if I were able to purchase a boat, the Hurricane line up would be my number one choice!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Very Special Boat...Mastercraft 300, Hull #1

What happens when a cutting-edge wakeboard boat company gets mixed up with some straight up yacht design engineers?  I will show you what happens...

This my friends is a picture of the first Mastercraft 300 ever built.  It is an extraodinary example of creative design and ridiculous performance.  Guess what 700 HP worth of Cummins Turbo diesels does to a 30' boat? 

I can tell you first hand that when you hit the throttles in the cockpit, it is a religious experience.  The anticipation starts with the super low bass rumble underneath the teak floor.  Then when you advance the levers, a split second passes before the gentle whirrr of the turbos engage.  Yes, and then it is off to the races, folks.  It is truly an out-of-body experience, and one that you will not soon forget!

Hull #1 has just about every option anybody ever contemplated putting on a boat.  Of course the boat features a bowthruster, but you may not believe it has a custom joystick that electronically controls both straight shaft inboard engines and the thruster to allow computer-assisted docking.  Yes, the boat will crab and pivot with wind and current with just the manipulation of the stick.  Just think about how many calculations are occuring to allow the system to vector thrust with straight shafts! 

The interior cockpit is exquisitely appointed with a full hand-laid teak cockpit sole, textured synthetic leathers, and amenites including a grill, a concealed flat screen TV on an actuator, and a manually controlled misting system to refresh passengers on a hot day. 

Fiber optic lights deliver a range of colors to suit your mood under a tempered glass hardtop which is dark tinted to shelter you from the sun's rays.

The 300 serves as a testament to the fact that Mastercraft is the undisputed champion of the world when it comes to marine audio.  The sound system in this boat is probably superior to Radio City Music Hall, and the 300 boasts around 24 high performance speakers and maybe a half dozen amplifiers.  I am not kidding...not in the least.  Everything that has to do with sound and video is controlled with a touch pad in the cabin. 

I had the unique opportunity to travel to Tennessee with the new owner of the boat before he took delivery in 2010.  The video below is a highlight film of our trip and a wonderful demonstration of the capabilities of this amazing vessel

Now, Hull #1 has been listed for sale at Hamlin's Marina.  It is truly a wonderful opportunity for someone to own a piece of boat building history.  Come in and see this incredible machine and example of what can happen when brilliant minds come together for a common cause.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Winterization and Storage the Hamlin's Marine Way

Yes it’s that time again...time to start thinking about putting your boat away for the long, hard winter.  Life is truly unfair.    Don’t worry, spring will arrive soon enough, and your boat will be ready and waiting provided it was properly serviced and stored. 

Many of our customers choose to do there own winterizing.  Hamlin’s strongly suggests that you specifically follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedures. Yes, that includes buying the more expensive OEM oils and lubricants.  All engine manufactures specially formulate their consumables to provide optimal performance and reduce the risk of serious damage. 

If you have an Inboard/Outboard motor, DO NOT FORGET to drain all of the water out of the engine block and flush your cooling system with antifreeze.  Avoiding to follow this advice will provide you with nightmarish consequences, most commonly a cracked engine block!

The best way to ensure that your boat is properly serviced and stored is to throw your keys to the service department at Hamlin’s Marine.

Hamlin’s will service your boat according to manufacturer’s specifications.  You can be sure that Hamlin’s Marine will:
                   1.   Change engine oil and filter.
           2.   Service gearcase and replace all drain seals.*
           3.   Treat fuel system.**
           4.   Change fuel filter.
           5.   Fog motor to lubricate surfaces vulnerable to corrosion.
           6.   Remove charging battery for separate dry storage.

(*) Worn or rotted drain seals is a common reason for  water intrusion in the gearcase.
(**) Hamlin’s uses a separate, auxiliary fuel tank to treat your fuel system to ensure treated fuel runs throughout the entire system.
We also:
           1.   Completely remove the outdrive from the boat to inspect the bellows and service the gimbal   bearing.*
           2.   Install new mounting gaskets and lock nuts when outdrive is re-installed.
(*) Removing an outdrive is grueling work, but it allows us to replace vital seals and gaskets and guarantee that your bellows boot is not worn or torn.  This extra step can prevent very expensive repairs.

