A Photo Finish! Meet The 2023 Dream Boat Winner! - The Fisherman

A Photo Finish! Meet The 2023 Dream Boat Winner!

Dream Boat winner Bobby Cifarelli with the 16.26-pound blackfish that sealed the deal on his 2023 win!

Meet Bobby Cifarelli, that man who came out victorious after the thrilling finish of the 2023 Dream Boat Challenge!

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past 3 years of watching how the Dream Boat Challenge unfolds, it’s that you can expect late-inning heroics as the competition starts getting really fierce by the middle of October. The 2023 tournament certainly did not disappoint on either front.

After a new rule made former grand prize winners ineligible to compete, the field of competitors was opened up for some new hardcore fishermen to duke it out at the top of the leaderboard. What began as a marathon, morphed into a slug fest by November and the mind-blowing finish would attain ‘instant classic’ status if it had been a championship run in any professional sport.

Second place winner Kyle Krause gave Cifarelli all he could handle in 2023, here’s Kyle with his category leading, 4.9-pound sea bass.

An All-Time Finish!

Look at how all this went down…as of October 12, we had Kyle Krause in third place with 15 points, Eddie Terribile in second with 18 points and Bobby Cifarelli in the lead with 24 points. Fast-forward to October 25 and Kyle Krause makes big moves to land the win, logging two big fish; an 8.2-pound tog and a category-leading 4.9-pound sea bass, flipping the script on Cifarelli and snatching the lead with 34 points over Bobby’s 24. Then the haymakers began to fall. Kyle Krause upgraded his tog to 8.9 pounds. Bobby C. pulled a move that could only be compared to Michael Jordan, Reggie Jackson or Secretariat, besting the leading tog by a whopping 6 pounds and catapulting himself into first place over Krause 33 to 30! Then, in the final week of the event, Kyle Krause channeled his inner David Ortiz, made the trip to Block Island and found what he was looking for, a porgy that would pump up his score. The 2.6-pounder locked him into a dead heat with Bobby Cifarelli, 33 to 33! Kyle blew minds with by logging ‘top 10’ fish in six of the seven species categories.

But the Dream Boat tiebreaker rules state that the angler with the largest fish between tied participants will earn the higher placement, and with Bobby’s 16.26-pound blackfish being the largest fish entered during the entire 2023 Dream Boat Challenge, he was awarded the win and – pending his passing of a professionally administered polygraph test – he will win the Steiger Craft 21-foot Classic Center Console powered by a Yamaha 150-horsepower outboard motor, with a Humminbird Apex 13 MEGA SI+ Chartplotter, Minn Kota Riptide Terrova 112 Trolling Motor, Orion offshore first aid kit and $200 Shurhold gift card.

Kyle Krause wins the Fishing Trip of a Lifetime, he and up to three guests will be treated to a five day/four night stay at Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, Costa Rica. The trip includes two full-day and one half-day fishing charters, along with world class accommodations in a tropical fishing paradise. He too will take home a $200 Shurhold gift card. Third place winner Norman Bouchard walks away with the Sea Eagle Fishing Explorer 350FX, a ‘tough as nails’ inflatable kayak fully rigged for fishing, along with a $200 Shurhold gift card.

This 3.04-pound porgy was the fish that started Cifarelli’s amazing championship run.

Meet The Man

In our conversations, Bobby Cifarelli comes off as a genuine and humble guy who just loves to fish. The youngest of four brothers, he credits them with getting him into fishing, which he’s been doing for just about as long as he’s been able to stand up. Bobby works as a union millwright, installing conveyor belts and turbines in commercial buildings. When I asked him what the hardest part of winning the Dream Boat Challenge was he said, “Honestly, it was getting enough time off work to stay in the game.”

