Step aboard the 72-foot Bayliss Old Reliable with a private tour from Smith as he takes us around his new boat, which splashed in July of 2021. The custom-built craft was specifically designed for chasing billfish on fly and was recently prepped for a multi-year Pacific tour.
And the day before Old Reliable shipped out, Nick Smith and Capt. Chip Shafer provided InTheBite with a guided walk-through to talk about the boat’s personal touches and offshore capabilities. It is rare to see a boat so personally customized for one goal and that is chasing and catching billfish on fly.
Join us for this 13-part video series that takes an in-depth look at what went into building this custom sportfisher. Check back in every Monday and Friday when we’ll be uploading a new video with fresh content from Nick Smith and Capt. Chip Shafer.
This video series is brought to you by MacGregor Yachts, the premier and preferred yacht brokerage of South Florida. The luxury yacht broker provides a full range of services for buyers and sellers of custom sportfishing yachts and luxury motor yachts, as well as new and used boats.
Bonus Episode: Fly Fishing Tools
Were you wondering what those hooks on the Old Reliable’s ladder were? In our final installment, Nick Smith breaks down the reefing hooks and how they work with fly leader tying. We also look at a tool to help control billfish without hurting them when they’re near the boat and we cover the different fly rods and where they go. Throw in a work station tour, a portable splicing device and an unconventional spot for the fly rods and we’ve got a full fly fishing tour.
Part 13: Capt. Chip Shafer Bridge Layout Cont’d
Captain Chip Shafer tells us how he likes to set up his autopilot. Shafer also looks back on fishing and how he believes there is now more opportunity for fishing teams to win tournaments than ever before. But in the end it’s all about enjoying being out on the water.
Part 12: Capt. Chip Shafer Bridge Layout
We switch gears and head to the bridge with Old Reliable’s Captain Chip Shafer who breaks down the sportfisher’s displays, the sonar, and new features such a tank level display and a new tool for night traveling.
Part 11: Salon Continued
Because there are usually going to be at least six people on board, Smith set the seating up with three chairs from Release Marine at the island with room for everyone else to be at the dinette area. He first saw the chairs about 10 years ago at a boat show and knew they would be on his next boat. Additional storage can be found under the sofas, no cushion removal necessary.
Part 10: Pantry & Salon
While Nick Smith’s first choice for cork didn’t work John Bayliss used his design expertise to find the perfect—and durable—cork for Old Reliable. Additional custom touches include an easily accessible sink for Nick to clean up after fishing and a hidden cabinet for when it’s time to wind down.
Part 9: The Galley
From the double sinks to the plumbed coffee maker and custom hinges from the Bayliss machine shop, the Old Reliable galley is all about form and function.
Part 8: Guest, Crew & Master Staterooms
Storage and space is plentiful on the Old Reliable. Bunks are a minimum length of six feet nine inches, guests have access to full-sized hanging lockers and a queen-sized mattress in the stateroom lifts up for additional storage.
Part 7: Captain’s Quarters
We head inside to take a look at Capt. Chip Shafer’s quarters complete with a full monitoring system so he can keep track on what is happening outside at all times. Drawers all the way around the bed also provide storage without sacrificing space.
Part 6: Faux Paint Accents
Because Old Reliable probably won’t see the eastern coast of the US for the next five or seven years while in the Pacific, maintenance is very important. This is why faux teak is used—it’s a lot easier to keep up and provides the ability to do more trim work, according to owner Nick Smith.
Part 5: The Cockpit Continued
Legendary angler and owner Nick Smith continues his tour of the cockpit and shows us the storage capacity of the lazarette and custom fly console, aka Soda Bar. Lazarette access on the Old Reliable reveals electronic steering.
Part 4: Fly Fishing Cockpit Juice Bar
Owner Nick Smith shows us the custom-made rod holders designed to make sure the team is ready for different species of fish, from sailfish to striped marlin. Nick also breaks down the dredge reel with custom cam cleat adapter for dredge leash.
Part 3: The Cockpit
We head to the back of the boat and up the ladder where Nick breaks down all the components, from access to the engine compartment, complete with fireproof door, to the diamond pattern on the mezzanine upholstery and the unofficially christened “juice bar.”
Part 2: 22 Years in the Making
Nick Smith discusses how he fell into the offshore fly fishing world and the kind of boat he wanted to pursue this passion. Plus we break down the boat’s specs.
Part 1: Purpose-Built Like No Other
Owner Nick Smith discusses the why and how of building the new 72-footer Old Reliable as the crew prepares to head to Baja through the Panama canal.