Winterization practices for our large cruisers and sailboats include many of the basic services already mentioned, but may also include bottom painting, servicing fresh water systems, a/c units, heaters, and refrigeration units.  

 Hamlin’s Marine applies the same detail-oriented approach to boat storage.  All of our customers have the opportunity to store their boats in dry, indoor storage.   Many of our customers have been storing their boats with us for years, and we can tell immediately when a boat has been stored indoors.  The paint and finish is less subject to fading from powerful UV rays and there are fewer stress cracks from extreme temperature changes.

Many of our customers request a full detail on their boats which may include cleaning  their boats inside and out,  wax and buff, and treating stainless and wood accents. 

While your boat is in storage, it is a great time to have Hamlin’s Marine take care of major issues.  It may be time to file an insurance claim if you damaged the fiberglass on your boat or if you struck your lower unit during the season.  Winter is also the time to re-power your boat, complete a major restoration, or take care of major mechanical issues.

Stop by our showrooms in Hampden or in Waterville to learn more about marine accessories available for installation over the winter months.  We will assist you in choosing the right electonics, marine accessories, and fishing equipment so your boat is ready to go next season.

Hamlin’s Marine offers pick up and delivery service (please call for rates) as a convenience to our storage customers.  In Hampden, our winter storage rates include launching and loading boats up to 50,000 lbs with our hydraulic lift trailer.

The information provided is intended to be a brief overview of service available to Hamlin’s Marine customers.  We encourage you to contact us via email or telephone with any questions you may have.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cruisin', Trollin', Haulin', and Chumin'

I've found the best place to be right now is out on the water.  The mornings are brisk, the sun shines bright, and the fog has left for the winter.  Plus, the fall is the only time that I am able to leave the shop for a few hours and see what all the fuss is about! 

The last few weeks have been full of boating adventures.  I took my first ride on Lake Michigan in a 29' Rinker.  I must admit, that I always chuckled when people say the Great Lakes can be rough.  I thought it would pale in comparison to some of the days I've been caught out on Penobscot Bay in six footers.  The day we chose was beautiful except for the fact that the wind was gusting to about 30 mph.  Trying to navigate narrow granite channels in wind driven chop can really get the blood pumping!


Back on our home turf, I tried to race a new 310 Rinker with twin V8s in a Downeast-style 248 Eastern with a Honda 150  The battle began on the Sunday trip back from the Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors Show in Rockland.  My classic hull tailed the Rinker to about Camden Harbor.  I pinned the throttle but in the end...I got smoked on the way up the Penobscot River!  You never lose though when you are surrounded by surrounded by the beauty of the Maine Coast and the Penobscot River. 


The best part I've saved for last.  The Discover Channel is responsible for this nonsense.  You see they have this "Shark Week" series that really got a lot of the guys around Hamlin's Marina thinking.  Yeah, we could do that too!  Yeah, we live near the ocean and there are mean sharks everywhere!  Well we put our heads together (scary thought) and started drafting a list and a plan.  Well of course we needed all that exotic shark fishing gear, and you know you've got to drive all over the state to get fresh bait like pogies, frozen mackeral, and buckets of chum.  In the end there were four foolish souls who ended up waking up at 3:30 a.m. and launching a 22' Scout Abaco at Southwest Harbor.  The morning started off just perfect with a Box of Joe and we quickly filled the bait well with live mackeral which we hoped would become unwilling victims to Mr. Sharky.  I had made it my business to load the perfect shark fishing song mix on my Ipod.  The Scorpions, Survivor, and Guns n Roses streamed out of the sound system as we made our way 25 miles out to Mt. Desert Rock where the big boys play.  Six hours of cutting bait and dropping bloody entrails over the side of the boat produced not one Maneater.  Oh well...there will be a next time soon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scout Boats...Coming to a Harbor Near You!

At Hamlin's, we choose our boat brands very carefully.  You see, we kind of do things the old-fashioned way.  We believe in building trust with our customers and our boat manufacturers.  This may seem like a common sense way of doing business, but lately it has become more and more of a challenge.