Cifarelli didn’t go into the season planning to take on the challenge of winning the event. “It kind of just happened, I caught that porgy in early May,” referencing the 3.04-pounder that still stands at number 2 in the category, “and I started to try a little harder.” He went on to say, “I’m a big striped bass guy and I came across some weakfish while bass fishing about week after the porgy, so I focused on them, put a lot of time in and landed another big fish!” The 8.47-pounder he weighed in on May 16, remains the number four fish in the category. “Even then though, I didn’t really think I was going to win, I just had more motivation to try,” he added.  The turning point for Bobby came in the form of a gator bluefish. “I wasn’t even fishing for bluefish and then [on June 24] I caught that 15.2-pounder while bass fishing and I started to feel good about my chances,” he said.

“I was in the lead for most of the summer and I decided to focus on fluke.” Summer flounder turned out to be the hardest fish to put on the board for Cifarelli. “I made a few trips to Nantucket Shoals, I went to Montauk several times, I went to Block and I couldn’t break into double digits!” Bobby told me. This year the Dream Boat saw many large fluke, even the smallest one on the final scoreboard is a certified doormat at 10.72 pounds. This just goes to show that even a skilled angler, fishing the best fluke waters in the entire world does not guarantee a hookup with a trophy fish.

Bobby’s 8.47-pound weakfish came after intense effort and became a pivotal component of his winning score.

Fierce Competition

I always ask tournament winners if they can provide any words of advice for future competitors. Bobby, in his humble way, said, “I don’t know, you just have to fish a lot and put in a lot of time and things have to go your way. I’ll be honest, I’m really glad I pulled this off because I don’t know if I could do this again.” Bobby went on to say that fishing the Dream Boat Challenge was a lot of fun and provided a lot of motivation to fish, but also was a source of stress at times when other competitors began nipping at his heels in October and November. “I have to say, I have a ton of respect for Kyle Krause, putting up the numbers when he needed to like that, he’s clearly a great fisherman and one heck of a competitor as well!”

It was Kyle’s persistence that pushed Bobby to fish harder in November and that push came right at the perfect time inspiring Bobby and a few friends made a trip to Rhode Island to look for a giant blackfish. “I fish a tight drag and that fish took several runs,” Bobby said of his 16.26-pound titan of a tog he weighed in on Veteran’s Day, “I figured it must be a double digit, but when I saw it, I was just in awe. Just a giant fish.” Bobby described a feeling of relief after landing what ended up being the heaviest fish of any species entered in 2023, “I sat back and relaxed, I didn’t even touch a rod for at least an hour. I knew I would be tough to beat but obviously Kyle gave it all he could and you can’t come any closer that that!”

When I asked what his plans for the new ride were, he said, “You know, I don’t know yet. It will definitely allow me to fish more than I did in the past, but I don’t think it’s going to replace my passion for fishing for striped bass from the surf. It’s just going to add another level to my fishing and that’s going to be awesome!”

For those who love competition and would like the chance to win a brand new, decked out boat, The Fisherman Magazine will again run the Dream Boat Challenge in 2024. You won’t be duking it out with Bobby though, because past winners are no longer eligible to compete, but you’ll certainly have your hands full with Kyle Krause. Take the challenge and find out the fun way if you have what it takes to master the marathon that is the Dream Boat Challenge!



