Skiff Pioneer Bob Hewes Dies
The best day of permit fishing I ever had was spent on the platform of a Hewes Bonefisher.
In reality, what Bob Hewes did when he came up with his small, lapstraked skiff design was provide thousands of anglers access to south Florida flats. Never mind that the first hulls were designed for his daughter, a national champion water-skier who worked at Cypress Gardens.
From the Hewes Web site: “When Bob Hewes got out of the Navy in 1945 he went back to work for his father running the shop and the parts department. In 1955 Mercury wanted more Dade County representation so the family opened the current location in North Miami and Bob ran the 7th Avenue store. It was here in North Miami Bob Hewes met a world champion fly fisherman named Lefty Kreh. Lefty invited Bob to go bonefishing and in those days there were no flats boats. Lefty fished with a 13′ Boston Whaler. It was after this experience Bob thought that there needs to be a better way to get bonefish.”
When he teamed with Bill Curtis, who wanted a truly fishy skiff, they produced the first fiberglass boats designed specifically to be light enough to be poled and seaworthy enough to ride through six-foot seas without swamping. Hewes was a pioneer in every sense of the word, and his lifelong commitment to the skiff business — through hard times and good — changed the sport of saltwater angling.
Hewes died Sunday at his home in Miami at the age of 86. Steve Waters also writes about the “Passing of a Boating Pioneer” in today’s Sun-Sentinel.