All too often, people and companies are here today...and gone tomorrow.  Hamlin's Marine wants to sell boats from builders that will be there for generations to come.  That way, Joe Smith's grandson will inherit a boat and still find parts for it years down the road.

There are lots of choices in today's world.  Just walk in to your local convenience store and try to purchase something to quench your thirst.  Maybe you are looking for juice, a soda, a high-potency energy drink, or just plain old water.  The low end soda may be a buck, and the strange 40 ounce can with the angry red cow on it may run you $6.50.  What really sets these liquid potions apart?  Marketing? Vitamins?  Who knows...but in the time it takes you decide what to purchase, you've lost about an hour of quality time with your family.

What I do know is that it's a good thing I sell boats and not drinks, because boats are a lot more simple.  There are good boats, there are bad boats, and there really isn't much in between.  An old salt gave me the best advice I've heard yet when it comes to boats.  He said..."Everyone wants a boat that is big, fast, and doesn't cost much.  You'll never find all three, and you're lucky to find two!"

We think we've really picked a winner with Scout Boats, and that old man would be surprised at how much value these boats pack.  Models will be turning up at our Waterville and Hampden showroom over the next few weeks.  These fiberglass beauties range from 15'-35' feet, and feature a nice mix of sport fishing, family runabouts, and offshore cruising boats. 

15' Sportfish

Scout is family owned and operated; it is obvious that the family goes through tremendous effort in delivering an incredible product.  I've seen no other boats in this class with such high quality upholstery, hardware, and finish.

There are some big names in this segment of boating like Grady, Pursuit, and Whaler.  Those names conjure up images of dollar signs.  Scouts are serious fishing boats too, but I bet you won't find another brand that allows you to fish in such comfort while keeping your initial investment in check.

210 XSF

Oh, and Scout is a serious family man's boat.  The Abaco series provides ample cabin space for camping trips out to the island.  The no nonsense cockpit provides plenty of room for pack and plays, strollers, firewood, and all those drinks I was writing about earlier.  Better yet, it's just a good looking boat.  Even Joe Smith's grandson will be proud to run the bay with a Scout thirty years down the line.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show

At Hamlin's we are getting ready for our summer boat show...The Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show in Rockland, Maine from August 12-14 .  This show is definitely a good time, and I think we enjoy it just as much as all the visitors that come by to check out the boats.  For a weekend, the Rockland waterfront transforms into a showcase of some of the world's most beautiful boats.  Move in is a little nerve-racking because we have to navigate through a network of multimillion dollar toys.  We make sure to bring plenty of fenders with us!


This year we will be displaying three boats on the water including:

A 2012 Rinker 310 with twin engines, Axius joystick control, full electronics, and a gorgeous Buttercream interior...

310 Rinker in final production

The Eastern 248 Explorer will be in the water as well ( This classic downeast design features comfortable seating for a crowd and a Honda 150 set off the transom with an Armstrong bracket.  I've had the pleasure of testing this boat in varied conditions in Penobscot Bay, and I think I have a new favorite!

Eastern 248 Explorer Underway

Finally, we are excited to have our brand new line of boats represented with a Scout 225 Abaco (

Scout 225 Abaco

Hamlin's Marina is excited to be bringing on this exciting new line which appeals to families and the serious fisherman. 

Hope to see you at the Rockland Boat Show.  If you are in the market for a boat, this is a great time to take advantage of promotions and discounts.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wet, Hot, American Summer

Has anyone actually seen the movie "Wet, Hot, American Summer"?  Well I did.  Turns out it takes place in and around Waterville Maine in the early 1980s. 

The movie is about the misdirected antics of teenage councilors at one of our great summer camps.  The movie features a lot of rayon clothing, above-the-calf althetic striped socks, and some of the most irresponsible boating stunts I've ever seen. 

I believe that we will one day look back at this movie and realize it as one of the great American movie classics.  Well, maybe not...but it least it shows people all around the world that Maine is a great place to spend the summer!