LARGEST OF SPECIES WINNER: Derrick Plummer 8.66 – 5/28/23

MAY FISH OF THE MONTH WINNER :  Derrick Plummer 8.66 – 5/28/23


LARGEST OF SPECIES WINNER: Ralph Caprio 13.00 – 7/27/23

JULY FISH OF THE MONTH WINNER:  Ralph Caprio 13.00 – 7/27/23


LARGEST OF SPECIES WINNER: Adrian Taylor 3.14 – 8/20/23


LARGEST OF SPECIES WINNER: Norman Bouchard 16.20 – 10/14/23

OCTOBER  FISH OF THE MONTH WINNER:  Norman Bouchard 16.20 – 10/14/23


LARGEST OF SPECIES WINNER :  Jo Hernandez 3.34 – 5/17/23

JUNE FISH OF THE MONTH WINNER: William Morrison 2.76 – 6/1/23


LARGEST OF SPECIES WINNER : Kyle Krause 4.90 – 10/18/23

AUGUST FISH OF THE MONTH WINNER: Norman Bouchard 4.15 – 8/23/23


LARGEST OF SPECIES WINNER : Bobby Cifarelli – 16.26 – 11/11/23

NOVEMBER  FISH OF THE MONTH WINNER:  Bobby Cifarelli – 16.26 – 11/11/23


21 Classic Center Console Boat 

The 21 Classic has been a fixture in Steiger Craft’s fishing boat lineup for over 30-years. There are many good reasons for this longevity and universal appeal. Accordingly, it was the logical choice to be the upcoming 2023 Fisherman Dream Boat Contest’s #1 prize. 

The 21 Classic has been a fixture in Steiger Craft’s fishing boat lineup for over 30-years. There are many good reasons for this longevity and universal appeal. Accordingly, it was the logical choice to be the upcoming 2023 Fisherman Dream Boat Contest’s #1 prize.

For more information go to www.steigercraft.com





Yamaha F150XCA Outbord Motor

The F150 is one that started it all and it’s more popular than ever. Powerful, light and compact, it’s mechanical or digital compatible and uses integrated steering, making it more streamlined and responsive than ever before.

  • Compatible with mechanical, digital or Helm Master® EX boat controls

  • Comes with integrated electro-hydraulic steering for digital models and integrated hydraulic steering for mechanical models

  •  25” shaft

  • Powerful 50-amp alternator (2.8-liter digital)

Click here for more information


Minn Kota Riptide Terrova Trolling Motor / 112lbs of thrust / 87” shaft / i-Pilot Link GPS System


Riptide Terrova answers every question and leaves no doubt. Power? It’s got 112 pounds of thrust. Control? i-Pilot® Link™ Integrated GPS trolling system including Spot-Lock®, and Humminbird® fish finder integration. Stow and deploy it effortlessly with new Lift-Assist Design. And stealth? It’s a Riptide®.

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The APEX 13 MEGA SI+ CHARTPLOTTER provides the clearest sonar imaging on the sharpest multi-function display that anglers have ever seen. Industry-leading MEGA Imaging+ and Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar come standard, with even more performance from a dedicated sonar channel for accessory 2D CHIRP transducers up to 2kW. See it all clearly with a 13.3″ Full-HD touchscreen that provides a customized display of information from advanced network options like NMEA 2000®, HDMI In/Out, WiFi and Bluetooth®. Add the power of the One-Boat Network™ to integrate the accuracy of Humminbird GPS charts, unrivaled boat control from Minn Kota®, and reach new depths with wireless Cannon® Optimum™ downrigger control. The APEX Series is a new kind of MFD that will take you fishing to a new level.

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$200 Shurhold Gift Certificate

Shurhold manufactures the best detailing brushes, machine polishers, waxes, and more. Our mission is to provide you with quality tools and the best techniques to achieve a showroom shine. Make sure to check out our “How to…” videos and articles where we help you keep your Boat, Car, or RV Clean-N-Simple.

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Marina Pez Vela – Costa Rica Fishing Destination

THE MARINA HAS ONE OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR NATURAL SETTINGS ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET WITH RAINFOREST COVERED MOUNTAINS, TEEMING WITH WILDLIFE, CASCADING DOWN TO THE TURQUOISE WATERS OF THE PACIFIC. A WORLD CLASS MARINA, YACHT YARD AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT WITH ROOTS FIRMLY PLANTED IN THE HISTORY, CULTURE AND STUNNING NATURAL BEAUTY OF THE QUEPOS/MANUEL ANTONIO AREA. Second Place Prize:  4 nights/5 days stay at Marine Pez Vela in Costa Rica for up to 4 people. Four (4) nights of luxury accommodations onsite at the Marina. Includes two (2) days offshore fishing trips. One (1) half day inshore fishing trip.  Airport transfers to and from San Jose, Costa Rica Airport to Marina Pez Vela Marina. 4 Dinner Vouchers, 4 Marina Pez Vela shirt/hat combos. Airfare from the United States is not included. Fishing license, meals, all other costs are not included. Must be redeemed in 2024.


