It is making wakes through the paddle boarding community – literally. The Rover is Bote’s newest addition to their 2018 line-up of stunning boards, only this one has a motor. Clearly designed with the fisherman in mind the board boasts a 500lbs weight capacity, all the attachment capabilities you could ever dream of needing, and with the added Rotopacs and a 6hp Mercury Engine, the ability to go 100 miles at speeds up to 18mph. The design highlights performance for one rider but there is still plenty of room to bring along a friend, the kids, or the family dog to your water adventure. Luckily, I got to be a passenger for a fishing trip on the Indian River Lagoon.
Sean came cruising up, fully equipped and clearly ready for a morning of fishing. I hopped on the Rover and took a seat on the Kula at the front of the board while he stood at the Grabrac behind me. The board was also outfitted with three fishing poles, one in each holder on the Grabrac and one to trolled behind us on the Motorrac, a bucket to hold his casting net and other tools, and the Kula for bait fish (also doubled as my seat). It was a bit of windy morning, winds 12-14mph so I was a bit nervous as we went out towards the channel to try our luck for some mullet. It handled better than expected though, as we easily accelerated over boat wakes and the windy conditions with no fear of capsizing.
We arrived at our first spot where Sean sent out his cast net a few times to get bait fish. Even with the two of us on the 14ft board, he still had plenty of room to cast his net out, gather the catch and toss in the Kula. The next stop was far up a canal, so we could drift down with the current. First Cast – First Catch! With some (sort of) good luck, Sean pulled up a small tarpon that couldn’t have been bigger than my hand. A quick catch and release while we continued to move down the canal.
With both of our lines now cast we easily positioned the Rover where we wanted it while keeping our lines in the water. Sean has been fishing for practically his whole life and it showed as we kept both lines baited with either live bait or chum to attract tarpon, mullet or possibly the small bull shark in the waters around us. Easiest to see were the small shark, which were visible in every direction in the shallow areas of the canal. We floated to the end without much action but it was when we used the sandspear to hold ourselves to the embankment that we saw the most action. We were then able to catch some smaller fish, including a catfish, and most impressively a shark.
When we hooked the shark the first thing Sean did was pull out the Sandspear so we could be sure to float with the shark as we reeled in our catch. After fighting and pulling we got it to the edge of the Rover. The moment of truth was getting the shark onto the board. Sean held it down with one knee and somehow even managed to get his hook back before releasing it back into the river. After what felt like ten minutes (but was probably closer to two) he looked at me, laughed and said, “Well that went better than expected.” During this commotion I remember thinking how surprised I was at how comfortable and stable the board remained despite our battle.
With that we called it a day. Honestly, I knew we’d be able to catch something but was pretty sure a small shark wouldn’t be on our itinerary! What I was most impressed with was how easy it was not just to maneuver the Rover on the water but also move around on the Rover without fear of falling. We were always needing to shift our positions to get a better angle for our lines or get more bait. Really, it would have been just as easy to drop one off to wade fish as the other stayed. The Rover made this fishing trip easy and fun! All you need on it are your essentials and maybe a friend for a fun time on the water. Similar to a micro skiff but able to go into the skinniest of waters, there is certainly a place for the New Rover on the water!