This year we've seen summer hit us like a freight train.  For every 90 degree day in Maine, we've got about 30 days of shoveling snow; we deserve it and need to enjoy these wonderful summer days.  There's no better cure for the heat than to launch a boat and be out on the water with friends and family. 

Enjoy your Wet, Hot American Summer and get out on the water before its football season!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Ultimate Penobscot River Ride Will Be Here in 45 Minutes!!!!

I'm so excited.  To me, it's 5 A.M. on Christmas morning and I'm a twelve year old lying in bed with my eyes wide open waiting for my parents to let me come down the stairs and see my brand new bike.  Only I am really 34, its a beautiful April morning, and I am about to unload a 2011 Rinker 310 Express Cruiser at the marina.  I swear, though, it is the exact same feeling.

You see, I've had to wait a long time for this boat to arrive.  In January, I painstakingly picked out options, colors, and the engines.  Of course, my instinct was to load up the boat with every bit of marine candy I could.  Unfortunately, it's not my boat, and it is important for the future boat owner to customize the vessel to his/or her preference.  So, I didn't go crazy...the boat is white with a black boot stripe and some other nice finishing touches.  The twin V8 Mercruisers will push the boat in excess of 40 MPH if needed, but will cruise efficiently at around 25 mph.

Rinker has broken the status quo with this new vessel and has, in my opinion, manifested what all boater's desire...a perfect balance of form and function.   Really, this boat is a work of art.  But the 310 is certainly no wall ornament, as it will hand deliver you to countless ocean-going adventures.  Life is short and fleeting...buying a 310 will transform your existence and provide you, your family, and friends with memories of seascapes, lobster bakes, and beach combing in Maine.  No regrets...just a feeling of real satisfaction.
Check out some of the photos of our adventures in Penobscot Bay...

The interior is spacious and there is plenty of room to lounge in the open air; just imagine rounding the corner in to Castine Harbor, cutting a 3' chop, and feeling the warm sun on your skin.  Pull up to the dock...walk to the market and pick up a couple of ribeyes to throw on the integrated grill.

Oh, the anticipation is killing me.  Got to shoot down to the waterfont to unload her right now!!!

Check her out... Rinker Boats - 2011 Rinker 310 Express Cruiser  and view all of our other boats at Boat Sales at Hamlin's Marine

Monday, April 18, 2011

Polar kraft Outlander...Inspired by Maine Waters!

Here's a great story...kind of a modern day "David and Goliath".  It's a story of how a small Maine dealership stood up to some pretty big corporate players and proved them wrong.

Hamlin's Marine has been the world's top volume dealer of Polar kraft aluminum boats for the past four years running (Polar kraft Boats).  But not too long ago, Hamlin's was a top dealer for a brand of boats that had a pretty good reputation at the time.  Our prior brand of aluminum boats was built by a proud group of people in Minnesota and these boats bore the name of Lund.  In 2005, Lund was purchased by Brunswick Corporation, the world's largest boat company.  Brunswick also happens to own the Mercury outboard brand.  As you may be aware, Brunswick proceeded to force dealers to power Lund with Mercury outboards.

For many reasons, the atttitude of Brunswick Corporation did not meld well with Hamlin's Marine, nor our customers for that matter.  Soon, we made the tough decision to take on a new brand of aluminum boats, the little known brand of Polar kraft.  In order to launch the brand, Hamlin's Marine teamed up with L.L.Bean to design a series of Outlander boats in the Polar kraft line.  Quality construction with a focus on the hull and substructure was the primary focus on the Outlanders.  Check out this video to see the extruded aluminum stringers, horizontal connecting torque boxes, and extruded hat ribs:

Within one year, the Polar kraft line was outselling our Lund line at our dealership...4 to 1.  An executive at Lund made a personal visit to Hamlin's Marine in 2006 to let us know they would be taking the line away from our dealership and relocating it to a Tracker Marine dealer that believed in the Mercury line of outboards. 

