Official Winners of The Fisherman’s 2021 Dream Boat Fishing Challenge! Congratulations to all who participated!
It was a battle that came down to the last week of competition.
The Dream Boat Challenge is a unique competition that The Fisherman Magazine hosts every year and it brings out the competitive spirit in many anglers. In the end of this season-long angling marathon, one competitor will reign supreme. In other words, their dream will become a reality, and that’s why we call it the Dream Boat Challenge.
When the dust settled in 2021, that angler was Henry Piacentino.
It was a battle that came down to the final week of the competition. Some last-minute entries gave Henry the bump he needed to finish with the victory. After his win was confirmed, we interviewed him about the experiences that lead him to the big win.
WHAT INSPIRED HIM?
The main inspiration for Henry during the 2021 Dream Boat Fishing Challenge was his main fishing partner, his aunt Mary Grace, who sadly passed away in 2020. Aunt Grace got Henry into angling at a very young age, and he credits her with his deep passion for the sport. They made frequent trips to Captree State Park where the duo would fish on head boats for an array of species. Her yearly gift for Henry was an annual subscription to The Fisherman Magazine, she too was a longtime subscriber and followed along with the Dream Boat Challenge every season. This was the first year he subscribed himself since her passing, and Henry’s main goal was to honor her by participating in the competition.
WHAT SPARKED THE DEDICATION?
While we all have reasons for beginning a quest, there’s usually something else that pushes us to take it to the next level. In Henry’s case, catching his personal-best weakfish during the tournament gave him the spark. The 7.58-pounder was his first of many weigh-ins for 2021, and the impressive fish took a Bass Assassin on 1/4-ounce jighead on the popular Ocean Beach grounds. The tiderunner was the beginning of his path to victory.
WHAT’S YOUR STRATEGY?
This competition is no walk in the park. If you have followed along with prior Dream Boat Challenges, you would know that the winners have implemented strategies to give themselves the greatest odds of winning. For Henry, he used a series of different approaches to stay competitive and ultimately, prevail. Many of the resources that The Fisherman has to offer helped Henry along the way, including our weekly written and video reports which kept him in tune with the bite. Another way Henry got the job done was by focusing heavily on the ‘Fish of the Month’ species. He figured if an individual species was placed in a specific month, that month had to be one of the best times to target them.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?
While many trips along Henry’s journey stuck out to him, we wanted to know which one shined brightest. After some thought, he concluded that his Thanksgiving tog trip took the cake. He was hesitant to go since it was a holiday, but he vividly remembers hearing his aunt’s voice encouraging him to make the trip. Discouraged after an initial slow bite, he made a move to the bow of the boat, where he dropped the biggest green crab he could find. Within just a few minutes, he thought he had snagged bottom, but it turned out to be a beastly tog that brought the needle down to 11.92 pounds.
Henry said finding big fluke was the hardest part of the challenge for him. He had fluke up to 14 pounds in years past, so Henry was no stranger to doormats. On a week-long trip to Montauk during a prime window in 2021, he focused heavily on fluke but couldn’t break 5 pounds. That’s why they call it fishing!
Henry plans on using his brand new Steiger Craft 25 CC equipped with a Yamaha 300-horspower engine to take his family out fishing. One day he’d like to trailer it to Florida to take his grandmother fishing as well. He also plans to pursue his interest in offshore species with the new vessel.
To those participating in the 2022 Dream Boat Challenge, Henry left us with these words of advice – “Find something to make you go the extra mile, do research, use your resources, try new things and think outside the box.”
These thoughts helped Henry’s dream come true—and they might just help yours too.
255 Center Console Boat
It’s the largest of a trio of center consoles (255, 23 and 21) currently offered by this Bellport, Long Island-based boat builder that is approaching its fifth decade of producing quality coastal fishing boats. The 255 Center Console is powered by a 300 HP Yamaha outboard motor making it the ultimate fishing boat for the Northeast and our most impressive prize ever.
See Full Video For more information go to www.steigercraft.com
Yamaha 300 HP
The award-winning 4.2-liter F300 is the king of our V6’s. Weighing in at only 562 pounds (digital) and 551 pounds (mechanical), it’s up to 73 pounds lighter than some competitors. The Plasma Fused Sleeveless Cylinder technology makes a leaner platform with more displacement than any of Yamaha’s previous V6 outboards. Combine this with Yamaha’s legendary reliability and it’s easy to see why it’s the top choice for offshore performance.
Minn Kota RT Terrova 112-72” Link Moto:
Riptide Terrova answers every question and leaves no doubt. Power? It’s got 112 pounds of thrust. Control? i-Pilot GPS trolling system including Spot-Lock, and Humminbird fish finder integration. And stealth? It’s a Riptide®.
Humminbird SOLIX 12 MSI + HB 2124 radar
The HB 2124 is our Humminbird CHIRP Radar that features CHIRP pulse compression, setting a new standard for compact solid-state radar. It delivers superior radar imaging on both long and extremely short ranges. This translates to better situational awareness in low-visibility conditions and helps identify floating obstacles and structures for clues to where gamefish are located. In addition, track weather, hazards and other vessels with amazing definition for navigational safety.
