Clay Shidler’s Hang ‘Em High Sportfishing fleet runs 1,400 charter days per year, taking anglers from across the U.S. and around the world out to enjoy the epic variety of fishing opportunities found off the Florida Gulf Coast. They fish inshore waters for popular species like snook, redfish, tarpon and speckled trout, hit offshore wrecks and reefs for big grouper, mutton snapper and cobia, and chase pelagic wahoo, dolphin and blackfin tuna offshore. During the months of August and September, they switch to fishing out of Marathon in the Florida Keys. Thousands of hours on the water, thousands of miles traveled and enough fishing action to keep hundreds of customers happy each year.
At the center of this success is a category of equipment you might not expect. Not a type of sonar, braided line brand or latest fishing reel technology. According to Shidler and many other top pros like him, Dometic marine steering is at the center of this fishing success.
From his home base in Crystal River, Shidler and his group of top guides operate a fleet of seven state-of-the-art fishing boats, all using Dometic equipment for that critical link between man and machine. The Hang ‘Em High inshore fleet includes two Gulfshore 24 Bay Boats powered with 300HP Suzuki outboards and a Gulfshore 26 Bay Boat with a 350 Suzuki. Shidler’s stable of offshore catamarans includes a Freeman 34 with twin Suzuki 350s, a Freeman 37 with quad Suzuki 350s and two Freeman 42 footers with quad Suzuki 350s. His newest 42 Freeman is particularly hard to miss—it boasts an awesome wrap with a huge Dometic logo emblazoned across the sides.
Five of his boats in Shidler’s fleet rely on Dometic Power Assist Hydraulic steering for comfortable, precision steering control during long days on the water. Two of his flagship vessels—the Freeman 34 and the newer of his two Freeman 42s—feature Dometic Electric Power Steering with Optimus 360 Joystick Control.
“I especially love the Optimus 360 ‘Sea Station’ GPS anchor feature,” said Shidler. “It’s an incredible asset and time saver when we want to fish over structure like wrecks and reefs. This amazing technology uses precision shift and throttle control to hold us in place where we want to fish, saving the time and effort of anchoring up,” Shidler added. Shidler remarked that the Optimus Joystick control is also a valuable asset for his crews when they encounter docking situations where wind and current are working against each other and making maneuvering a challenge.
“Another thing I love is the Dometic autopilot system and how it integrates with my Simrad marine electronics package,” said Shidler. “It’s the best autopilot system I’ve used, bar none. We run 100 miles each way all the time to find the fish, so autopilots are very important on our offshore boats. I figure we run 900-1,000 hours a year while navigating with the autopilot system.”
See why Dometic’s advanced steering, controls, adaptive trim tabs and other technologies are the choice of top fishing professionals everywhere.
Visit Dometic.com to learn more.