Now there are twelve different models in the Outlander series, and sales are booming across the country.  Check out Outlander 186 SC that started it all here: Polar kraft Outlander 186 SC

This boat was first drawn on a big boardroom table in Freeport by a team from Hamlin's and L.L.Bean!  Here at Hamlin's we couldn't be more proud of the Polar kraft and the Yamaha and Honda outboards that power them.  Please come in into our showrooms and see for yourself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hamlin's Marina...The site of legendary Norumbega?

Check out this exerpt from Wikipedia about the lost City of Norumbega:

"Norumbega (or Norumb├Ęgue, Nurumbega, etc) was a legendary settlement in northeastern North America, inextricably connected with attempts to demonstrate Viking incursions in New England.  Like Cathay, it was a semi-legendary place name used to fill a gap in existing geographical knowledge.


An early reference was that of the French navigator, Jean Allefonsce (1542), who reported that he had coasted south from Newfoundland and had discovered a great river. "The river is more than 40 leagues wide at its entrance and retains its width some thirty or forty leagues. It is full of Islands, which stretch some ten or twelve leagues into the sea. ... Fifteen leagues within this river there is a town called Norombega, with clever inhabitants, who trade in furs of all sorts; the town folk are dressed in furs, wearing sable. ... The people use many words which sound like Latin. They worship the sun. They are tall and handsome in form. The land of Norombega lie high and is well situated."

The word "Norumbega" was originally spelled Oranbega in Girolamo da Verrazzano's 1529 map of America, and the word is believed to derive from one of the Algonquian languages spoken in New England. It is often cited as meaning "quiet place between the rapids" or "quiet stretch of water"."

Maybe you've heard of Norumbega...or maybe you haven't.  The subject actually arose during a discussion between myself and Dean Bennett, the Town of Hampden's director of economic development.  You see, Dean and I, have been working on building a waterfront park on the Penobscot River just south of our marina.  The new park will be situated on a spectacular piece of land which forms a 10 acre penninsula.  Chances are you have never seen this piece of land as it has been left undisturbed for about 100 years since Stern's Lumber mill vacated.  Well we were brainstorming about park names, and I remembered this old story I'd heard about a lost civilization somewhere in New England.  Also, I'd once spent a night at the Norumbega Inn in Camden, ME.

Now with all the technology and resources available to the common man like Google Earth and Wikipedia,  Dean and I quickly discovered that the new park actually may be the site of the mythical people.  The Wikipedia entries state that the city lies 15 leagues into the river.  Well, neither Dean nor I could remember how far a league was, but Google was quick to let us know its about 5.5 km.  And, yes neither one of us was very good with kilometers either, so Google informed us that a kilometer is .62 of a mile.  Anyway Dean and I put our heads together and figured out that Norumbega should be about 51 miles from Penobscot Bay.  The Google Earth measurement gave us about 25 miles up from the mouth of the river, but of course that is "how the crow flies".   Well, I'm pretty sure that those Vikings who found the Norumbegans couldn't fly like crows.  Our mighty Penobscot twists and turns like an ornery snake.

The best we could tell with our limited cartography skills, is that Hamlin's Marina is 51 miles north by water from where the Penobscot opens up into the mighty Atlantic.

The other piece of evidence that pretty much guarantees that Hamlin's Marina is in fact the modern day Norumbega is that all of our boaters here "worship the sun" and many of them are "tall and handsome in form".  I don't know how clever they all are, but I've heard some folks around here speak a language sharing some similarities to Latin.

Anyway, I think the new park should be called "Norumbega Park".  What do you think?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Degree of Fish Fever

Why should you fish anyway? You will spend endless hours trying to retrieve fish from water that is too deep, shallow or discolored. You'll have moments of disgust and moments of joy. Sometimes you'll wonder what you’re doing wrong; other times you'll wonder what you’re doing right. And after those long tireless hours, some of us will even return those fish to the tannic stained waters of Maine.

I fish a lot. But some people fish harder and longer than me. I like to blame their ability to out fish me on my age, but I have a strong feeling that it has to do with something else.

My brother in-law tells me how much he likes to fish. Every time I ask him to go, something gets in the way. It may be a barbecue he has planned with friends or a baseball game he wants to see. His degree of fish fever is probably low.