Click Here for More Information 


$200 Shurhold Gift Certificate

Shurhold manufactures the best detailing brushes, machine polishers, waxes, and more. Our mission is to provide you with quality tools and the best techniques to achieve a showroom shine. Make sure to check out our “How to…” videos and articles where we help you keep your Boat, Car, or RV Clean-N-Simple.

Click here for more information










Fishing Explorer 350fx Fish Rig Package

Explore More Fishing Locations with this Tough As Nails Fishing Kayak! The Sea Eagle Fishing Explorer is a robust, beefed up, fully accessorized version of the rugged Explorer Series. Designed by and for avid fishermen. Featuring: double layered, nearly indestructible, tough as crocodile hide, 2000 Denier reinforced protective layers, 6 built-in rod holders, forward and aft spray skirts with Sea Eagle exclusive accessory belts to hold your tools, hooks, and lures, a fully adjustable foot brace called the FlexBrace™, 40″ FishRuler™, anchor trolley D-rings, a huge max load capacity of 575 lbs., and is completely self-bailing. So bring on the roughest conditions and still get to those fish!

Click Here For More Information

$200 Shurhold Gift Certificate

Shurhold manufactures the best detailing brushes, machine polishers, waxes, and more. Our mission is to provide you with quality tools and the best techniques to achieve a showroom shine. Make sure to check out our “How to…” videos and articles where we help you keep your Boat, Car, or RV Clean-N-Simple.

Click here for more information






Fish Mount From Grays Taxidermy 

Receive a life like fish mount replica of your fish.

Gray Taxidermy is proud to say that we are the largest marine Taxidermy company in the world, handcrafting the finest quality and most realistic custom trophy fish mounts in the industry. Our company has been in business for over 50 years, giving us the knowledge and experience to create your trophy fish mount of a lifetime. Each and every trophy mount is tailor made with attention to every detail of your catch, a real one-of-kind work of art. Knowing that the trophy mount we build represents a memory lasting for years to come, and earning a repeat customer by providing exceptional customer service is by far our greatest reward.

Click here for more information

Fin-Nor Sunglasses

Fin-Nor  engineers were tasked with one job: to create a lens unlike any other, designed with anglers in mind. What they’ve created was a 7-layer lenses that are carefully crafted to provide ultimate performance in a durable package ready for on-the-water action.

Click Here for more information


$200 Shurhold Gift Certificate

Shurhold manufactures the best detailing brushes, machine polishers, waxes, and more. Our mission is to provide you with quality tools and the best techniques to achieve a showroom shine. Make sure to check out our “How to…” videos and articles where we help you keep your Boat, Car, or RV Clean-N-Simple.

Click here for more information







Tsunami Shield Reel

The Tsunami Shield series of Salt waterproof spinning reels feature up to 13 internal seals in key, strategic locations to shield critical components from harmful saltwater intrusion. The internal seals, super smooth and strong CF3 carbon fiber drag system and 5 sealed stainless steel bearings are wrapped in a hybrid machined aluminum body combining protection, precision and toughness. The heavy-duty rotor brake controlled bail system and precision machined aluminum, braid-ready spool assure the best control of super braids cast after long cast.

The 5000 and 6000 Shield reels contain 13 various internal seals at all of the locations where salt water could reasonably be expected to penetrate the reel for even greater protection in these larger reels. Hybrid all metal construction includes precision machined aircraft aluminum and tempered aluminum precision stampings and heavy duty protective anodizing to keep these reels operating up to factory specifications year after year. The combination of these top-notch designs and precisely mated components are what make the Tsunami Shield spinning reels an all new contender for your favorite reel for years to come!

