Boat of the Month January 2020: Full House

Boat of the Month: Full House

Key West, Fla. / Stone crab, lobster, kingfish

At 33, Josh Nicklaus has spent most of his life as a commercial fisherman in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Born and raised in Key West, Fla., Nicklaus took over his late dad’s 23-foot back country crab boat business as a high school senior. From there, he graduated to a 37-footer, then a 45-footer, and now the 53-foot fiberglass Full House that he has completely refurbished over the past year.

Nicklaus bought the Full House — built in Key West in 1989 —  from the family of a fishing colleague who had passed away. He proceeded to strip it of almost everything except the fuel tanks, deck and bulkheads.

“It needed a lot of work — new motor, new generator, new wiring, all new electronics,” Nicklaus said. “I took everything out of it, repainted the whole engine room and started from scratch. Everything I needed to make that boat work is new in the last 18 months.”

He said he spent “more than I care to think about” but ended up with a productive fishing machine that can hold 400 lobster traps, 800 stone crab traps, and 45,000 pounds of gillnetted kingfish. The boat is equipped with two trap pullers and a single helm.

Nicklaus is proud to dock his boat on Stock Island near Key West in the same spot he used to work as a kid. Now he and eight other commercial fishermen own that portion of the waterfront.

“I’m happy doing what I do,” he said. “Maybe I don’t know any other thing, who knows?”

Boat Specifications

OWNER: Josh Nicklaus BUILDER: PME YEAR BUILT: 1989 FISHERIES: Stone crab, lobster, kingfish in Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic HULL CONSTRUCTION: Fiberglass LENGTH: 53 feet BEAM: 18 feet DRAFT: 5 feet 6 inches CREW CAPACITY: 4 TONNAGE: 36 tons MAIN PROPULSION: 8V 2000 MTU 900 hp GEARBOX: ZF 500a 2.22:1 GENERATOR: 12-kw Northern Lights PROPELLER: 35 X 34 Dynaquad nibral SHAFT: 2 3/4-inch stainless steel HOLD CAPACITY: 12,000 pounds FRESHWATER CAPACITY: 250 gallons FUEL CAPACITY: 2,400 gallons SPEED: 16 knots cruising; 22 knots full speed FUEL CONSUMPTION: 24 gph cruising ELECTRONICS: Two Furuno GP 39 GPS; Furuno TZTouch chart plotter; three Icom VHF radios; Furuno 1100 bottom machine; Furuno 48-mile radar; Simrad autopilot; Standard Horizon hailer.

About the author

Sue Cocking

Sue Cocking spent more than 20 years as the outdoors writer at the Miami Herald, covering everything from commercial and recreational fishing to powerboat racing and scuba diving. She once worked as a light-tackle charter boat fishing captain in Key West and had an 18-year career in radio news broadcasting. She lives in Sebastian, Fla.

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