Building on Local
Long before he built his first boat, Epic Marine
owner/designer/builder Edward Pic spent every spare minute he had somewhere
on the Gulf of Mexico or Tampa Bay with a fishing rod in his hand. And while
his objective was ultimately the catch, he spent a lot of time coming up
with ways to make his boat a better fishing platform.
“I caught some fish but I spent a lot of time trying to
turn my boat into the ultimate fishing machine,” said Pic, who has more than
25 years of experience in metal and fiberglass fabrication and engineering.
“I think now, with the Bahia 23, I’ve got the perfect hull for building the
boat that will do it all.”
Pic started Epic Marine in 2007, a logical evolution to
a growing side-business that spawned from his ability to build, fix or
improve anything and everything boat-related. What started with the
occasional fiberglass repair for a friend eventually became custom hardtops,
fuel tanks, engine brackets and in 2012, his first hull build, the EPIC 17.
The EPIC 17 is reflective of Pic’s building ethos of space age-strong, light
and simple. With an eight-foot beam and a 90 horse power outboard, the boat
can fish three guys and their gear all day in 10-inches of water. . .and
still cruise at 40 miles per hour. It is these same ideals of efficiency and
fishability that dictate the design and construction of the Bahia 23.
“We’re taking a hull that is capable of doing anything
and everything a local fisherman wants to do and building it with the latest
and greatest space-age materials and technologies,” said the St. Petersburg
That means no wood. That means ultra-light,
ultra-strong composite construction throughout. That means vacuum bag
technology in all under-deck coring.
Pic is a blur as he commands production at his 15,000
square foot shop in central Pinellas County. He has his hands in every part
of the build, from mold prep to chop-gunning to glass grinding, working at
least six and often seven days, a week.
“I love what I do and look forward to building boats
for a long time,” said Pic. “But like everyone else in the fishing
community, I really love the days I get to shut it down and go fishing.
Which is where my motivation to build a better boat originally came from.”
To get a glimpse into Edward Pic the boat builder, one
must only take a look at the three decades of work he has done as a designer
and builder of custom wheelchair lifts for pick-up trucks. He’s set new
benchmarks in truck lift technology and put handicapped sportsmen behind the
wheels of vehicles that they were once told they would never drive. His
innovation and drive to constantly improve upon the industry standard is
directly reflected in his vision for the Bahia 23.
The result is a spacious giant of a center console. .
.a 23-foot hull that is nine-feet, six-inches wide yet floats in 10 to 12
inches of water and can be run efficiently with as little as 115 horses or
as many as 200. This is a hull that is just as functional creeping up on a
school of flats-bound redfish as it is pursuing Gulf-side kingfish and
grouper. And even more important than its inshore-offshore duality is the
thoughtful yet simplistic design details that reflect Pic’s ingrained desire
to build a better mousetrap.
“We’re taking all those little things that every
fisherman loves about their boat as well as all the little things every
fisherman hates about their boat and simplifying the wheel, so to speak,”
said Pic, whose network of consulting minds runs the gamut of local guides
and hardcore fishermen. “I’ve spent a lot of years picking the brains of
guys I consider to be both great fishermen and thinkers. . . which
ultimately helps me build a boat that is easy to maintain and a joy to use.
I want people to love their boats for a long time, not be a slave to them.”
Hatches for livewell and bilge pumps are spacious and
easy to access. Electrical systems are designed for flawless operation in
the worst of conditions while making things like changing a fuse or a pump
as simple and straight-forward as possible. Plenty of below-deck storage
allow you to haul all the gear it takes to catch fish both inshore and
offshore yet keep it out of sight and out of the way.
“It ultimately comes down to the fact that we’re a
bunch of lifetime local fisherman building what we consider to be the
perfect boat for doing everything the bay and gulf have to offer – By
Fishermen, For Fishermen. It’s as simple as that.”
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