Humminbird SOLIX 12 MSI G2
The SOLIX 12 CHIRP MEGA SI+ G2 combines tournament-ready technologies like MEGA Side Imaging+, MEGA Down Imaging+, Dual Spectrum CHIRP Sonar, AutoChart Live and intuitive Cross Touch control. This unit has the power of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet and NMEA 2000® connections built-in and allows for up to four customizable viewing panes so you can view multiple technologies at once, taking full advantage of the generous 12.1″ display.
E-Z Anchor Puller Patriot EZ-2 Drum Anchor Winch
This Direct Drive Drum Anchor Winch is a complete, 316 stainless steel unit equipped with a patented IP68-rated motor and comes with a waterproof up/down solenoid, momentary rocker switch, 80 amp circuit breaker, backing plate, stainless steel guide roller and mounting hardware. Perfect for shallow, saltwater environments, the Patriot EZ-2 is most commonly sized for boats 20′ – 27′ and can hold 150′ of 1/2″ line plus 10′ of chain; 250′ of 3/8″ line plus 10′ of chain, or 550′ of 1/4″ dyneema plus 10′ of chain. Press the “power down” button on the rocker switch to allow the anchor, rope and chain to deploy at fast, 100′ per minute drop speeds! Our famous 7-year recreational/3-year commercial warranty is included. Click here for more information
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
Sea Eagle FastCat12 Deluxe Package
FastCat 12 with carry bag, 1 Swivel Seat, 2 aluminum cross benches, 1 canoe paddle, 1 hand pump, repair kit. New for 2021, the innovative FastCat™ 12 inflatable, catamaran-style boat from Sea Eagle is fully constructed with drop-stitch material. It’s a 12’10” rugged, high-pressure 2-person boat with a wide 56” beam making it super stable for standing and casting. A double layer of 1000 denier reinforced PVC along with rubbing strake along the sides and bottom provides extra protection against sharp fins and docks. Click here for more information
Tsunami STX SaltX Spinning Reel
The Tsunami SaltX Fully Sealed Spinning Reels are saltwater tough, with a forged and CNC machined A6061 aluminum body and rotor, digitally optimized stainless steel main gear, and 14 seals to prevent intrusion by saltwater, sand, and more. With two sizes available, the STX4000 and STX6000, and dual retrieve capability, surf anglers will be sure to find the SaltX as a premier option in the fully sealed surf reel market. Learn more about Tsunami Products
Dexter Outdoors® SG133-7EG 7 inch SOFGRIP® flexible fillet knife with Edge Guard
The Dexter SG133-7EG 7” narrow fillet knife is one of our most popular fillet knives. This 7″ fillet can handle small to large fish with ease. It’s ultra-sharp out of the package and with just the right amount of flex to glide over the bones. It features our SOFGRIP™ handle that is soft to the grip and provides great control along with slip resistance. This knife is made with our proprietary high carbon, high alloy, stain-free DEXSTEEL™. This knife is NSF certified and is made in the U.S.A. The knife comes with our Edge Guard blade protector, which protects your edge when the knife is stored. Learn more about Dexter Knives
Cabo Crew II Long Sleeve Shirt
These Bimini Bay Outfitters Cabo Crew II High-Performance Long Sleeve Shirts wick away moisture and turn back the sun for a comfortable feel in almost any climate. Click here for more information
Accurate Tern Star Drag Fishing Reel (Tx-400X) 6.1 gear ratio
The Tern, Accurate’s first star drag offering, is perfect for anglers who want the lightest and smoothest star drag experience possible. The use of CVX® technology allows for an incredibly lightweight, yet strong frame to take down the toughest game fish, while the TwinStarDrag allows for anglers to have confidence putting the pressure to the fish. By putting stainless steel and carbon fiber washers on each side of the main gear, rather than a stack of washers on one side, anglers will experience an unmatched smooth payout of drag at every click of the ergonomic star that fits perfectly in your hand. Whether it is castability, strength, or a smooth drag that you are looking for, the Tern is the ultimate star drag experience. Learn more about Accurate reels
Global Fish Mounts
Each Fish of The Month Winner receives a fish mount of their catch. Global Fish Mounts builds authentic fish mounts with incredible detail and quality for the best prices in the industry. All fresh water and saltwater fish species available.
Tsunami Surface Striker Lure
The Tsunami Pro Surface Striker lure is designed to move and take a beating. This lure is made with high impact foam and through wired construction. The hooks are extra strong VMC. Featuring internal weight/balance chambers for fine tuning action. There are two gasketed chambers in the belly. The lure comes with a key that lets you access them, but a dime will work. Inside each, you find two stainless steel shots that allow the angler to adjust how the Surface Striker sits in the water. Click here for more information about Tsunami products