I have another friend. I asked him to go ice fishing with me last winter. He hates the cold and tepidly declined. But latter that evening, I received a call from him asking how the fishing was. He has a higher degree of fish fever and fished with me the following weekend.

Several years ago I was fishing Rangeley Lake, in western Maine, shortly after ice out. When we were pulling out of the water, after a long weekend of fishing, we ran into John. John had been fishing the Lake for two weeks. He had caught over fifty salmon during that time. John takes several weeks off from work moment Rangeley Lake opens up. John has a higher degree of fish fever than me.

What degree of fish fever do you have? Take the following test and add up the degrees to find your fever!

You've called in to work stating you were sick to go fishing =1* -You regularly skip family get-togethers to go fishing=1* -All you friends fish; if they don't, they're not your friend=1* -You own more than two fishing poles nut less than five=1* -You'll walk more than a mile or paddle more than three for a fishing spot=1* -You own more than five fishing poles=2* -You suck up to your friends that own a boat or fishing camp=2*

-You get pissed off when people catch more fish than you=2* -You regularly get up earlier that 4:00 AM to go fishing=2* -You dream about leaving your spouse, abandoning your family, purchasing a rig to travel across country with one thought in mind, fish, fish, and more fish=3*

-You regularly get up earlier than 3:00 AM to go fishing=3* -You decided to marry your spouse, or are deciding, because of her fishing ability=3* -You have spent more on your truck and boat than you paid for your house=4* -You think about fishing more than twice a day and read fishing literature or the FishHead blog at work=5* -You find a trip to LL Bean, Kittery Trading Post or Cabela's more exhilarating than a trip to the hospital for your first born=5* -You've sold your house to purchase your rig and obtain more time to fish=6* -You’ve quit your job because fishing season is open and you don’t know what you’re going to do other than fish=7* -Your contemplating a divorce because your spouse complains about the amount of time you spend fishing=8* -You've left your wife, abandoned your family, purchased a rig and are traveling across country with one thought in mind, fish, fish, and more fish=10*

How high is your fever?

(1*-3*)If you're degree of fish fever is between 1 and 3 degrees you have a mild fever. Limit your interaction with fishing buddies and fish less than once a month to cure the fever.

(4*-6*)Your fever is critical. It is important to sell all fishing equipment and cancel fishing plans if you want to stop the fever from progressing. This is a critical stage and if not managed properly your fever could become worse.

(7*-9*)You have a bad fever and have entered the management stage. The selling of equipment or canceling of fishing trips could cause panic attacks or worse. It is important to fish on a weekly basis to keep your composure but limit contact with other fisherman if at all possible. This could invoke the desire to out fish them and spend more and more in an attempt to do so.

(10* and over....) You have the fever baaaad! It is important to manage your life in a way that evolves around fishing. Limit your friends to people that fish and choose your spouse and her family carefully (marital problems could result if this is not followed properly) Fish every weekend and at least once during the week to limit the temptations to blow off work and go fishing. And finally fish till you drop! (Booking trips to Labrador or Alaska can help you with this endeavor).

You only live once!

Check out some of the finest Aluminum Fishing Boats here.

By: Marc Gilbert (A Hamlin's customer and very serious fisherman!)

Boat Sales, Service, and Marina at Hamlin's Marine

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Fresh and Saltwater Angling Connection

Many freshwater anglers feel that it is a whole different world when it comes to fishing in saltwater.  There is a common belief that you need a 10’ rod, 4oz lead weight, and a chunk of mackerel to go after striped bass and bluefish.  Not so!

For most freshwater anglers, you can use the same setup that you catch smallmouth with for stripers and blues.  If you have a smallmouth rod that is spooled up with 10#-12# test line of good condition (line that is less than 2 years old) you can fish for stripers and have a blast.

Of course playing a striped bass will test your fishing skills with some of the fish over 10 pounds but to be challenged is all apart of the fun of fishing.  You can land stripers up to 25 pounds or more with good technique, but most fish average 5 pounds, which makes the smallmouth setups perfect.