Tsunami Shield Spinning Reels Features:

  • 10-13 internal seals for water resistant protection
  • Aluminum body
  • Machined aluminum spool, rotor, side plate cover, and handle arm
  • 5 sealed stainless steel bearing system
  • Braid ready spool
  • Carbon fiber drag system

 Click here for more information

Tsunami ArmourTech Jig Spinning Rod

New for 2023, the ArmourTech line of rods was built to be a bulldog, plain and simple. With a helically wrapped carbon blank and solid carbon tip, these rods can muscle up the biggest and meanest game fish from the deep. Available in 2 boat spin models and 3 jigging specific spin models, the ArmourTech line is ready and able.

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Dextreme Dual Edge 8″ Flexible fillet knife Product model # DX8F

Developed specifically for anglers, the Dextreme series features a 2-in-1 blade and an ergonomic handle engineered to deliver great cuts with no compromises. The dual blade enables you to cut through scales without dulling the fillet blade for a more efficient fillet with just one knife! Use the upper Tiger edge to cut through scales and tougher surfaces while preserving the fillet blade’s sharpness. Then flip the DEXGRIP™ ambidextrous handle and use the lower blade for precision work. The comfortable, non-slip handle accommodates any hand and finger position for greater control. The flex blade is perfect for filleting Seabass, Stripers, Toutog, Tuna, and more. Sharp, flexible and durable, you’ll find this 2-in-1 knife is all the knife you need.


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Owner SSW 2o Pack of Hooks

Features include black chrome finish, up-eye forged shank and reversed-bend super needle point.

Click here for Information About Owner Hooks




Tsunami Soft Bait Swim Shad Lures

All of these lures are tank tested to assure proper performance and strike triggering action. Precise weight balancing designs in all models ensure a tumble free casting performance. The field testing is also apparent in a better-balanced swimming or jigging action.


(1) Winner – Sionyx Nightwave

Nightwave is an ultra-low-light marine camera that allows mariners of all levels to easily spot obstacles and debris in moonless starlight without white light or expensive thermal cameras – navigating safely, avoiding collisions, and maximizing time on the water. Featuring <1 millilux moonless starlight sensitivity, with Nightwave, you will see well beyond human eyesight. The 44º field of view increases situational awareness so you can spot unexpected markers, vessels, land formations, and more. IP67 rated, submersible to 3 ft for 30 minutes, you can safely use Nightwave in inclement weather conditions. With easy mounting and setup, Nightwave can stream video to a mobile device via WiFi or the all-new SIONYX app. Users can directly connect to a vessel’s MFD via analog output, displaying clear color digital night vision.

Click here for more information



One (1) Winner – Engel 80 Cooler

Engel, the original high-performance roto-molded cooler was built for toughness and durability. With a full 2 inches of closed-cell foam insulation in the lid, on the sides, and the bottom, helping to retain cold and ice for up to 10 days.

Click here for more information

Four (4) Winners – Accurate Fury Reel

The Fury is Accurate’s entry into the single drag market. These reels are designed with all the precision and power you come to expect from Accurate, with competitive pricing for those anglers on a budget looking for the best value. Fury reels are offered in both single and 2-speed models. These reels offer the same features as our top of the line reels such as the Accurate-exclusive stainless steel ARB and a sleeved spool for max free spool.

Click here for more information

Click here for more information 



Ten (10) Yo-Zuri Prize Pack




Subscribe & Win! The Dream Boat Challenge

Will you be the next big winner in The Fisherman’s ’24 Dream Boat Challenge?

Starts May 1st – Dream Boat Fishing Challenge


Boat Review: Steiger 21 Classic

A detailed look at your 2023 Dream Boat!