You need to keep in mind a few good fishing habits if you hook up with a fish over 10 pounds.  The drag needs to be adjusted for tension but lets line out before breaking.  Rod tip needs to be kept parallel to the ground or lower during the fight, this will avoid the dreaded “ high tipping” that puts too much stress on the tip and breaks it.  This occurs mostly when trying to land the fish.  Instead of lifting the rod tip to get the fish within arms length, sweep the rod parallel to the water, this will help keep the majority of the pressure on the butt or backbone of the rod that is the strongest part.  Of course those of us who regularly catch 5-pound smallies already know this, right?

You may be surprised what hits.  My clients and myself love to fish top water plugs.  There is nothing more exciting than seeing 3 or 4 stripers fighting over your plug on the surface.

The fishing begins and ends around the same time and the fish are most aggressive at the start and the finish just like fresh.  You don’t have to go to the crashing surf to catch fish; in fact the tidal rivers are where all the fish are at the end of May.  Just ask some of the fishermen in Waterville who have benefited nicely from the removal of the dam in Augusta a few years ago.

We are very lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country where we can fish for and catch fresh and saltwater fish in the same day.  In most cases if we have the equipment for fresh water than you are already set up for stripers.  Keep it simple and have fun.

On the subject of caring for your equipment, always rinse your reel, rod, and lures with fresh water after each trip.

We know the rod to use but what about lures?  Use the same lures you catch smallies with.  Bass are bass and stripers will respond to the same lures you use in fresh.  Of course some of the smaller plugs have hooks that are too light, but many of the manufacturers make “saltwater versions”.  Just to give a few examples, Chug Bug by Storm, Slug-Go by Lunker City, and Zara Spook by Heddon all make models with upgraded hooks suitable for stripers and are just as deadly.

Present your lure for stripers the same way you do for smallies.  Look for the same structure (rocks, holes, rip lines) and pretend your fishing in fresh water.

By Captain Keith Hall

Find some great saltwater and freshwater Fishing Boats here at Hamlin's Marine!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Super Bowl of Boat Shows This Weekend!

Spring is in the air, and it is time for the annual Bangor Boat show at the Bangor Auditorium this weekend.

This show will feature six local dealers showcasing the best new boats of 2011.  Hamlin’s Marina hopes you are able to attend the show and join us in welcoming in warm weather again.  We can’t wait to get our docks back in the river this spring.  Hopefully, your plans include a new boat this year!

Here are a few of the best deals being showcased in Bangor this weekend.  Make sure you check out both the photo galleries and the product video.

Sweetwater Sunrise 206C Pontoon Boat:

Sweetwater Sunrise 206 Pontoon Boat Boat Show Package Special

Stingray 225SX Sportboat:

Polar kraft 179 SE TC Aluminum Fishing Boat:

These boats are just a sampling of nearly 30 boats we will be bringing to show.

Also, Hamlin’s Marina is renovating a brand new 11,000 square foot boat show room and marine accessories store in the buildings formerly owned by Stern’s Lumber Company on Route 1A in Hampden.  Stay posted for our Grand Opening and Open House in the coming months!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Boat Shows Begin This Weekend...What's All The Ruckus?

I would wager a bet that most folks in Maine do not consider March their favorite month of the year.  December is wonderful because of the holidays and family.  January and February are cold and snowy, but Mainers are somehow fascinated by sub-zero temperatures and drifting snow.  Plus it gives us a chance to fire up the woodstove.  March, however, is the final stretch for Old Man Winter in Maine.  We are still getting belted by snow, our skin has turned to a pasty white, and we are tired of taking our boots off in the mud room.  Cabin fever has set in.  What better way to scoff Mother Nature than to attend a show and buy a new boat?

It’s a popular phenomenon.  Believe it or not, Hamlin’s Marine sells almost a third of our boats for the year during the month of March.  Cabin Fever may be one of the reasons people attend March boat shows to buy, but there are other reasons that make boat shows an excellent opportunity to purchase a new or used boat. 

Consumers always have an advantage at a boat show.  A boat show allows you to compare and contrast dozens of different boat models and dealers.  At a boat show, you can learn more about features, quality, and value than a years worth of research.  Since dealers are sharing space with competitors, you can be assured of getting the most for your money. 

The boat shows are also an excellent time to take advantage of discount pricing on 2010 models still in stock; previous year models are known as hold-overs.  Hold-over models are deeply discounted to make room for new inventory.  Better yet, most boat show incentives also apply to hold-over inventory.  Very little hold-over inventory makes it past the March show season.

Another reason people tend to buy in March, is that a we generally have time to custom order a boat in time for the season.   This way you don’t have to settle for a model that is the wrong color or may not have a certain feature, just because you want to get your family on the water. 

Finally, Hamlin’s Marine brings in outside experts to assist you in making a decision.  Experts include professional fishermen, boat manufacturers, and some of our long-time customers.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a third-party’s opinion when you are struggling to make a decision.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Big Things Afoot At Hamlin's Marina

Almost five years ago my family opened up shop on the Hampden waterfront as Hamlin's Marina.  In that time we've managed to grow into a thriving marina.  It's truly a wonderful place with colorful people, spectacular scenery, an quite a bit of excitement on any given day.

Hamlins Marina in Hampden

In the five years since we've opened, we've seen the place grow from a sleepy backwater to a thriving waterfront.  Many days the parking lot is full of trailers and the river is alive with cruisers hanging out on the docks, or headed off to far off places like Butter Island, Portland, or even Cape Cod. 

We've managed to grow the staff little by little and we've invested in the facility to accomodate the service needs of the boaters who call us home.

This year is a banner year for Hamlin's Marina and the Hampden waterfront.  Both Hamlin's facilities and the public facilities will grow dramatically.  First, Hamlin's bought the retail lumber buildings from Stern's Lumber on Route 1A just above the waterfront. 

New Hamlin's Sales Showroom Prior to Renovation
 This new showroom, when completed in April, will showcase new boats, marine engines, and accessories.  Hamlin's showroom will feature approximately 10,000 square feet of retail space allowing us to display forty new boats inside.  I believe this will be the largest facility dedicated to boat sales in New England!

Just as exciting is that we have finalized plans to swap ten acres of land adjoining the ramp at the marina to be developed into a public park with walking trails, a new parking lot, scenic vistas, and municipal dock and mooring facilities.  This has been in the works for over four years and work should begin within the next year.  Below is a conceptual drawing of the future waterfront with the new park:

Future Plans for the Hampden Waterfront

Finally, this is my favorite part!  I love food, and we are going to have a brand new restaurant opening on the waterfront where Dana's snackbar has operated for many years.  This new restaurant will be featuring a full lunch and dinner menu with waterfront patio seating.  The menu will include a selection of beers and wines.  More information on this piece will be available soon!

Come join us on the Hampden waterfront at Hamlin's Marina this year!  It is truly a year to remember.

Maine Marina in Hampden, Maine at Hamlin's Marine

Friday, February 25, 2011

Does this boat belong in the Smithsonian, or on your dock?

Mastercraft.  What does it mean?  The brochure may have you believe that it is a line of boats straddling the line between luxury and performance.  To us at Hamlin's on the northern fringe of the developed world, we view the Mastercrafts as art on the water.  Mastercraft simply offers the best design and features available on the market today.  We ordered three masterpieces for X2, an X15, and the new 214V.  The X2 has already found a home for next season.

The 214V is of particular interest to us this season as it is a completely new design, seemingly cut from a piece of granite rather than fiberglass.

Somehow, someway Mastercraft manifested a seamless combination of form and function.  Comfortable seating and practical storage combines with exilirating performance.  The 214V is an engineering marvel powered by an Indmar LY 6 delivering over 400 HP to just over 21' of boat.

The 214 is a V-Drive (managing to push the motor to the back of the boat without comprimising soft and flat wakes for slalom skiing).  If you are skiing, you better trust your driver not to pull your arms out of their sockets.

A functional and beautiful new windshield design allows clear and unobstructed viewing of a skier on a boom.

Now if you are the chosen one to pilot this beautiful craft, visiting hours are available in our Waterville showroom with an appointment.  The only thing that will make me happy when this one leaves the showroom is the thought that I might be able to order another one!